The season's first hard freeze in the Northeast, with below-zero temperatures in New England and below-zero wind chill across the mid-Atlantic Coast, filled shelters for the homeless to overflowing yesterday.

All 2,567 beds in Boston shelters were occupied, 220 men were taken into an overflow shelter at an armory and about 60 women went to an overflow shelter at a hospital, said Ann Maguire, executive director of Boston's Emergency Shelter Commission.

Boston police were pressed into service during the night to help locate people on the street and transport them to emergency shelters.

A shelter in Hoboken, N.J., has been taking in more people than is permitted by law. "We have a different plan when it's this cold," said the Rev. Geoffrey Curtiss at the Shelter for the Homeless. "When it's this cold, we allow the thing to overflow."

A shelter in Washington, run by the Community for Creative Non-Violence, which is under renovation and can house nearly 600 people, had to turn people away Tuesday night, staff worker Brian Anders said. No increase in demand was noted at city-run shelters, spokeswoman Lorraine Rue said.

Ruth Swanton, assistant director of Columbus House, a shelter for singles in New Haven, Conn., said the city and her organization were negotiating a way to pay for motel rooms for the homeless who may be turned away from the 98-bed facility during the cold spell.