Springfield Homeless Shelter Sees Rise in Demand After Explosion

A Springfield homeless shelter is attempting to house people displaced by last month’s explosion, while it also deals with an uptick in the number of individuals seeking emergency housing since the summer. Friends of the Homeless executive director Bill Miller says the first floor of a building that usually serves as a winter overflow shelter, but was undergoing renovations at the time of the explosion, was damaged late last month. The organization had hoped overflow housing would not be necessary this winter, but with more people needing emergency shelter, Friends of the Homeless had to come up with a plan. And Bill Miller says providing an extra twenty cots per night in the cafeteria in one of its other shelters, while not ideal, will have to do for now. 

“We do serve three meals a day in there. We’ll have to break down tables after dinner and put up cots, so it’ll be kind of an awkward situation for awhile, but we certainly feel it’s better than keeping people out in the cold.”

Miller says Friends of the Homeless had already been helping to find shelter for 9 people displaced by damage to A shelter operated by the Springfield Rescue Mission.  He says the organization is not receiving any additional funding for the extra beds, but expects repairs to the damaged shelter will be covered by insurance. Miller says the shelter has been housing around 170 men and women per night since the last week of November. And that, he says, gets close to the highest nightly number the shelter has ever housed, including overflow space, which is 175.