New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper


Friendship Service Center Gets State Bonding

The State Bond Commission today approved a $200,000 grant for The Friendship Service Center to assist with renovations and improvements to its soup kitchen and homeless shelter at 241 Arch St.

Specifically, the bonding will be combined with other state grants and private funding to replace four bathrooms and 12 showers, replace the building’s roof and some flooring, and upgrade the kitchen and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

The mission of the Friendship Service Center is to provide friendship and direct services to the poor and needy of Central Connecticut, including the ownership and operation of housing for the poor.

Friendship Executive Director Ellen Perkins Simpson said the nonprofit moved into 241 Arch St. 20 years ago this month, and that the building has seen “very, very, very heavy use” as a 52-bed homeless shelter and soup kitchen that serves over 1,000 meals a year.

“This funding is very much appreciated and we will put it to good use,” Perkins Simpson said.

“The Friendship Center has been a mainstay in New Britain for decades, and they do an incredible job assisting some of our neediest citizens,” Sen. Gerratana said. “This is a wonderful state investment in Connecticut’s most valuable resource – its people – and I want to thank Governor Malloy and the State Bond Commission for their support and caring in approving this grant.”

“As a nurse, I’ve sometimes visited the Friendship Center to see my patients. The Friendship Center is a wonderful organization and it does a lot of good work. It helps people stabilize their lives,” said state Representative Peter Tercyak (D-New Britain).

“But the place needs work. I’m glad we were able to arrange this bonding for them. Everything the Friendship Center does makes New Britain a better place to live.”

The Friendship Service Center operates a soup kitchen that provides lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, to anyone in need; as well as three meals per day, seven days per week, to shelter residents and former residents.

The Center also operates an emergency shelter for men, women and children who receive three meals per day and have use of laundry facilities. Each resident works with a service coordinator to develop a case action plan that may include counseling, crisis intervention, goal setting, housing assistance and referrals for other services such as substance abuse treatment, education, job training, or child care.