Homeless shelters move to local hotels amid pandemic, providing life saving benefits for most vulnerable communities

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– As COVID-19 continues to impact everyone, there’s encouraging news for members of one of our most vulnerable communities. Friday, community leaders gathered at one facility providing a safe place to call home

Celebration is in order at a facility more than year after COVID-19 struck.

“We had zero COVID deaths among clients this year,” said Margaret Middleton.

Margaret Middleton is the Chief Executive Officer of Columbus House, an emergency shelter for the homeless. However due to COVID-19, people seeking shelter had to be moved from that location, because cramped spaces, could increase their risk of the virus.

“This year we were able to house people in temporary settings within hotel rooms, double occupancy. So, two people to a room. And our COVID transmission were almost none,” said Middleton.

It’s all thanks to the Department of Housing, the city of New Haven, and federal funding. One particular facility is an extended stay, which provides all the comforts of home. It also gives people an opportunity to regain their independence.

“Here they can function as if they were in their own home. They can get up when they want to, they can start their day, cook their own breakfast,” said John Sanford, Facility Manager.

Supporters gathered Friday to tour the facility, witnessing how this extended stay is providing life saving benefits. Staff members say once a resident leaves their room masks are required, along with social distancing. They’re also offered vaccinations.

Raymond Brown described his experience this way.

“It’s been a blessing, my life has been really really missed, I got my life together,” said Brown.

“It gives them a little bit of normalcy to life,” said Middleton.

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