NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Homelessness is a growing concern in cities across the country, including New Haven.

With the weather heating up, there’s an issue with more people leaving warming shelters and sleeping in New Haven Union Station. 

Dozens of people sleep on the wooden benches every day, under the bright lights of the train schedule boards and a scooch away from passengers waiting to board their trains, according to travelers.

“[The homelessness] looks like it has gotten worse with the better weather,” said Kelly Byron, a commuter from Niantic.   

Many homeless individuals told News 8 their baggage is more than just luggage. Mental health, drugs and alcohol are part of the problem. 

Jamie, who is homeless and declined to give her last name, says she’s been in Union Station for a year with her cocker spaniel, Minnie, and living there can be dangerous.  

“There are people that come up and threaten you,” Jaime said. “There are people who harass you, going through your stuff, stealing your stuff.”  

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The 41-year-old claims she had issues with her landlord over her Section 8 housing voucher and city leaders are difficult to work with.  

“[New Haven city leaders] don’t want to help us get into a place. Like, right now, I have an apartment on hold, but nobody wants to help me,” Jaime said. 

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker disagreed, saying city agencies and nonprofits are on board with getting folks a ticket to better lives. 

“We are trying to find alternatives because, clearly, this is not ideal for anybody, and we want to find options for people,” Elicker said. 

Those alternatives include keeping the city’s emergency warming centers open through June instead of March, creating hundreds of new affordable housing units and expanding the number of emergency beds. 

“Frankly, it’s been quite challenging to find locations that are appropriate for more emergency housing, and there is also a real pressure on a lot of our providers who are struggling with staffing,” Elicker said.  

Myasia Kitchings says she’s been living at Union Station for five months, and the city’s getting her back on track with an apartment.  

The 21-year-old says other homeless individuals can get help, too, but some choose to be homeless. 

“It’s really easy. You just have to work for it. You can’t just, like, sit on your [expletive] for it. You have to work for it. You have to actually, like, want something,” Kitchings said. 

Elicker added that the city’s dedicating $1.4 Million from the general fund to help the homeless situation. 

Doug Hausladen is the executive director of New Haven’s Parking Authority, which oversees Union Station. He released the following statement:  

“Housing insecurity is a concern that impacts countless cities and towns across America. We are faced with difficult decisions and choices that directly impact those facing homelessness. New Haven Parking Authority assures passengers who travel to and from New Haven’s Union Station that they have a safe and comfortable experience. Increased security personnel, in distinctive blue uniforms, have a strong and effective presence 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NHPA, in partnership with local and state officials, will continue working together to find an appropriate and sustainable approach to the growing concerns to ensure the transit center remains the gem of public transit in Connecticut.”