"The Amherst, MA Survival Center is starting to get more calls as emergency shelters are closing. People need tents," the email began. "Do you have one hanging around that a homeless person can use until they get on their feet? Please... we only have 2 left and the phone is ringing off the hook!!!"
Thus begins the annual ritual of closing winter-only shelters, not only in Massachusetts but around the country. For the most part, homeless people won't be moving from the shelters to housing, although Springfield, MA's homeless coordinator says 7 of the 12 people in the overflow shelter do have housing waiting for them. Elsewhere in the state, Northampton's Cot Shelter will close on April 30. There are already 50 to 90 people sleeping out on the Cape, according to Cape Cod Today, in 40 or so small encampments.
In Plano, TX, many of the homeless people that had to be turned away by the Samaritan in this winter have been sleeping in their cars in the parking lot of the local library-- at least up until now. The City Council passed an ordinance on April 14 forbidding any parking in the lot between 11 am. and 5 pm. See if you buy this one: "Joyce Baumbach, the director of libraries, said the ordinance isn't just targeting homeless people. "Some of the neighbors do use the lot for extra parking or if they have company overnight," Baumbach said. "They will also not be allowed to park overnight anymore." NBC5 Dallas/Fort Worth.
Pinellas Hope shelter in St. Petersburg, FL has raised enough money to stay open through the summer, although on a greatly reduced basis-- 75 guests a night rather than the 250 it's housed over the last five months. Turlock, California's winter shelter closed at the end of March, but not quietly:: 150 homeless people and allies protested on the steps of City Hall. Earlier in March, "Vice Mayor Kurt Vander Weide, Councilmen Ted Howze and Kurt Spycher voted against extending the B Street shelter in downtown by 30 days, citing reasons of political ideology and the weather." (!!) Modesto Bee. When Springfield, Illinois closed its SOS shelter, also at the end of March, one option the homeless there used to have is now denied to them: camping on the library grounds. The city made it clear it's not going to be allowed this year.
Sleeping out isn't always very safe. Two homeless men burned to death in Olympia, WA when a canopy strung between two trees caught fire and fell on the men during the night.
Half of Madison, WI's homeless population of 3,400 is unsheltered and walking the streets, but they're not feeling very welcome these days. Two unsolved murders in two months.has put the community on edge and a lot of suspicion is focused on homeless people. Chicago Tribune.
As cities and towns and the people who live in them struggle economically, seems like there's not much left for the people who have theleast.