On a recent weeknight, one Aquebogue church is barely visible from Main Road in the pitch dark.
But around back, the lights are on and 13 cars are parked in the rear lot, one van having just left. Inside Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, some of the area’s homeless are gearing up for a hot meal and warm place to stay.
Our Redeemer is just one of two houses of worship sheltering the homeless across the East End this night, part of a group of nearly 40 that unite each week during the winter — through local nonprofit Maureen’s Haven — to put a roof over the heads of the local homeless population.
It’s an effort that has required a heavier lift this year than in seasons past; Maureen’s Haven appears on track to serve more homeless this winter than ever before. After topping a previous high last season, housing 312 individuals over 108 nights, the organization has already served over 80 percent of that total this year, with nearly another month to go.