Government and Politics
September 28, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno on Sep 28th, announced that the Stewart B. McKinney Men’s Emergency Shelter in Hartford will be moving to a new location in a state-funded project designed to improve the quality of care the shelter is able to provide to individuals in need.
Located in a former hotel building at 207 Brainard Road, this new location will enable the Community Renewal Team – the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the shelter and with whom the state partnered to create this new facility – with the ability to provide improved services to its residents through the use of individual, private rooms to sleep and receive wrap-around services. The shelter’s former location at 34 Huyshope Avenue required its residents to use large congregate settings that provided little to no privacy, including the use of bunk beds crammed in truck bays.
Governor Lamont explained that relocating the shelter into a former hotel is an example of evolving thought that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic on how to best provide services to people experiencing homelessness. Like many shelters nationwide at the onset of the pandemic, the McKinney Shelter temporarily moved its residents into a hotel, also located on Brainard Road, so that it could house residents in individual rooms to prevent the spread of the virus. In addition to the public health benefits, the shelter’s operators found these private settings to be a much better arrangement for providing behavioral healthcare and other kinds of counseling services.
“There were a lot of lessons learned from the pandemic in nearly every aspect of our lives, and the way services are provided to people who are experiencing homelessness is one of them,” Governor Lamont said. “Under this new arrangement, residents at the shelter will not only have private rooms, but they will also have other individual spaces on site where they can receive health clinics, behavioral health services, job training, housing services, case management offices, and more. This model is a much better way of providing services to those in need. I’m glad that the state could partner with the Community Renewal Team to complete this relocation, and I thank the organization for all of the services they provide to our state.”
The shelter will function as a 24-hour-a-day facility providing meals and support services on site. Daytime hours will allow for case management, housing placement, and medical and employment services. This holistic approach will provide the opportunity for the residents to get back on a path to stability.
“Adding the wrap-around services to the shelter site, and by being open during the day, it gives the guests the opportunity to receive assistance immediately, which allows them to work on a path to permanent housing,” Commissioner Mosquera-Bruno said. “Community Renewal Team is our valued partner in this meaningful work. We are pleased to be here with them on Sep 28th, to announce the new McKinney.”
Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Housing are supporting the Community Renewal Team with more than $3.4 million in state funding to purchase the former hotel. Additionally, the Connecticut Department of Housing is funding ADA-compliant bathrooms and a commercial kitchen, with construction on those scheduled to begin in October.
“The new location for the McKinney shelter will allow us to move away from a congregate shelter to a model that supports a transition to independent living and more permanent housing, promoting dignity, privacy, and safety for those residents with nearly one hundred beds available,” Mayor Luke Bronin said. “We’re thankful to the Lamont administration for their partnership and to the Community Renewal Team for their commitment to a new rehabilitated, non-congregate shelter that will help many of our most vulnerable residents rebuild their lives, and we’re proud to be a partner in helping make this build out possible.”
The shelter’s new location has 68 fully-furnished rooms and 127 beds, and includes space for wrap-around services.