"He went to sleep in Tennessee and woke up in Kentucky," she said.
The police conducted a background check and found the man had no criminal record. They then called Phillips.
"I found out he was homeless, and I used one of our vouchers to put him up in a motel for two nights," she said. "After that, the only thing I could do was try to get him a place in the Hope Center for homeless people in Lexington. (Then) First Baptist Church, Second and Walnut streets, pastor Richard Hill volunteered to transport him to the center."
Phillips said this story underscores two facts of life for the Red Cross and other local agencies that try to help the homeless:
* There is no shelter or any other kind of long-term lodging of homeless people.
* There is no van, bus or any other kind of vehicle designated on a 24-hour-a-day basis to transport homeless people to the Salvation Army's permanent shelter for women and children in Lexington and the Hope Center, which houses men.
"There are so many other stories of homeless people we try to help, like the single mother and her 13-year-old son who had been evicted from an apartment and literally stayed on the streets one night, and in the daytime it was so hot the boy threw up, and the people we have found living in cars and tents," Phillips said.
"All these stories have short and uncertain ends here in our area," she said. "That's because we are so limited in what we can do for the homeless beyond providing food and shelter for a couple of days at most," she said.
The area needs a shelter "so these people can stay in one place for several days and receive the services they need," she said. "But since there is no shelter, we at least need transportation to taken them to Lexington or Louisville where they have permanent facilities with ongoing services."
The Red Cross and other local agencies try to do what they can to help the homeless and others who are suffering at least temporary loss of shelter and food with funds from two main sources - the McKinney Homeless Act program, which provides about $20,000 for the agencies mainly for education and other services for children, and the National Board, a multi-agency national group chaired by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides about $20,500 in emergency food and shelter assistance.
The heads of other local agencies that receive shares of one or both pots of money say the funds are stretched to the limit. They also agree that a permanent shelter or at least a transportation system is needed.
"We can provide food and one night's lodging at a local motel with one of our vouchers," said Lt. Dan Nelson, co-commander of the Danville Salvation Army. "And sometimes we can find room at the Salvation Army homeless shelter in Lexington, but it often is a challenge to transport them there because we have no regular transportation and must rely on volunteers."
Nelson said the assistance currently provided is "heartfelt and helpful for a day or two" but is "just a Band-Aid."
"We need a shelter," he said.
Emily Edwards, a caseworker for the local army, said homeless surveys might show there is no need for shelter, but she added that her phone records indicate otherwise.
"Surveys show there are only a handful of homeless, maybe a dozen or so, in this area, but that's because homeless are hard to find and identify," she said. "You don't see them on the sidewalks or in boxes like you do in the cities. They are in barns or cars or in tents, and stay on the move from one night to the next.
"Just because you don't see them doesn't mean they're not out there," she added. "If we had a shelter, you definitely would see them."
Edwards doesn't often see the homeless, either, but she hears from them.
"We average receiving 10 phone calls a week from people who have been evicted from rental property or who have lost everything in a fire and have no place to stay or who have lost their jobs and homes to foreclosure and have come here to start over," she said.