Wallingford Emergency Shelter reopens under new ownership

Wallingford Emergency Shelter reopens under new ownership

Record-Journal
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The Wallingford Emergency Shelter at 123 Quinnipiac St. in Wallingford, Thursday, November 17, 2016. The shelter reopend this week. | Dave Zajac, Record-Journal

WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford Emergency Shelter reopened its Quinnipiac Street facility this week.

The shelter, at 123 Quinnpiac St., is open from November to April for adults. In addition, the shelter also has two centers for families that are open year round.

Over the summer, the non-profit shelter was acquired by Columbus House, a New Haven non-profit that operates other facilities for the homeless. Since opening on Nov. 15, the Wallingford shelter has already accepted 13 people, nearly filling its 15-person capacity, said John Brooks, chief development officer at Columbus House.

Brooks said the shelter houses clients for up to 90 days. The goal is to transition clients to permanent housing, while also assisting in finding employment and mental health referrals.

“Statistics show the faster you get people back into permanent housing, the more likely they’ll stay,” said Matt Cammarota, chairman of the shelter’s advisory committee.

Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said the shelter “plays a very important role” in providing for those in need. The shelter receives about $20,000 from the town annually, Dickinson said.

Clients at the shelter receive three meals daily. Breakfast is provided by the shelter, brown bag lunches are donated by Holy Trinity Church and dinner is provided by Choate Rosemary Hall.

Since the acquisition by Columbus House was completed this summer, the shelter has expanded its services and is now operated by full-time staff members, rather than volunteers, Brooks said. The shelter also employs a full-time case manager.

The shelter has begun a “street outreach” program to let potential clients know about services.

Cammarota, the shelter’s former president prior to the acquisition by Columbus House, attributed the high enrollment since the opening to the outreach effort.

“People may have had a harder time finding us before, but not this year,” Cammarota said.

According to a study conducted by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness earlier this year, 3,911 people experienced homelessness in Connecticut.

That total is about a 3 percent drop from 2015, and a 13 percent drop from 2007, the first year the coalition compiled data.

Of the 3,911 homeless people reported this year, 3,238 were either in an emergency shelter or transitional housing, and 673 were completely unsheltered.

Those interested in donating food and clothes to the shelter can call 203-401-4400 Ext. 138.

mzabierek@record-journal.com 203-317-2279


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