The Christian Center in Pittsfield is working on opening a warming center for homeless citizens this winter.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that Betsy Sherman, executive director of the Christian Center has applied for a permit needed to place a trailer on-site adjacent to the existsing building. Upon approval will open to residents needing relief for the cold winter temperatures the next few months have in store.

Normally the Christian Center building itself would serve as a warming center for homeless residents, however, amid continued coronavirus safety concerns, it was clear that would not be an option this year, which is when Sherman knew they would have to get creative.

The 24-foot-by-60-foot trailer which is comparable to the kind of trailer often used by school districts as a temporary classroom, could be delivered as early as Jan. 18, however, it's unsure how long it will actually take to open after delivery.

Sherman told The Eagle that she started looking into the mobile structures to use as a temporary shelter and the city was on board with the plan. Pittsfield will delegate money from the CARES Act toward the project which Sherman believes will cost around $30,000 including utilities.

Once the warming center is officially open, it plans to operate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. The Christian Center will supply lunch, and ServiceNet will provide staffing. ServiceNet also operates Pittsfield's winter shelter at the former St. Joseph’s Central Catholic High School which is open 24 hours on weekends, but during the week it closes from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. except when temperatures drop dangerously low. The Christian Center location would fill the gap for those outside during the day throughout the winter.

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