Blizzard impacts Portland homeless shelters

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The blizzard may have made Portland look like a ghost town, but inside the Preble Street homeless shelter, it was busy.

Preble Street Associate Director Jon Bradley estimates up to 500 people went to the shelter Tuesday during the blizzard.

"It was a crazy day," said Bradley. "It was packed. We had all our facilities open, up and down."

He said staff was unable to get an exact count on the number of people in the shelter Tuesday, but said it was about 200 more people than the average crowd on a winter day.

Nearby Oxford Street shelter opened up space for an overflow crowd.

The City of Portland did not open up a warming shelter for the blizzard because officials did not anticipate widespread power outages. Instead, the city directed people to go to homeless shelters if they needed a warm place to go.

Bradley said they did see some people who lived nearby come in to Preble Street, just for the company.

"I think a storm like this really makes people want to come inside get out of the house at least for awhile to be with other people to share the experience and not to be isolated," said Bradley.