“One reason we’re extremely strict with our dry policy is that we are aware of the severe effect exposure to alcohol or drugs can have on recovering alcoholics or addicts,” she said.
At 9:30 p.m., the shelter directors start accepting calls for e-beds, or one-night emergency beds, which are available when there are unreserved beds at the shelter for the night.
Saturday night several women called in for e-beds—a rarity, according to Tartakoff.
“We get few requests from women, which is frustrating,” said Tartakoff, who said that in terms of gender, the demographics of the shelter often do not reflect the makeup of the homeless population at large.
One of Tartakoff’s roles as a director, she said, is to work as an advocate for the shelter’s guests who are employed at least 35 hours a week and want permanent housing.
Helping some of these guests get out of homelessness is particularly rewarding, Tartakoff said.
For the other shelter volunteers, their day-to-day interactions with guests are fulfilling as well.
“It’s nice to be able to serve other people. I think that’s something that can get left out of the life of a college student,” Winans said. “Sometimes we get so caught up in our own agendas that we forget to look outside ourselves.”