Here's something you may not know: Tonight a record number of people, or close to it, will be sleeping on the concrete floors at Brother Francis Shelter and Bean's Cafe.
It's been like this for weeks now.
Brother Francis, the city's largest emergency homeless shelter, is set up to house about 150 people. On Monday night, 202 people slept there. Another 83 slept next door at Bean's Cafe. That's a total of 355 people with nowhere else to go -- almost twice what's normal this time of year.
Dewayne Harris, the shelter director, told me he's never seen anything like the most recent numbers in his 12 years on the job. The average daily count has been creeping up over the last few years, but the shelter has never been as crowded as it's been during the past month. They've been setting up beds everywhere: in the conference room, the laundry room, the dining area, Harris said.
"Picture your house in the holidays when all your friends and family visit, we move the coffee table and we move the dining room table. We use every inch of this shelter," he said.
When the shelter can hold no more, people are sent to Bean's. Once Bean's hits capacity at 124 people, then Harris will have to scramble to find more beds somewhere else. So far that hasn't happened, but it's looking like a possibility if the trend continues.
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