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As seasonal shelters close, homeless individuals to be housed in western Mass. hotels

In an undated photo, William Stella cleans the cot he will sleep on for the night at Craig's Place, a homeless shelter in Amherst, Massachusetts, run by Craig's Doors.
Carol Lollis
/
Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com
In an undated photo, William Stella cleans the cot he will sleep on for the night at Craig's Place, a homeless shelter in Amherst, Massachusetts run by Craig's Doors.

With warmer weather arriving, a few western Massachusetts homeless shelters are closing. They're offering hotel rooms instead.

The non-profit Craig's Doors operates two shelters inside two churches in Amherst. One has already closed and the other closes Monday.

But the organization is making roughly 40 rooms available at two hotels in Amherst and Hadley.

Gerry Weiss, who leads Craig's Doors, said it's able to offer the rooms because of federal funding distributed by the state.

"It's kind of a silver lining for COVID in that more federal money became available to house people," he said.

Other shelters in the region stay open year-round.

Bill Miller works for Friends of the Homeless and oversees a 175-bed shelter in Springfield.

"It's hard to be homeless any time of year, so we're working with people all year long," he said.

One of the Craig's Doors shelters will reopen in the fall. The other was funded with COVID money that's run out.

ServiceNet, which operates four shelters in Northampton, Greenfield and Pittsfield, said its facilities will also remain open through the summer months.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.