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Mass shelters prepare to help the homeless during ‘dangerously cold’ temperatures

Mass shelters prepare to help the homeless during ‘dangerously cold’ temperatures

Officials at shelters serving people experiencing homelessness say they are preparing to help uninsured individuals this weekend as a cold snap moves toward Massachusetts that brings bitter, subzero weather. brings possibility.

Temperatures across the state are expected to be well below freezing, and the wind chill will make many places feel like it’s in the -20s to -40s. Boston is forecast to feel like -30 from Friday night into Saturday morning, while Springfield will feel like -28.

The National Weather Service Boston bureau has warned that “dangerously cold” temperatures are expected from late Friday through Saturday. linking on social media If you’re going out people should “bundle up and dress in layers.”

The weather is expected to pass quickly, with the state warming back into the 40s on Sunday and Monday. But for those experiencing homelessness, extreme weather scenarios are a “life and death situation.” Father Bill’s and Mainspring President John Yazwinski said in an interview.

โ€œWinters are always very difficult. We see numbers of people who probably don’t use shelters,” said the South Shore shelter operations executive. “But we have a good count of how many people are out and if they need to come in. We Very well prepared for this. Our concern isn’t about whether we can handle the surge over the next few days as much as whether we can get people to come in.

Kevin Ramsdale, Executive Director of springfield rescue missionSaid their 43-bed shelter has been full every night since September and with colder weather on the way, staff members plan to accept people even if it’s full.

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“If the police department shows up with someone later in the evening, we’ll put them in a chair, give them a blanket, cup of soup, coffee, whatever we can do to help them,” he said.

Yazwinski said over the past 20 years that he has worked at Father Bill’s and Mainspring, the organization has been able to build an outreach team to help people get into shelters during the coldest nights.

“Our laser focus in the last few days has been, send our team out there and tell people who sleep outside ‘please come in, please come in’,” he said.

Gov. Maura Haley said Boston’s South Station will remain open overnight during extreme weather to provide a warm place to sleep for people experiencing homelessness.

was a transit hub Boston Globe article topic It was reported earlier this month that the building, which once allowed homeless people inside during cold nights, was no longer offering the opportunity.

During a radio appearance on GBH Tuesday, Haley said the MBTA owns the building, is responsible for the South Station, and maintains a private security company for the property.

โ€œWe talked to the private security company and you see the garbage bags are closed. They are not closing the doors like that,โ€ she said. โ€œI am going to be clear that if we encounter extreme weather, we Going to allow people to stay there overnight. I think it’s a matter of basic humanity.”

Joe Pesatro, a spokesman for the MBTA, directed MassLive to the governor’s office. A spokesman for Haley said late Wednesday that more information would be shared “soon.”

Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless Associate director Kelly Turley said the proper tool for addressing homelessness in Boston would be “ensuring that everyone has access to long-term, safe, affordable housing.”

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But Massachusetts, she said, hasn’t been able to meet that goal yet for several reasons.

“that’s why [we want] To make sure that wherever people are visible, they have a roof over their heads and warmth. And so in some cases, that’s places like South Station and Transit Center,” she said. “For others, it’s overnight stays in emergency rooms. We don’t want people to have to go to those places, but to make sure they are available as a last resort.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu declared a “freezing emergency” in the city from Friday to Sunday.

A pair of shelters serving men and women over the age of 18 will be open 24/7, Wu said, and outreach workers will travel to the Boston area of โ€‹โ€‹Mass and Cass to spread the word about the coming cold weather and access to those resources. whom they can reach. ,

Barbara Trevison, Vice President in Boston Pine Street InnStaff members at the shelter “are especially concerned with weather like this … and we coordinate with the city of Boston along with other providers,” he said.

“Just to make sure there’s a good system in Boston [that] If we don’t have beds, we’ll call other shelters,” she told MassLive. “We have beds, then we have mats and cots. And when that space runs out, now we also have a warming center.” operate. So you might not get a bed, but you’ll get a warm, safe place to come and sit and stay away from the cold.”

Diagnostic and Support Optionswhich provides an emergency shelter in Springfield through its program Friends of the Homeless, has been serving 160 to 170 homeless people in recent days, said Geoffrey Oldmixon, associate vice president of marketing and development.

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“Typically, we see an increase in shelter guests as the weather gets colder, as you would imagine,” he said. “…we recognize when it’s especially cold that we’re going to make every effort to accommodate everyone who comes. We’re going to keep our resource center available for those who want to warm up.” want to do.”

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