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New solutions to assisting unhoused people: Moving beyond the shelter model

Mark Colville (center) stands on the steps of the New Haven Superior Court with other housing activists, holding a red sign with white letters that reads "Let them tent. Let them live!"
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
Mark Colville (center) stands on the steps of the New Haven Superior Court with other housing activists, criticizing city officials for clearing an encampment of unhoused people in West River Memorial Park earlier that month. Colville had his first court appearance that morning after being arrested while protesting the tent city eviction.

The number of people who became unhoused in Connecticut increased by 13 percent between 2021 and last year.

And in most places around the country, cities rely on shelters to accommodate people who are unhoused. But those who’ve lived there say this model isn’t working. Families are separated. There’s a 90-day stay limit. There’s little to no security for personal belongings. And at dawn, everyone’s asked to leave, rain or shine.

Today on Where We Live, we hear from the founder of Rosette Village, a transitional housing community on Rosette Street in New Haven. It's a housing model where people live together with their families and stay for as long as they need to, which can improve health outcomes for unhoused people.

Their tents are provided with electricity. Everyone has lockers for personal belongings. And they say their health has improved. Residents are hoping to live in prefabricated tiny homes set up on site so they can live safely.

Later, we talk about the health impact on people without housing.


  • Suki Godek: an unhoused activist living at Rosette Village
  • Mark Colville: the housing activist behind Rosette Village
  • New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
  • Dr. Caitlin Ryus: Instructor in Emergency Medicine and the Co-Director of the Yale Emergency Scholars Fellowship

Where We Live is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Listen Notes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode.

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Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.
Tess is a senior producer for Connecticut Public news-talk show Where We Live. She enjoys hiking Connecticut's many trails and little peaks, gardening and writing in her seven journals.