LTLC’s Winter Emergency Bed Program 2017-2018

Lowell Transitional Living Center’s Winter Emergency Bed Program is an essential, life saving service to the city of Lowell and the surrounding towns and cities. This year the WEBP will begin on November 13th 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 phone calls from people in the community who genuinely care and want to know how they can make a difference.

Facts about LTLC’s Winter Emergency Bed Program

How is WEBP funded? WEBP is funded by donations. While LTLC is lucky enough to receive government and grant funds for many programs, this life saving program is payed for primarily by people in the Lowell community.

How many people sleep there during a winter? Last year over 500 individual people escaped the cold by coming to LTLC’s WEBP. But on an average night about 50 people stay. During a storm that number can be as high as 90.

What if they need things like hats and gloves? The Donation Center at LTLC provides winter items and operates totally by volunteers, donations, and community drives.

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, 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? Starting this year, thanks to donations, we can offer showers to people living on the streets this winter.

Can people do their laundry? Thanks to donations, the answer is yes. We hope to have our new laundry facility running and ready for the extra workload by mid-winter.

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 LTLC case manager to help them face the issues that caused his or her homelessness and step by step, reclaim their life.

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 donate. We are campaigning to raise $80,000 by the end of the year to pay for the extra staffing needed to save the lives of people who find themselves in a desperate situation this winter.

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LTLC remains open through the COVID-19 pandemic catering to the basic and case management needs of the homeless population within the Merrimack Valley. We continue to follow social distancing protocols and sanitize our premises for the health and safety of our community, clients and staff. Contact for more information on shelter operations