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Connecticut News

Bridgeport Homeless Veterans Shelter Running Low On Space, Resources

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Steven Senne
/
AP

A Connecticut nonprofit that helps people who are homeless says it’s facing unprecedented challenges in the COVID-19 era.  

Homes for the Brave provides housing, job training and mental health services, especially for veterans experiencing homelessness. CEO Vincent Santilli says COVID-19 has stretched their resources thin.

“We are pretty, pretty crowded right now.”

All but five of the beds are occupied in their men’s house in Bridgeport.

“Which is obviously pretty close quarters.” 

They’ve had to send volunteers home and go to a skeleton crew of just essential workers. And like many nonprofits, they’ve had to suspend fundraising events. So Santilli says they’re managing by holding low-key, out of the box events. Like a book club for residents.

“We’re trying to keep the men positive, obviously keeping them safe and healthy, and keeping them busy. So we, I think, have our hands full.”

Santilli says Homes for the Brave only has a limited number of beds for people who need to be isolated. Some shelters and other homeless providers in Connecticut have turned to hotel rooms. Santilli says that may become an option.

“We’ve got a number of individuals that are up in years and have some medical challenges. So we’re just trying to work with them and watch them very, very closely. And you know what? We stand beside them.”

Santilli says Homes for the Brave’s immediate needs are simple, little donations like puzzles, disinfectant wipes and grocery store gift cards go a long way. He says it’s difficult to plan much further than that. As the uncertainty of COVID-19 continues, Homes for the Brave takes it one day at a time.

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