Petition Closed
Petitioning Community Services Administrator Chisara Asomugha and 3 others

New Haven: What's Your Plan for the Homeless? (NEW HAVEN RESIDENTS ONLY, PLEASE)

ATTENTION - New Haven residents only, please!! Please sign with a New Haven address.

For the past two years, the City of New Haven has not included the Cedar St. Overflow Shelter - which houses up to 125 men in the winter months - in the budget, relying instead on massive grassroots fundraising campaigns fueled by supporters throughout New Haven. While these campaigns have been inspiring, they have fueled an at best underfunded shelter which does little to move its clients out of homelessness. Over the last several months, service providers from throughout New Haven have put forward a variety of creative and exciting proposals to make our shelter system more sustainable and productive, but the City has been unresponsive to their ideas. So today, just six months before New Haven must open any winter overflow shelter it wants to operate, we ask the administration: what is your plan for the homeless?

Please join us in calling on the Community Services Administrator and the Mayor to open a productive dialogue on these new proposals and create a sustainable shelter system.

IF YOU ARE NOT FROM NEW HAVEN - THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT, BUT PLEASE DO NOT SIGN THE PETITION. THANK YOU!!

Letter to
Community Services Administrator Chisara Asomugha
Mayor of New Haven John DeStefano
Chair of the Human Services Committee Sergio Rodriguez
and 1 other
Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor Sean Matteson
We write to express our serious concern about the City’s current shelter system for the homeless. Over the last two years, the fate of the Overflow Shelter — which houses in excess of 100 single homeless men in the city — has been left to last-minute fundraising campaigns, which have been inspiringly successful, but cannot be repeated for a third year in a row. Even if we were to commence fundraising this year, we would be starting significantly behind our place last year because there are no leftover funds from this winter, and we may not have the money we received in 2009 from Neighbor to Neighbor. Furthermore, the campaigns of the last two years have still produced an under-funded shelter, which cannot afford case managers and has been unable to move its clients out of homelessness.

So, today, we write to ask you: what is your plan to shelter the homeless in the winter of 2010-2011?

We would like the City to convene a meeting of service providers and community members within the next three weeks to discuss a variety of creative, effective, and potentially sustainable solutions that have been proposed by homelessness not-for-profits over the last several months, including:

- Establishing a new dry shelter which, by virtue of its clean environment, would move clients into housing and reduce the overall homeless population in New Haven
- Expanding the Abraham’s Tent program which, this year, sheltered 12 clients from Columbus House at religious congregations in and around the city
- Opening an overnight warming center where homeless individuals who do not fit in shelters could come indoors, have a cup of coffee, and warm up—at fairly low cost to the City
- Investing in supportive housing in line with the recommendations of the New Haven 10-Year-Plan To End Homelessness

Each of these proposals needs further consideration; but the only unacceptable path would be to maintain the status quo. We are well aware of the consequences of taking no action. Many of us are volunteers with the Abraham’s Tent shelter program and the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project (YHHAP), and have seen firsthand the extreme measures our community has recently had to pursue to keep our homeless indoors for the winter. Over the last year and a half, YHHAP has raised over $70,000 for the Overflow Shelter, and the congregations of Abraham’s Tent have sheltered twelve men for an entire season. We are eager and willing to continue to do our part to address but this problem, but we firmly believe that a sustainable and successful plan must be adopted this year, and we call on the city to open a productive dialogue on this plan immediately.

Sincerely,