LTLC’s Winter Emergency Bed Program
Lowell Transitional Living Center’s Winter Emergency Bed Program is a program that caters to the basic and health needs of homeless single adults seeking respite from the cold. It is an essential, life saving service to the city of Lowell and the surrounding towns and cities. The WEBP will begin in November and run until early-mid April.
- Where can homeless people go during a snow storm?
- How can homeless people get medical help? Coats? Gloves? Bathrooms? Showers? Food?
- Does anyone look for these people, and bring them to shelters?
- What can I do? How can I make sure people are safe?
As the Development Manager at LTLC, the largest homeless shelter north of Boston, these are the questions I start to hear this time of year. I receive a lot of emails and phone calls from people in the community who genuinely care and want to know how they can make a difference. It will be an even more difficult time for the homeless population this year because of COVID-19.
Facts about LTLC’s Winter Emergency Bed Program
How is WEBP funded? WEBP is mostly funded by grants and donations. While LTLC is fortunate and thankful to receive government support for many programs, this life saving and unique program is primarily funded by people in the Greater Lowell Area and friends of LTLC.
How many people sleep there during a winter? Last year over 400 homeless individuals escaped the cold by coming to LTLC’s WEBP. But on an average night about 65 people seek shelter. During a storm that number can be as high as 100.
What if they need things like hats and gloves? We have always received clothing donations from the people in community and through clothing drives. These donated items are stored at the Donation Center and made available to guests in need. The Donation center is totally managed by volunteers
Can someone get a meal or any kind of food? Yes. 3 hot meals a day.
Are there any restrictions about who can stay? No. But if someone needs more help, LTLC staff will help them to a hospital or detox.
What if someone has frostbite? Or some other medical emergency? There is an on-site clinic with nurses who can help with many common medical conditions homeless people face. Overnight staff are trained in security, safety, and doing wellness checks all through the night.
What if someone there is overdosing? Staff is trained in recognizing signs of overdose and in administering Narcan (proven effective in reversing overdose) to save lives and get people to the hospital.
Can someone take a shower? Yes, guests from the streets can take their hot showers at the shelter.
Can people do their laundry? Yes. Guests can have their clothes laundered in the laundry room, thanks to the generous donation of one of our donors.
What if the shelter is full? Do you send people back into the cold? No. LTLC partners with all of the organizations who set up special emergency shelters during snow emergencies so we can refer people to each other.
What happens in the morning when they have to leave? Will they be okay? Anyone who uses LTLC services can have a case manager to help them deal with the issues that caused his or her homelessness and step by step, reclaim their life until they are self-sufficient and housed.
When does the WEBP end? WEBP starts in November and ends in April. It depends on temperatures. It can get very cold at night as early as the first week of November.
What can I do? You can volunteer or donate. We need your support now more than ever especially with the new difficulties presented by COVID-19. Our population is mobile, are very vulnerable and often dealing with underlying health challenges which makes them more susceptible to contracting and, or spreading the virus.