Growing concerns from Middletown officials over safety of those living at homeless encampment along CT River

Middlesex

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Tucked away in Harbor Park in Middletown sits a homeless encampment near the banks of the Connecticut River. There are growing concerns from city officials, who fear this area is unsafe and poses a serious threat to those who live there.

“The ground has collapsed before; it’s a fast-moving river right next to it,” explained Mayor Ben Florsheim. “We want to make sure we don’t have something tragic happen.”

Mayor Florsheim told News 8 they’re working to move people out of there. They’re hoping to do so these next few weeks.

“It will be conversations, I think,” said Mayor Florsheim. “City officials, and officials from some of those non-profit organizations, that are coming down here with information about what the timeframe is going to look like, how to get to the warming center, and what those services are.” 

He said there will also be permanent signage down there, detailing how these services can be reached.

“We want to make sure there’s fair notice to people, that we want to help you, and we also want to provide options for you to find another place safely to go,” said Kevin Elak, acting director of Health for Middletown.

One of the resources in place is St. Vincent de Paul Middletown.

“We’re sort of the common-place that anyone in trouble begins with and then we have a tremendous outreach program once we get to know what the issues are – whether it’s homelessness, domestic violence, addiction, mental health,” said Maryellen Shuckerow, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul Middletown.

Mayor Florsheim told News 8 their goal is to connect people with the right services and into permanent housing.

If you or someone you know needs help finding services, call 2-1-1. 

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