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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Cold night shelter programs will open again for the next three nights

<p>Ron Hamer, 64, enjoys chicken noodle soup at St. Francis House in downtown Gainesville, which provides cold night services for the homeless. Hamer dropped out of high school in 11th grade and went to work for a local Birmingham radio station, WZZK. When his mother died in 1996, he lost her house and found himself living on the streets.</p>

Ron Hamer, 64, enjoys chicken noodle soup at St. Francis House in downtown Gainesville, which provides cold night services for the homeless. Hamer dropped out of high school in 11th grade and went to work for a local Birmingham radio station, WZZK. When his mother died in 1996, he lost her house and found himself living on the streets.

Homeless Gainesville residents will have a place to stay for the next three nights as temperatures are expected to dip again.

The City of Gainesville announced on Twitter today that it will activate cold night shelter services from tonight until Monday night. The cold night shelter program was activated earlier this month from Jan. 5 to Jan. 7 and from this past Sunday to Tuesday night due to a hard freeze.

Check-in time at the St. Francis House will be from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and residents are allowed to check in to GRACE Marketplace starting at 7 p.m.

Tonight will be the coldest night with a low of 37 degrees, and the next two nights will have lows of 47 and 44 degrees, said Kirsten Cheney, a meteorologist at the Jacksonville Weather Service. She said it’ll be coldest during the night and early morning.

GRACE Marketplace and the St. Francis House will provide these overnight services to house the homeless when temperatures reach under 45 degrees.

The program is funded by the city, the county and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It provides 35 extra bed spaces and meals to the homeless along with providing both laundry services and case management services.

Contact Stephany Matat at smatat@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @StephanyMatat

Ron Hamer, 64, enjoys chicken noodle soup at St. Francis House in downtown Gainesville, which provides cold night services for the homeless. Hamer dropped out of high school in 11th grade and went to work for a local Birmingham radio station, WZZK. When his mother died in 1996, he lost her house and found himself living on the streets.

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