The pandemic will hit the homeless in this country harder than most, especially as the temperatures drop in the coldest parts of the country for Christmas ... because a lot of shelters are being forced to be more restrictive with their services due to COVID.
TMZ spoke with various homeless shelters in some of the coldest cities in America -- which will be covered in snow and freezing this winter, as the pandemic rages on -- and we heard a lot of the same new policies being rolled out ... no volunteers, and no services for the recently displaced. The former's a bummer, but the latter could be devastating.
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Baltimore Outreach Services: This shelter only serves women and children, and they have a population of homeless that caps off at 40. They're not accepting any volunteers for holiday food giveaways, but are accepting outside donations, food and otherwise. They're also not taking in any new homeless clients needing housing, but have a waitlist.
Hope Street Shelter, Minneapolis: They serve homeless youths between 18-22 years of age, and while they say they will be taking new clients needing housing this holiday season -- they are also not accepting volunteers due to COVID. They're also keeping their services in-house and exclusively for the homeless population currently staying with them.
Light of Life Rescue Mission, Pittsburgh: This is one of the rare shelters that will take in and use outside of volunteers for Christmas and other food handout events. They plan to serve around 1,000 for Christmas, and will require volunteers to wear masks and distance. Unfortunately, they're not taking in any new homeless clientele due to COVID.
Detroit Rescue Mission: They are not accepting any new homeless people to stay in their facility, but are committed to feeding anyone who needs a meal on Christmas. Social distancing will be required, and they hope to feed as many as 50 people.
St. Herman House, Cleveland: No outside volunteers allowed for Christmas, only in-house staff will work to distribute meals on Christmas day, while maintaining proper distancing. They expect to be able to serve up to 150 meals, all of which will be bagged this year. They're also not taking in any new clients, but will start processing new apps soon.
Coalition for the Homeless, Washington D.C.: This shelter will not be allowing any new volunteers to help out with Christmas activities, whereas they have in the past.
As you could imagine, the fact these places are having to close their doors during a most-brutal time of the year will be hard on several people who might otherwise be able to be housed. Tough and potentially tragic situation ...