FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Homeless shelters across Fairfield County are gearing up for some of the coldest nights yet this winter season.
The Jericho Partnership in Danbury is planning to open its homeless shelter for those in need Thursday night and stay open all day Friday as a warming shelter.
“I can’t imagine sending these men out into this weather,” said Carrie Amos, executive director of the Jericho Partnership. It operates one overnight shelter for men only in Danbury and will offer dinner and breakfast to those in need.
“I’m concerned with power outages,” Amos said, saying that the most recent weather forecast calls for strong winds that could knock down trees into wires.
Jericho works with the city of Danbury to ensure that those in need get help. It also acts as an overflow for the city’s warming center at the Danbury War Memorial in Rogers Park. Amos said Jericho will help anyone who needs it.
“We’re not going to say no to anyone,” she said.
In Stamford, Shelter for the Homeless—the city's largest individual shelter—is prepared for a full house. The facility is certified for 82 beds, but during the winter months and emergencies, has a capacity of 110, Executive Director Rafael Pagan said.
“We’ve been seeing an average of 90-plus men a night these past few days,” Pagan said. “Tonight, I think we’ll see over 100. But our staff is ready, and everything is a go.”
In addition to providing a warm place to sleep, Pagan said Shelter for the Homeless serves dinner to everyone staying at the shelter.
Because the shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Pagan said individuals are welcome to stop in at any time and can stay as long as they need to.
“We don’t have restrictions, especially when there is really bad weather,” he said. “People can stay in all day.”
For those in the Norwalk area, the Open Door Shelter at 4 Merritt St. began accepting individuals and families for short-term stays in its 95-bed shelter. Families are welcome to come in from the cold 24 hours a day, while single walk-ins are welcome throughout the night.
The same site also houses the Manna House kitchen and pantry, which provides three hot meals for those in need and food products to take home for families with homes who still need assistance. Those interested in donating can contact the Open Door Shelter through its website.
Concerned about the frigid cold temperatures in store for Thursday night into Friday morning, Gov. Dannel Malloy is urging anyone who needs shelter to find a place to stay. The state, he said, hasn’t experienced cold weather like this in at least 15 to 18 years.
“That’s why we activated our cold weather protocol much earlier today,” Malloy said. “We have had crews going out throughout our cities and towns, reaching out to homeless people to get them inside, so we don’t lose someone to the cold. This is a big concern of mine."
Malloy said anyone who needs a place to warm up or to be sheltered should call 211. A list of warming centers can be found at the 211 website.
Also, residents looking for homeless shelters and other services can find town-by-town information for Connecticut at this website.