Hotel Grace, another homeless shelter in Worcester that best meets their needs during the bitter winter months

WORCESTER β€” Peter Chomyn, a 65-year-old from Wisconsin, stays every winter at Hotel Grace, a 24/7 homeless shelter in the city.

He doesn’t know what he will do when the shelter closes – it’s too hard on the streets and his experience in the city’s state-funded shelters brings him to tears.

Hotel Grace is the only safe haven he has found – he feels cared for, heard, loved.

Politics and the city: While Worcester debates housing, Hotel Grace offers a 24/7 respite

Thursday was a rare, happy day at the Vernon Street shelter, which is located in a side building of Ascension Church. Five beds were open in the shelter – a few people had left recently. Some had to go into treatment, while someone else was able to find an apartment.

Reverend Richie Gonzalez, director of Hotel Grace, was briefing the five people who would be given the open beds. Every day people call the shelter, hoping to get lucky – hoping to get a warm bed during the cold winter months.

As Gonzalez tells them the rules of the shelter – no unassisted smoking breaks, subject yourself to searches every time you come in, “tell us if you’re staying another day or your bed goes to someone else” – the hotel’s newest residents seem tense and uncertain.

“I’ve been calling everywhere for three weeks,” said one woman, expressing relief that she finally had a place.

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