Brother Francis Shelter is re-instating a "30 days in, 30 days out" policy for clients this winter.
The policy will be enforced even when the temperature dips below 45 degrees, t, according to Catholic Social Services.
“We’re first there to save lives, help people come in from the cold," said Susan Bomalaski, executive director of CSS. "But then we're there to help people change their lives."
An extension in their stay will be granted only if they meet with a case manager, said Bomalaski.
The policy is an attempt to motivate people who are homeless to find employment, permanent housing, and to seek out social services rather than using the shelter as a long-term residence.
While the policy change was first announced in August, Bean’s Café staff issued another reminder Thursday during a town hall meeting to help clients prepare for winter.
Shelter staff is trying to spread the word about the change, which is not welcome news for everyone, especially those concerned they will be left out in the cold.
“When they're not accepting people and they throw them outside the shelter in the wintertime, chances are they are going to die,” said Alfred Egure, who has been homeless for about a year, in and out of Brother Francis Shelter, he said.
“That's our biggest fear,” said Bomalaski. “That's why this is our third town hall on this topic over the past six weeks. We want to get the word out.”
But are there enough transitional programs for those seeking help?
Paul Fuhs of the Fairview Business Association is doubtful.
“I think it's good they're putting responsibility on people to seek treatment, housing, try to find work," Fuhs said. "But it really points to the fact that if they're going to do that, those programs really need to be there."
But Jamaal Wheeler said he met with a case manager at Brother Francis Shelter on Wednesday, and he believes the policy will encourage others to take the first step toward finding permanent housing.
He said he is a former “partier” who abused drugs and alcohol.
“Some people like this, some people don't,” Wheeler said. “I don't, but it's the life that I chose and it's up to me to make it better.”