By Abby Hancock
Channel 2 News
2:44 PM AKDT, September 27, 2012
Anchorage shelters are preparing for what they expect to be another busy winter. Brother Francis shelter hit its maximum capacity of 240 people last week. When that happens, and the temperature is below 45 degrees, Bean's café takes in the overflow.
Both shelters were at full capacity from October through May last winter, but staff say that more people are coming earlier this year. The shelters continue to see an increase in numbers and say that may partly be due to the extreme weather that swept through Southcentral recently.
"Due to our fluctuation in weather temperatures and some of the wind we've seen recently, a lot of people don't like to be outside so we see a lot of people moving inside our day shelters to take advantage of the nice warm safe environment," said Jim Crockett, executive director of Bean's café.
"Unfortunately, winter is coming a little earlier. We see that snow line dropping everyday and we have to be prepared for it," said Susan Bomalaski, director of Catholic Social Services.
She said Brother Francis shelter saw a 36 percent increase in the number of beds filled last winter, compared to the year before. During the summer, numbers usually drop slightly, but the shelter averaged about 200 people each night through the summer. That's pretty unheard of, she said.
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