Shelters filling up as temperatures plummet

A homeless man in Downtown Crossing

With temperatures over the weekend dipping as low as the single digits, homeless shelter staff, police and other outreach workers took to the streets distributing blankets and transporting people to warm havens to escape the frigid cold.

“When the weather gets like this we do have overcapacity. At that time we add cots in our lobby area,” said Barbara Trevisan, director of communications at Pine Street Inn, the city’s largest homeless shelter.

More than 650 beds at the shelters’ two locations were full over the last few days and more than 1,000 meals were served each day, said Trevisan. The shelter, which typically closes between breakfast and dinner, stayed open during the day so guests didn’t have to endure the winter air.

In addition, two outreach vans made rounds through the city earlier than usual in the morning checking spots were homeless typically congregate to offer coats and blankets and to transport people back to the Pine Street Inn.

At Rosie’s Place, a female shelter in Boston, more women were seeking warm clothes, hot meals and a place to sleep over the past several days, according to Lori LaDuke, the shelter’s communications director.

T stations are popular havens for the city’s most vulnerable population, but those who are homeless are usually forced to leave when the stations shut down late at night.

Transit Police transported homeless to shelters throughout the city last weekend, said Lydia Rivera, a T spokeswoman.


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