Homeless Shelters Fill Up With First Signs of Cold in Boston

Boston's Pine Street Inn was near capacity Sunday night

Homeless shelters around Boston neared capacity Sunday night as temperatures dropped throughout the region.

At the Pine Street Inn, the men's shelter had filled almost all of its 500 beds.

“It's been rough. We’ve seen numbers go way up over the past couple days with the cold," said Dan Farnkoff, an assistant supervisor at the shelter.

During the winter months, the facility allows people who have previously been evicted for non-violent offenses to return because the demand is so high. In 2015, there were approximately 21,000 homeless people living in Massachusetts, according to data collected by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This winter, they're not expecting much of a decrease.

“For as many people as we are able to house, there are new people becoming homeless," Farnkoff explained. "So, it’s a difficult situation.”

The line for beds forms well before the shelter opens on most days. Because of the increased need during winter months, shelters like Pine Street also open overflow rooms in their lobbies to create more beds.

"I stay pretty warm because I'm used to being outdoors, anyway," said Kenneth Cook, who has been homeless for four months.

Most visitors of Pine Street told necn they rarely have trouble finding a place to stay at night, although there are some shelters they try to avoid.

"I'm pretty much comfortable here," said Bobby Peterson, who regularly visits Pine Street.

The shelter opens every day at 3 p.m.

For information about available resources in the Boston area, please visit the Boston Public Health Commission.

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