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Extreme Cold Puts CT Homeless at Risk

The annual "point-in-time" count of homeless in Connecticut has declined three years in a row. (StockSnap/Pixabay)
The annual "point-in-time" count of homeless in Connecticut has declined three years in a row. (StockSnap/Pixabay)
December 29, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Sustained temperatures well below freezing can be life-threatening to Connecticut's homeless population, but warming centers are open.

When temperatures are this low, anyone who has no heat or shelter is in trouble. Even for those who have a home, a broken furnace, a burst pipe or a blown fuse can put their health at risk but for those with no home, it can be especially dangerous.

Lisa Tepper Bates, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, says they've been working with their partners in state and local government and the United Way's statewide helpline to make sure that everyone can stay warm.

"Anyone in need can call 211 to connect effectively with the local emergency shelters and with the warming centers that are open," she says.

There are now 26 warming centers open in towns across Connecticut.

Bates says Connecticut has been making significant progress in reducing the number of people in the state who are homeless. She notes that the annual "point-in-time" count, a census of homeless individuals, has gone down for three years in a row.

"At the same time, we keep track, on an annual basis over 12 months, of how many people in our state have experienced homelessness, and those numbers have been falling as well," she explains.

The next "point-in-time" count will take place on January 23.

Bates is confident that count will show that the downward trend in homelessness in Connecticut is continuing.

"It takes a team effort across the state with our federal colleagues, our state colleagues and a number of nonprofits, but we are gaining ground on this important problem," she adds.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT