News and Public Media for North Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Additional room at shelters open in anticipation of cold weather

A sign welcomes unsheltered people to GRACE Marketplace. (WUFT News/ Richard Mason)
A sign welcomes unsheltered people to GRACE Marketplace. (WUFT News/ Richard Mason)

Gainesville homeless shelters are providing cold night shelter service as nightly temperatures drop this winter.

Grace Marketplace and St. Francis House, which provide services for the local homeless community, will serve additional persons in need of shelter Monday through Wednesday night in anticipation of expected temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees.

The organizations are part of the city’s Cold Night Shelter program, which activates shelters when the temperature is expected to fall below 45 degrees.

The program has been operating for more than 20 years. Anybody seeking warmth during the cold — not just people without housing — can come to the shelter, city spokesperson Rossana Passaniti said.

“Someone who has indoor heat that might not be working, for example, or their central heating isn't working, or they don't have central heating, they can certainly take advantage of the program as well,” she said.

The program can also open in extreme weather events, like hurricanes, and could be activated outside its regular window of Nov. 1 to March 31, Passaniti said.

“It's a bit of a bit of a misnomer,” she said. “Because it's not just for cold nights. It's for bad weather, inclement weather, adverse weather conditions, those kinds of things.”

Grace Marketplace’s doors remain open from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. through cold nights, according to its website

St. Francis House offers space for an extra 60 people during cold weather, according to its website. People entering the shelter must have a blue card, a document proving they have no outstanding arrest warrants and are not sexual offenders, issued by the Gainesville Police Department or Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Shelters at St. Francis House house families and children, while Grace Marketplace caters to adults, according to a city press release.

Representatives of Grace Marketplace and St. Francis House were not available for comment at the time of publication.


This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

Alissa is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing