Keep Worcester Warm – Winter Homeless Overflow Sheltering Project


UUCW is partnering as fiscal agent for the Worcester Winter Homeless Overflow Shelter Task Force – Keep Worcester Warm Project

The Current Situation

There are three main shelters that serve single adults in the City of Worcester:

  • SMOC Triage Center (25 beds for men and women without children)
  • Abby’s House (7 beds for women and women with children)
  • Veterans Inc     (22 beds for Veterans)

The SMOC Triage Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. It is the only “front door” for any single adult without children seeking shelter, and increases its number of beds significantly in the winter.

The census at the Triage Center during the winter of 2015/2016 averaged in the high 90s, at times exceeding 100 people per night with the peak census at 123 on January 27, 2016. Summer census trends can also predict whether winter numbers will be higher or lower than the prior year. During the summer of 2016, the Triage census was on average 18% higher than the summer census of 2015 (65 per night on average in 2016, compared to 53 per night on average in 2015). Based on the increase this summer, SMOC predicts that the winter demand in 2016 could result in an average monthly census over 100 people per night. The winter policy at the Triage Center is that no one is turned away out into the cold, but this leaves the building bursting at the seams, resulting in some individuals opting to stay outside rather than inside the overcrowded shelter on extremely cold nights.

Our Call to Action

How to Participate in a Seasonal Solution


Consider how you (or your organization might) support “Keeping Worcester Warm”, a small pilot program to provide refuge in the form of seasonal “overflow” emergency shelter. “Keeping Worcester Warm” is convened by faith-based community partners to provide overnight hospitality to up to 20 homeless individuals; keeping our homeless neighbors safe from the cold and connected to stabilizing services.

Ways to Help:

  • Offer space within your house of worship to host homeless individuals overnight.
    • Site Responsibilities: Each site will be scheduled for no more than four 1-week rotations. A responsible “Site Lead” will be identified as the lead contact person for the program during each 1-week period.
  • Donate goods that support the guests and the operations of the overnight sites. We need the following items:
    • Blankets
    • Twin Sheets
    • Hand warmers
    • Trash bags
    • Paper Goods
    • Flashlights
    • First aid kits
    • Personal hygiene items (men and women)
    • Non-perishable food items including coffee, tea, cereal, oatmeal, etc.
    • Laundry detergent
    • Socks
    • Hats
    • Gloves
    • Storage bins
    • …and more
  • Raise funds to support the operations of the overnight sites. We are currently attempting to raise $15,000! Funding is needed for:
  •  Staff and volunteer stipends
  •  Building utilities like laundry, insurance, maintenance, cleaning, and storage
  •  Furnishings
  •  Transportation
  •  Food
  •  Other supplies not obtained through donations


  • Recruit Volunteers
    •  Recruit and organize individuals or a group of volunteers who are willing to donate their time to supervise, clean, organize, cook, coordinate, and socialize with guests.

For More Information:

Katherine Calano
Homeless Projects Manager
City of Worcester Dept. of Health & Human Services
City Hall, Room 101, 455 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01609
Office: (508) 799-8483 |