NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The city of Northampton has placed storage lockers in the garage behind Thornes Marketplace.
This is an effort to help the homeless population have a safe place to hold their belongings.
“We knew there needed to be a place for people to store things,” Manna Community Kitchen Treasurer Lee Anderson said.
24 brand new lockers are now located in downtown Northampton.
“We wanted it inside, but we didn’t want it inside a building where they didn’t have 24-hour access to it. So we wanted it in a spot where they could come whenever they feel safe coming,” Anderson explained.
Their purpose, to help any unhoused residents have a safe place for their belongings.
“Make it easier to keep clean clothes if you might have a job interview, they can have a shirt and a pair of pants that are clean, you know, that haven’t been rained on last night,” Anderson said.
The lockers are funded by the city and run by the Manna Community Kitchen. Anderson said in some cases not having secure storage can leave a person without a meal.
“Sometimes I wouldn’t see a guest, and I would say hey how come you missed the last few meals, and sometimes it would be well, I wasn’t hungry enough to risk my stuff,” Anderson said.
Anderson said there can be an emotional weight added to a person who is carrying everything that belongs to them.
“And maybe you have things that there is more than you can actually carry and carry around all day, every day,” Anderson added.
Of the 24 lockers, 16 have already been claimed. Residents can make reservations for a short- or long-term period.
“30 days with extension, we’re trying to be fair so if there are 100 people who want lockers. I think if that happened we would end up with more lockers. They can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can simply come up to Saint John’s at the meal and ask there,” Anderson said.