Grace Closet gives away free clothing in downtown Worcester
WORCESTER, Mass. – On a day where temperatures hovered around freezing, Grace Closet in Worcester was prepared to hand out as many pieces of clothing needed to make sure their visitors were prepared for the elements. It’s another part of their effort to help the homeless.
What You Need To Know
- Worcester’s homeless population increased from November 2021 to November 2022, according to the CMHA.
- The CMHA reports almost 600 people in the city were experiencing some form of homelessness this fall.
- In an effort to keep people warm this winter, Grace Closet, run by Net of Compassion, helps give clothes to those in need.
“Hoping they have a home to go to, and yeah, trying to find a place to go and stay warm,” said Net of Compassion’s Elizabeth Gonzalez.
Grace Closet is put on by the nonprofit Net of Compassion. Once a week, anyone can stop by and pick up clothes for themselves or their families. Gonzalez said the line seems larger so far this year.
“We have seen a lot more people,” said Gonzalez. “There are more people coming in.”
The increased demand is because there are more people out in the cold this winter. At the city’s Human Right’s Commission meeting Monday, the Central Mass. Housing Alliance presented data showing almost 600 adults were homeless as of November 2022. Almost half of those adults were unsheltered.
It’s concerning data for Worcester’s city council, who addressed the issue Tuesday evening.
“We need the services, we need resources, we know we need additional housing,” said councilor at-large Khrystian King.
District 4 councilor Sarai Rivera also shared her concern on the issue of homelessness, saying the city needs to consider ideas where one part of the city is not oversaturated or overburdened with the challenge of housing the homeless.
“I think we need to come back to the table and think about how we’re doing this sheltering system, and looking at spaces throughout, and all of us in district council and council need to start thinking about how we all own some of this responsibility,” Rivera said at the meeting.
The number of homeless adults in the city represented an increase from the previous year. Until those numbers fall, lending a helping hand is important to Gonzalez, because she knows what it’s like.
“We know how it is to be in that position because we were once in that position,” Gonzalez said. “So, when, you know, when you’ve experienced that need, you feel compelled to have to do the same. We all need help.”
Gonzalez said this time of year, with the weather getting colder, they’re always in need of donations, especially things like hats, gloves and mittens. If anyone has any extra clothes they’re willing to donate, they can go to Net of Compassion’s website and set up a drop off time.