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Catching up with the Berkeley Emergency Storm Shelter


Men and women who endure chronic homelessness have a mental illness, substance abuse, and physical challenges. Their safety is incredibly fragile during the winter months without a safe place to sleep.

When it rains, or temperatures drop below 45 degrees, we run our Berkeley Emergency Storm Shelter (BESS) at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Way.

For the duration of the pandemic, we have made the BESS 24/7 over the winter.

Left: A participant receives a coffee from a BESS Monitor. Right: Residents enjoy the new TV in the common room.


BESS is currently sheltering and providing services for 18 guests. Benefits include three meals a day, showers, and laundry. Because of their stay here, three guests were referred to Lifelong Medical. 2 guests have received their booster shots, several more are interested when they are eligible, and several had their vaccination cards replaced.


New to BESS this year is an onsite clothes closet. Not only for our guests but also for our unhoused neighbors that may be seeking goods. We have been able to hand out clothes, blankets, shawls, hygiene kits, and ER resource information. Another new addition this year is a TV in the common area equipped with movies, sports, and news. While this may seem like a minor addition, this has helped elevate the warm and comforting atmosphere we provide for our guests.




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