Homeless in the snow: Waterbury program provides hope to improve lives

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — This latest round of wintry weather has been brutal for Thomas McGrath.

That’s because he lives in a tent in the woods.

“When you’re just laying here trying to go to sleep and all you’re doing is shivering trying to make sure you don’t get frostbite at night,” he said. “It sucks.”

“I know I’m better than this. All I need is a chance,” Thomas said.

A special place in Waterbury is giving Thomas hope that things can get better one day.

“I could be out of here and have a real life,” Thomas said.

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It’s called The Hospitality Center on East Main Street. It’s run by an organization called The Center for Human Development, or The CHD for short.

Workers there help homeless people like Thomas. The program director tells News 8 on a cold, snowy day, they could see about 100 people walk in their doors. But, workers are quick to point out, The Hospitality Center is not a homeless shelter because they provide so much more than a place to get a break from the elements.

“We’re a drop-in center for the homeless so they can come in and take showers, do laundry, look for jobs,” said Shakira Howard.

They also help people like Thomas apply for low-income housing. On any given day, Howard may spend hours with Thomas helping him fill out job applications in hopes of turning his life around.

“We want to get Thomas a job,” she said. “We want to get him housing so he could get back out in the community feeling like he’s successful.”

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They also try to help by encouraging others in the community to donate clothes. They also help make sure they get health check-ups and they also let them know they are there for support and encouragement.

“A lot of times they just need a hug, they need a warm hug, a warm cup of coffee, just somebody to say, ‘Good morning,'” Howard said. “Just to know that people care about them.”

That’s enough to give Thomas hope for a brighter and warmer future.

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