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Housing issues affect everyone in Connecticut, from those who are searching for a safe place to live, to those who may find it increasingly difficult to afford a place they already call home.WNPR is covering Connecticut's housing and homelessness issues in a series that examines how residents are handling the challenges they face. We look at the trends that matter most right now, and tell stories that help bring the issues to light.

Connecticut Shelter Capacity Slim Going Into Winter Months

Heather Brandon

As the days grow colder, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness has launched a statewide campaign to help house those who need it during a time when shelter capacity is challenged.

“If there was ever a time it was important that clients could stay in their homes, it’s now,” said the coalition’s Madeline Ravich.

Ravich said that to help people stay safe from both the weather and the virus, the coalition is urging municipal lawmakers to pass resolutions committing their towns to ending homelessness.

She said roughly 2,000 people were in shelters before the pandemic hit in March and half of those people needed to be dispersed to 15 hotels to keep up with social distancing protocols.

Ravich said as the second wave approaches, fewer families are being displaced, possibly because of the current moratorium on evictions. That ends Jan. 1. Meanwhile, the number of individuals seeking shelter has increased.

“Shelter capacity is a concern because living on the streets in March is not ideal, but in January it’s downright dangerous,” said Ravich. 

The coalition’s ultimate goal is shelter diversion. COVID has highlighted the importance of having a home to stay safe. She said it’s also sparked more generosity from Connecticut residents. 

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