NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Attention holiday shoppers! There’s a great event you should know about, right here in New Haven, and Get this- all of the proceeds go towards a very important cause. Connecticut’s Morning Buzz Host Natasha Lubczenko was joined in the studio by Continuum of Care’s Deborah Cox, VP, Fund Development and John Labieniec, VP, Acute Services, who came in to discuss their 4th Annual Holiday Bazaar on Sat., December 2nd, from 10am – 4pm at their administrative offices at 109 Legion Avenue in New Haven. Admission is Free.
This exciting fundraising event will feature over 30 vendors, including jewelry, decorations and home goods. It will offer free kid’s activities, live entertainment, and will have a food truck right outside. The purpose of the event is to raise money for Continuum of Care’s programs, which include a new housing initiative, they consider a huge undertaking. Deborah says, “The people we are serving have nothing. They don’t have a blanket. they don’t have food. They don’t have clothing. So we’re raising money…to provide that.”
Continuum of Care’s mission is to enable people who are challenged with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and/or struggling with co-occurring substance use disorder to rebuild a meaningful life and thrive in the community.
John tells our viewers about their programs. “We are a not-for -profit and we’ve been around for 58 years now, serving individuals with mental health and developmental disabilities. We serve veterans, homeless, substance use, a variety of residential programs, and we have an outpatient clinic.”
John explains the new program they are undertaking, saying, “Well, it’s a rather exciting time because the emergency housing program is being integrated with lot of changes into our crisis response system. Traditionally, shelters are underfunded, and they’re in very institutional-like settings. Cots that are lined up amongst each other and people usually have to leave during the daytime.” “This program is going to be much different. We’re not calling it a shelter, .. individuals are going to have access to their own space, their own rooms. There’s going to be a clinician on- site. There’s going to be peers with lived experience on site, and different staffing available to assist individuals in finding housing.” “The goal is really to allow people an environment that’s welcoming and provide the resources to hear people’s stories, which I think gets missed a lot of times.”
The timing for this project is a reflection of the need in the community. Deborah says, “The housing problem has just been the worst I’ve ever seen it. So many people struggling with housing and nobody plans on being homeless.” “I think there’s a lot of myths about people that are homeless. Anyone that is experiencing a housing crisis is going through trauma, and I think what makes us unique, is that we provide a lot of that trauma-informed care.” We’re really interested in hearing what people have been through, and why, ..they’re in this situation, (in order) to be better equipped, and to know how to help them.”
So, be sure to check out Continuum of Care’s 4th Annual Holiday Bazaar on Sat., December 2nd, from 10am – 4pm. For more information or to make a donation, visit their website at www.continuumct.org