Volunteers: not enough shelters for New Haven’s homeless

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Amistad Catholic workers tell News 8 that the homeless are forced to live on the streets because there aren’t enough bed for everyone.

“During the winter it’s terrible. I’m outside in the freezing. I’m looking for people to give me a couple dollars to eat and all that, during the summer you can manage a little better, but during the winter there is nowhere to go,” said Nick Terlecky, who is homeless.

The Amistad community on Rosette Street  in New Haven houses over 20 homeless and feeds dozens of people each week. Workers have been helping the homeless for nearly 20 years.

Volunteers are calling on Mayor Toni Harp  to create additional safe places for the homeless stay, while also increasing  the number of beds at the Grand Avenue Shelter.

“There are at least 1,400 homeless people in New Haven this year and we expecting to make due with 75 shelter beds when it has become increasingly illegal to stay outside,” said Greg Williams, Amistad Catholic Worker.

Catholic workers say there aren’t enough places for the homeless to go.

“It is on the one hand increasingly illegal to find a place to sleep outside and on the other hand, we have shelter beds that are being cut, the overflow shelter closed,” said Williams.

Volunteers with Amistad say there are not enough beds in the shelters so some of homeless end up in the streets.

Nick Terlecky has been homeless off and on for the past 10 years. He says the shelters in New Haven have a 90 days in and 90 days out policy, and when it’s time for him to leave he tells News 8 where he looks for shelter.

“Benches, wherever you can find shelter and if you do lay down the cops are on you. It’s a no win situation for us,” said Terlecky.

homeless at Amistad

Amistad Catholic workers say they take care of anyone who knocks on the door, adding they can’t do it alone and more doors need to open for New Haven’s homeless population.

“We need to create a quality of life in New Haven that serves everybody,” said Mark Colville, Amistad.

On July 24th, Amistad workers plan to take action, taking over a publicly owned lot serving food and offering people hospitality. They are asking for an answer from the city on where the homeless are supposed to go.

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