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Fall River Timao Center closes it’s Day Shelter/Drop-in Center for Homeless



The Timao Center, known to many homeless residents in Fall River as the only overflow shelter during the winter months, has closed its Drop-In Center indefinitely.

As scheduled, the winter overflow program which runs for 15 weeks during the winter, closed on March 22nd. The Timao Center has provided the seasonal shelter for the past 12 years and is expected to continue that service this coming winter.

But a second program, a day shelter/drop-in center has also closed with no plans to immediately reopen. The program was a new addition to the location starting in April of 2023 but funding for the program has run out and last Friday was the last day of operation.

The program, which is the only one of its kind in the city, allowed homeless individuals to stop by throughout the day to take advantage of a multitude of services provided by the Timao Center and partners. Along with meals, the center also provided showers throughout the day as well as on-site washing machines and dryers to be used to clean clothing.

Lunch is served on the last day at the Timao Center Drop-in program

Speaking with Lisa Mello, the director of the program, Fall River Reporter learned that the center also helped navigate through some of the challenges that homeless residents faced such as needing to meet with service providers.

“Often people would have to take buses from one part of the city to meet with a service provider and find out when they got there they were missing a critical piece of information or document. They would have to go back and forth across the city. It helps by bringing some services here.”

Mello also shared that the location was used as a mailing address for many homeless, a missing link for many who need a place to get mail as well as to get things like a state identification card.

Different from the First Step Inn which offers a place for the homeless to sleep, the Day Shelter/Drop-in Center provided a central location that became a source of comfort to hundreds of homeless throughout the city, a place where many individuals could go for help. As a result, the center became like a family for many, including those who worked there.

Last Friday, the center hosted one last luncheon for patrons as they closed the doors on the program.

Notes of thanks at the Timao Center

Mello said that the new program was started with funding through the Cares Act that took the program from April of 2023 until December of 2023. Additional ARPA funding was given to the program from the city to help keep the doors open but that only kept the program up and running until the last day of March.

Fall River Reporter reached out to Mayor Paul Coogan who connected us with Mike Dion, Executive Director of the Fall River Community Development Agency who answered some questions about the program.

According to Dion, both the center and the city were aware that funding was limited and that it would not extend beyond March. He said that he connected the Timao Center with Bay Coast Bank to work on how the center could find ways to become financially independent and connect with donors but that conversations did not yield any results.

Massachusetts Congressman Jake Auchincloss toured the center this past January with Mayor Paul Coogan but it wasn’t enough to help the center secure any additional funding.

Photo: Rep. Auchincloss website

Dion said that they discussed ways to make the program less like a come-and-go type of location.

“We (the city) were looking for more of a buy-in from the homeless population that used the program,” said Dion.

When asked about the services that the center was providing such as daily access to showers and laundry services, Dion shared that the city does have mobile bathrooms and laundry trailers but they are currently in storage.

Speaking with the First Step Inn, staff there shared that there are two days a week homeless residents can use the showers at the YMCA on North Main Street and that there is one laundromat that has free service at the end of each month.

Dion said that the city has received approximately 1.8 million dollars in Opioid Abuse Settlement and that he intended to share with Mello that a portion of that money will go out for an RFP and that they would be able to apply. The city is also looking for input on how to spend the funds.

In the meantime, homeless residents who were using the Timao Center during the day will have to wait. Those who were using the center to sleep at night and were looking for a place to go now that the seasonal overflow portion of the center has closed were encouraged to call the First Step Inn.

Saying goodbye at the Timao Center last Friday.

We did reach out the First Step Inn on Durfee Street to ask if they have had anyone from the Timao Center come stay at their location and we were told that they have received calls from people looking for beds but there are no beds available. First Step Inn has 50 beds open during the winter season but as of March 26th, that number has gone down to 30.

Primary correspondent for the Greater Fall River area, Jess focuses on human interest stories and investigations into political corruption. She is a former fill-in host and digital contributor at The Howie Carr Show, former host of The Jessica Machado Show and SouthCoast Tonight on WBSM in New Bedford, former blogger at The Herald News and a former fill-in host at WSAR in Fall River.



  1. Barrack Warren

    April 5, 2024 at 6:50 am

    Perhaps the space could be used to service newly arrived Americans in their time of transition. We need to step up services for undocumented Americans and their families while they acclimate to the area.

    • Hi

      April 5, 2024 at 7:47 am

      Are you friggin kidding me! Don’t help our own but continue to help undocumented immigrants they are not Americans they were not born here. It’s people like you that is what wrong with this world. Perhaps maybe open up your home and start housing these people. There is no more money but let’s bring in more useless people who can’t help themselves!

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