Organizers are expecting to have more people this season compared to the last one.By Briana Smith

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As temperatures start to drop, Pittsburgh Mercy is preparing to provide shelter for those who are homeless.

The organization’s Operation Safety Net program starts Monday, Nov. 15, at the Smithfield United Church of Christ in downtown Pittsburgh.

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“It’s just there as a safety net almost for people that you never know what’s going to happen during the cold months,” said Operation Safety Net Supervisor Douglas Murry.

He says the shelter on Smithfield Street will welcome men and women from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day.

“We have food we hand out nightly,” said Murry. “If people need be, they can do laundry, shower. We have some coats, jackets, warm clothing for them as well.”

Murry says they have room for 68 people. He believes more individuals will need a place to sleep this season, after seeing an increase in homelessness over the summer.

“You have people going back to normal daily living. We think people went inside more, staying with families, couch surfing. People are starting to get evicted more,” he said.

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However, Murry says they won’t turn anyone away at night, and during the day when the shelter is closed, they’ll try to guide them in the right direction.

“We also ask them to come meet with us back at our office, so they can sit down with case managers and outreach workers and really start making a dent on their crisis,” said Murry.

Murry is urging the homeless to head downtown for help.

The shelter will operate until at least March 15.

Murry says they’ll provide weekly COVID-19 vaccines and tests.

They’re also looking to recruit more workers and collect donations, specifically clean socks and underwear.

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You can learn more here.