“We are honored to be in partnership with Bunker Hill Community College to offer overflow shelter for women experiencing homelessness in Boston. It is an honor to come together with public, private and non-profit leaders to solve some of our city’s greatest challenges,” said Danielle Ferrier, CEO of Heading Home.
With temperatures dropping and the impact of COVID-19 settling in on the poorest in our community, the demand for a good night’s sleep in a warm bed continues to rise. In response to a call from multiple state agencies and in conjunction with several key partners, Heading Home has stepped up to launch and oversee a 48-women’s only overnight shelter located at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC).
The opportunity for BHCC to host this temporary shelter was possible as most of the teaching and learning is online due to the pandemic.
The operation opened December 3, 2020, as an overflow option for several Boston shelters and residents, as well as for others who need a safe and clean space to sleep. As we had hoped, clients are returning night after night based on their positive experiences. Most nights we have at least 15 guests, reaching 30% capacity or more.
Heading Home is honored to be joined in this effort with a number of partners, in addition to MEMA, including:
A Dignified Approach.
Women are welcomed into BHCC’s sun-filled gymnasium, offered toiletry kits, personal lockers, and a space to call their own for the night. Individual lockers are provided, as well as showers and laundry. MBTA buses bring clients to and from the shelter (3:30 p.m. arrival and 7 a.m. departure) – and a team of caseworkers and security ensure that the location remains drug-free and in compliance with the COVID-19 protocol. Hunger typically accompanies homelessness, so clients enjoy a warm meal at the end of the day and breakfast before leaving in the morning. Additionally, guests have been enjoying activity kits during their stays.
“As an essential hub of community service and learning, our College is in a unique position to make a difference for our vulnerable residents during these extremely difficult times,” said BHCC President Pam Eddinger.
Staff continues to be moved by guests’ levels of exhaustion – yet the appreciation they show for a warm bed, delicious meal, and a chance to shower is palpable. Heading Home remains grateful for our partnerships in this effort to bring safety and security to women in our community.
If you would like to help the women’s shelter, please visit our Amazon Wishlist.