HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The city of Hartford announced on Tuesday that it is extending the opening of its warming center for two additional nights due to extreme weather conditions.
The warming center is located at the Arroyo Recreation Center at Pope Park. It will be open from 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.
“We had an unprecedented stretch of warm weather, but temperatures are expected to drop well below freezing over the next few nights, and we are offering a warming center help our most vulnerable residents keep warm,” Mayor Luke Bronin said. “This warming center can be lifesaving for residents experiencing homelessness, and we encourage anyone in need of warmth to go to our center at Arroyo Recreation Center at Pope Park.”
On Sunday night, people were waiting outside the center hours before it opened.
“Everyone starts gathering about when it gets cold and there’s no more sun to gather and there’s nothing to do but sit here and wait,” said one person.
He says it was freezing well before the sun went down but doors were still locked.
“At 5 p.m. it was 32 degrees outside, so it’s only been dropping since then. And all of us are just out here, there’s no break from the wind. we don’t have any shelter,” he said. “It’s great that there is something like this but it could be a lot better. There could be better systems in place, something where you could just go in, get out of the weather. Even to have a public bathroom that is accessible.”
He said space inside the shelter is limited.
“I’ve seen a lot of people who walk around, they don’t even come here. They would just rather go and rough it because they don’t want to deal. Oftentimes, when they come in here and it is cold and it’s a decent shelter, there are people who are sitting at tables sleeping, sitting in chairs because there’s only room enough for 20, 30 people.”