Overiew prepared by Steppingstone, Inc.
Steppingstone Inc. is providing emergency shelter through a Cold Weather Overflow Shelter Project to unsheltered homeless at a local motel (with a total of 25-30 units set aside for the overflow shelter). This will be offered when there is no vacancy at either of the Catholic Social Services’ (CSS) Shelters. The following information is provided to ensure clarity as to how the Cold Weather Overflow shelter will operate this season:
- Conditions Activating the Shelter. The Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will be in operation during cold weather months (November 30, 2021 to March 30, 2022) when temperatures are at, or below, 32 degrees and/or 2 or more inches of snow is predicted. Also, precipitation or snow alone doesn’t ensure that the overflow will open; other factors are taken into consideration coupled with the temperatures such as “feel like” temps. As an example, if the temperature was expected to be at 32 degrees but the wind-chill coupled with rain or snow presents or “feels like” 25 degrees, then the overflow would be activated. It is anticipated that the overflow shelter will be in operation for approximately 50 nights during the given timeframe.
- Cold Weather Shelter Staff. The Cold Weather Overflow Shelter project team is composed of Steppingstone’s Project FAIHR, ESG Outreach Workers and a part-time Nurse.
- Admission Into Shelter. On a daily basis as part of Steppingstone’s Street Outreach efforts, unsheltered individuals are provided with resources and contact information on shelter availability. All clients are encouraged to contact Sister Rose/ Grace House/ St. Kilian’s as early as 9:30am and no later than 1pm. All individuals who call CSS will be put on their waitlists in the order they call and as soon a bed becomes available they will be contacted for placement. This helps in regards to hotel placement and number of expected guests on any given night. Once the cold weather conditions necessitate the opening of this resource the agency will contact CSS to confirm they are at capacity. At this time Steppingstone Inc. will send an activation email to providers informing everyone the cold shelter is open. Every year there has been grey area days the team will do the best in our judgment to make the right call. On days that we are expected to open, an email blast will be sent by 12pm.
- Transportation to the Shelter. Transportation will be provided by the NBPD LEAD team between the hours of 5pm-630 pm to the motel. Guests will meet for pick-up at the parking lot located on Acushnet Avenue and School Street. For all individuals who are at the Gathering Center located at 360 Coggeshall St. (PAACA), there will be a transportation pick-up at 6.30 pm. All guests will be provided dinner and breakfast.
- What Does It Look Like When Folks Go Into the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter. All inquiries can be forwarded to Steppingstone Inc. Guest are encouraged to contact Project FAIHR office after 1 PM (774)762-9277 or (774) 762-9247. A phone screening will be conducted at this time. The project coordinator will assign everyone an intake appointment so they may sign the shelter contact. During the intake/screening process, the Nurse meets with each individual and screens them for COVID and health, and provides health education. Although guests will be provided information regarding available services, the population of focus is often not interested in engaging. But the Outreach workers and Coordinator will remain alert for guests in the contemplation or willingness stages of change, and will provide client-centered assistance with the goal of the client becoming placed in housing and/or engaged into needed services. Those who do opt for services will be provided incentives and case management services through Project FAIHR.
- Pandemic Safety. Please remember that during this pandemic, shelter operations must align with CDC and DPH recommendations regarding social distancing, PPE, and other protective measures; The Steppingstone Street Outreach team will notify any individuals if the overflow will be open on expected days. This will be Steppingstone’s 2nd season of Overflow Shelter Operation and with all the challenges at any given time, we are hopeful to continue safe operations and save lives, especially on the coldest nights.
As a reminder, the overflow will be activated on nights that the temperature is expected to be at 32 degrees or less.
If the temperature were to drop below 32 at 4 or 5:00am rather than 7 or 8:00pm as an example, it doesn’t ensure that the overflow would open.
All guests are expected to exit the shelter by 11 am.
Please contact Danielle or Matt at Steppingstone at (774)992-0655 if you have any questions.