A new clothing shop, Corner Closet, isn’t the only change Humility of Mary Shelter has seen this year.
“Our staff has been feeling like something was different this winter compared to past winters,” said Humility of Mary Development Director John DeTaeye.
That difference was 1,200 more overnight stays at their facilities since July 1 than compared to the same period last year. Since July 1, the women’s shelter has had nearly 3,000 overnight stays and the men’s shelter has had 7,000.
Volunteers say the increase is clear in the area outside of the Corner Closet.
“I see more people every day,” said volunteer Mona Wilkerson. “It’s quite a stream going through here during the day, but you see more people and you see different people too.”
One demographic stands out in the shelter’s numbers: people between the ages of 18 and 24.
“We need to do more work on getting behind what’s driving that number,” DeTaeye said.
That’s not the only trend the shelter is noticing.
“We are noticing in our intake that more people are coming to us with addiction issues and opioid addictions in particular,” DeTaeye said.
Volunteers said the increase makes the Corner Closet even more important. Since it opened, volunteers have helped four people dress for job interviews and each were hired.
“I think it’s made quite a change,” Wilkerson said. “It’s so, you know, convenient and we’re sitting right on the corner and people know that there’s clothes in there.”