As Boulder prepares for a week of subfreezing temperatures, homeless shelters in the city are also preparing for a flood of clients looking to avoid the cold and the snow.
Temperatures in Boulder are not expected to rise above freezing until next week, and it could drop below zero during the nights.
In preparation, volunteers with the Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow are preparing by stocking up on hot meals and dry clothes for the homeless that come in.
"Our staff really understands they have to be ready to deal with the wet and the cold that is coming," said Nancy Brinks, the chairwoman of the BOHO board. "We're telling our volunteer base to make sure they have hot meals brought to the warming shelters and another volunteer group to make sure they are bringing dry socks."
BOHO was founded to give shelter for people who could not find space at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, which has 120 beds at its winter shelter.
Brinks said they have been seeing about 80 to 100 people a night, but number is expected to increase sharply during the cold spell. In addition to a primary shelter, BOHO also selects a building to serve as its secondary shelter every night, and Brinks said they anticipate needing them.
"The other big thing for us on nights when it's very, very cold is confirming and ensuring our overflow to the overflow site, if you will, has a secondary site," Brinks said.
BOHO sheltered a record 182 people during the last snowstorm in late November, and Brinks said she expects similar numbers this time around.
"We anticipate running between 150 to 160, or potentially even higher given the cold we are looking at," Brinks said.
But Boulder is not likely to see much in the way of warmth even during the day this week, so Bridge House has decided to extend its hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., during the cold spell.
"We see the most vulnerable people in the homeless community, and we try to be sensitive to the fact that we are the only service provider during the day," said executive director Isabel McDevitt. "Unfortunately we will not be able to accommodate everyone because of space. But we certainly want to do what we can."
Greg Harms, the executive director of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, said the shelter is not doing anything out of the ordinary, but the shelter will try to speed up its intake process and possibly move it indoors.
"Hopefully, that way, we can get them out of the cold as quickly as possible," Harms said.