By Caslon Hatch
Channel 2 News
6:08 PM AKST, December 18, 2012
The Municipality of Anchorage has a citywide cold-weather plan to provide shelter for the homeless, but this winter shelters are already at or above capacity.
The plan allows churches to be designated as temporary cold-weather homeless shelters for individuals and families when temperatures dip below freezing. There are six churches that participate in the plan, with a different church opening its doors each night.
Last night in Anchorage, Brother Francis Shelter hit capacity, so workers used Bean's Café as an overflow shelter to take in almost 350 people -- but even their combined capacity was barely sufficient.
“The capacity of Bean’s plus Brother Francis Shelter is 364, so we’re actually working with the municipality on an overflow to the overflow, because we want people inside,” said Susan Bomalaski, executive director at Catholic Social Services. “People have to be inside. We don’t want people outside succumbing to the cold, we want to bring them all in -- we have to make sure we have room.”
To find out which church is serving as an overflow shelter on any given night, call domestic-violence shelter Abused Women's Aid in Crisis at 272-0100 for directions.
More information on the cold-weather homeless shelter plan and volunteer opportunities is available on Catholic Social Services' website.
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