Springfield Homeless Shelters Prepared for Hurricane Sandy's Guests
One population that can be particularly vulnerable in a bad storm is the homeless. And, in inclement weather, the area's homeless shelters work overtime.
Many homeless shelters throughout Western New England have policies restricting them from accepting guests beyond a set capacity -- to ensure safety and high quality service. But Friends of the Homeless in Springfield is welcoming anyone in need of shelter from the storm. Executive Director Bill Miller says the shelter's pre storm "surge" began with Sunday night's higher than usual dinner attendance.
"In a time like this we do spread a little thinner, and we do what we have to do. We're not going to leave anyone outside in this impending weather, that's for sure."
Miller says the shelter is working with Springfield's fire and police departments to ensure those in need opt for the shelter's services rather than waiting out the storm somewhere outdoors. And Miller says Springfield's homeless population isn't shy about discussing available services.
"Frankly people who are accustomed to the streets spread the word and look out for one another. And folks like that will send people here. We figure we'll have between 250-275 people here over the next few nights."
Miller says that's compared to the 150 to 200 people the shelter usually accommodates each night. He says the daytime resource center and a number of dining rooms will be set aside for overflow guests, although the organization's single generator only hooks up to the main shelter on Worthington Street.