Emergency shelter in Downtown Pittsburgh to stay open on cold nights until April | TribLIVE.com
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Natasha Lindstrom

A county-funded emergency shelter in Downtown Pittsburgh set to close next week will reopen any night that drops below 25 degrees through the end of March, officials said Friday.

Pittsburgh Mercy’s winter shelter operated out of Smithfield United Church of Christ on Smithfield Street near Strawberry Way will remain open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. until next Friday, regardless of the temperature.

From March 16 through March 31, the shelter will open on “select additional nights,” either when temperatures fall below 25 degrees, or when forecasters predict “dangerous weather” conditions, officials said.

More than 140 men and women have been staying at the Downtown shelter nightly in recent weeks, Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net reports. It opened on Nov. 15.

Last winter, from Nov. 15, 2017, to March 31, 2018, the shelter housed 904 individuals, including 723 men and 181 women, for an average of 119 people per night.

The former gymnasium in the basement of the church provides a warm, dry place to sleep, including cots when available, a nightly hot meal, access to showers and laundry facilities and basic health care. Allegheny Link representatives connect individuals to resources and forms of assistance, such as help finding jobs and housing or paying overdue utility bills.

The temporary shelter is funded by $174,000 in Allegheny County human services and economic development solutions grants. It also relies on volunteers and accepts donations from the community.

To ask about space at the Downtown shelter for men, call 412-722-6379. To ask about space for women, call 412-498-0908.

Reach shelter officials via email at [email protected]

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