A testimonial from Professor Larry M. Gant (Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Professor of Art and Design, School of Art and Design):
This looks exactly like the sidewalk ramp to the Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO) 24 hour shelter. We did a lot of service projects and internships at NSO for many years, and I got to know the location very well.
Through the 1970s, through most of 1989, the shelter provided round-the-clock access to food, shelter, and beds throughout the calendar year and across all seasons. During the start of fiscal year 1990 (which began in October 1989), the federal government eliminated the majority of funding to the 24-hour center, reducing the availability of services dramatically. Other programs would try to meet the need, but round-the-clock care would be a thing of the past.
As many of the people who relied on their services - who walked miles to the building with "no wrong door" - found the doors shuttered, locked, and closed with only the hallway light appearing through the transom, they had no place else to go. So they would wait, sometimes silently, sometimes not. But they would wait. For hours. Until the doors open for a brief time when they could get something to eat, get warm, get out of the elements, and maybe get access to services. And they would do this day in, day out, for weeks and months.