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Homeless Shelter Grant Unfiled

A delay in getting a new homeless shelter in the City may take place because Former Mayor Tim O’Brien never filed an application for an emergency shelter grant from HUD.

“You obviously can’t use federal funds until you file an application,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “Now, not only do we have to find a location for these overflow people, we have to submit the application in order to get the funds to do the shelter.”

Stewart said the City is having an emergency shelter grant meeting next week.

“We have to figure out who can fit how many people where,” she said.

No new buildings will be made specifically for the homeless and the project at Christian Calvary Church at 265 Main St., is off the table. Sources said O’Brien was planning to pay about $400,000 for the church’s renovation if it housed an overflow homeless shelter.

Stewart said she nixed that project.

“Right now, all we can do is make a temporary fix to a long term problem,” said Stewart.

There are two different commissions in the City – the 10 year plan to end homeless and the homeless commission.

Tim Stewart started the 10 year plan to end homelessness and O’Brien began the Homeless Commission.

Mayor Stewart said they are duplicative, but the 10 year plan actually works on helping the people find solutions. The commission more or less makes decision such as what the definition of homelessness is.

One problem with the use of the PAL Building on Osgood Ave. is its distance from Central Park where many homeless gather. Stewart said it is so far away from the center of the City it is hard to get homeless people to it – especially on very cold days.

“They aren’t going to walk and the question becomes transportation,” said Stewart. “There is the Senior Center. We will definitely find places for the homeless to go.”

If the grant is approved by HUD the City would have about $110,000 to be used for shelter overflow, soup kitchens and more for the homeless population.

New Britain is estimated to have about 500 homeless individuals which is more then New Haven which has about 325, according to estimates from Partnership for Strong Communities. New Britain is one of only 5 Cities or towns in Connecticut to have over 100 homeless people.