COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and flu shots are being made available to all shelter guests.By Pam Surano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As the temperatures dip, the area’s shelters are preparing for increased need.

Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net said no one will be turned away. The downtown overnight shelter on Smithfield Street will hold a smaller number overnight due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net said it has made additional plans for a shuttle service to a backup shelter to accommodate everyone.

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“I think part of what we’re facing is there has been a slight increase in the homeless population, in the unsheltered population, simply because of the lifts on the moratoriums and evictions,” said Jacque Hunter, senior manager of Operation Safety Net. “So more people are facing a backlog of rental arrears and utility arrears and they’re getting displaced for different reasons.”

Mercy has additional shelters available at the Safehaven Hotel and Bethlehem Haven. Mercy works with Light of Life Rescue Mission on the North Side and McKeesport Downtown Housing shelters.

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COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and flu shots are being made available to all shelter guests.