As temperatures drop, region’s shelters reopening




Before cold weather settles in, shelters to keep homeless individuals off the streets and out of the elements on a daily basis will again be opening in Amherst and Northampton.

In Amherst, as it was last winter season, Craig’s Place, operated by Craig’s Doors: A Home Association Inc., will be based at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, 867 North Pleasant St., said Maya R. Elsner, director of development for the agency.

There, the first-come, first-serve accommodations for guests begin at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. The congregate shelter will continue to have a behavior-based policy, meaning that even those under the influence of drugs or alcohol are welcome, so long as they don’t create issues.

The site will have 23 beds, be open around the clock and each guest is ensured of keeping a cot for as long as needed, so long as the individual returns each night.

Craig’s Doors has also been operating year-round housing that aims to help people transition to more permanent homes, with some staying at the University Lodge in Amherst and others at the Knights Inn in Hadley.

Individuals should call 413-256-0704, ext. 2 for more information.

Northampton’s Interfaith Cot Shelter at 43 Center St. is also opening Tuesday in what will be the final year being run under the auspices of ServiceNet, the Northampton non-profit mental health and human services agency.

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ServiceNet in August announced that it would relinquish the emergency shelter and Grove Street Inn, as well as the Wells Street Shelter in Greenfield, on March 31, 2023, meaning that the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development will need to find a new agency to run them.

ServiceNet CEO Susan Stubbs said at the time that while emergency shelter work, which began in 1994, will be ending. the agency will continue its mission to help those who are unhoused.

“As an organization, we remain committed to serving the individual homeless population through our outpatient clinics, substance use recovery programs, mental health recovery programs, family shelters, supportive housing, and much more,” Stubbs said.

ServiceNet will continue to operate the Florence Inn permanent supportive housing program in Florence and the School Street permanent supportive housing program and Greenfield Family Inn in Greenfield,

Money to support the shelters in both communities is being raised through the Shelter Sunday events. In Amherst, financial donations can be made online at, or by mail to Shelter Sunday, P.O. Box 264.

All money collected through the initiative, which began in 1989, is distributed evenly between Craig’s Doors and Not Bread Alone, the soup kitchen at the First Congregational Church. Shelter Sunday happens on the third Sunday in October.

In Northampton and Easthampton, Shelter Sunday was on Oct. 2, and the 31st annual effort included collections for Grove Street Inn, the Interfaith Emergency Shelter and Manna Community Kitchen. Organizers set a goal of raising $66,000 to be evenly distributed between the three programs, supporting emergency shelters and free community meals.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at [email protected].

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