As the cold winter drags on in Buffalo, a toll is taken on the area's homeless and those who try to provide relief to the growing numbers. With Tuesday night expected to be among the coldest of the season, the sleeping room was packed in St. Luke's Mission of Mercy on the city's East Side.
Men were gradually coming in out of the dark and cold night, gradually filling the ranks of cots which fill the basement room. Some watched a movie on a big screen. Others slept. A few drank soup or talked.
Tony Mancuso, the associate lay servant of divine mercy in St. Luke's. waited as many men he knew came into the shelter after a "Code Blue" was declared in Buffalo.
"We welcome them. We give them something very hot to eat. We set them up with a cot, a place to sleep if we can although that's been getting very difficult because we have been running out of cots lately," Mancuso said.
"We just try to treat them with dignity and respect, just do what is necessary to make them feel at home."
Mancuso says the number of homeless men continues to creep upwards, with the 50 beds in the shelter routinely filled in this bitterly cold winter.