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City officials, Pine Street Inn try to find shelter for homeless amid blast of cold weather

As temperatures reach below freezing in Boston, the city’s largest shelter provider is in winter mode: preparing for a large number of folks who will need a warm place to stay.
As temperatures reach below freezing in Boston, the city’s largest shelter provider is in winter mode: preparing for a large number of folks who will need a warm place to stay.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

With record cold possible on Wednesday, 180 additional shelter beds for men and women have been made available, city officials said.

“All the providers are stepping up — from the Public Health Commission, the Pine Street Inn, Boston Rescue Mission — and we’ve been extending street outreach,” Jim Greene, assistant director of street homelessness initiatives for the city, said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference at City Hall.

The shelter’s street team was out in full force Tuesday, warning folks about the drop in temperature overnight and the frigid windchill that are on the way.

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Boston is expected to see temperatures drop to 19 degrees Wednesday morning with wind gusts somewhere between 25 and 40 miles per hour — feeling more like 5 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office sent out an advisory Tuesday, warning of cold temperatures overnight and wind gusts.

Residents are advised to take precautions and check up on older neighbors and the homeless who might need assistance Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We’re just asking people, if you see someone out on the street that you’re worried about, call 911,” Walsh said during the press conference.

Pine Street, the city’s largest shelter provider, is also preparing for a large number of folks who will need a warm place to stay.

“We know by mid-November that the weather can start to get more extreme,” said Barbara Trevisan, a spokeswoman for the inn.

Should space fill up at the Pine Street Inn, Trevisan said the shelter will be making some more accommodations.

“We will be keeping our shelter open around the clock and encouraging folks to stay inside,” Trevisan said during a phone interview Tuesday.

“Even if our beds fill up, we will accommodate with mats and cots, or transport them to other places that are available in the city.”

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For those who are reluctant to stay in a shelter, Trevisan said Pine Street Inn employees are keeping an eye out for them and providing them with warm food, blankets, and extra clothing.

“If anyone is in imminent danger, we will work with emergency services to bring them off the street,” Trevisan said.

For Wednesday night, high demand is expected and folks at the shelter are prepared.

“When the real-feel temperature goes under 32 degrees freezing, our winter protocol goes into effect,” Trevisan said. “All hands are on deck.”


Jordan Frias can be reached at jordan.frias@globe.com. Maria Lovato can be reached at Maria.Lovato@globe.com