Danbury Homeless Shelter May Be Forced to Shut Down
It's been a staple in Danbury since 1983, but now the Dorothy Day Homeless Shelter may be forced to close their doors for good.
The shelter lost it's zoning appeal in Danbury Superior Court last week, and may now be forced to close it's 16 bed facility. Zoning laws in Danbury no longer permit shelters in residential neighborhoods. The soup kitchen, which now serves to go meals to between 70-80 people daily, will not be affected by the latest ruling.
Since the shelter opened 37 years ago with a one year zoning permit, they have been serving the homless community in Danbury. Back in 2015, the city discovered that the shelter never renewed the permit and now one year permits do not exist.
Dorothy Day has been shut down since last March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and temporary accommodations have been set up at the Super 8 Motel on Lake Avenue Extension in Danbury. Now there's talk about turning the Super 8 into a permanent shelter.
Joe Simons who's a volunteer with Dorothy Day commented to newstimes.com about the current status of the shelter and if there will be an upcoming appeal on the recent ruling.
I'm disappointed in the decision, but we've not decided whether to appeal because the shelter may not be necessary in the long term. The whole environment has changed a lot with the onset of COVID and the opening of the new facility at the Super 8 Motel, which is currently serving the needs of all the homeless people in Danbury.
Danbury Mayor Joe Cavo's concern is just helping the homeless people in Danbury, and looks to Pacific House, a non profit based in Stamford to hopefully get things going in the right direction.
That’s the goal—to help transition people into a more sustainable lifestyle. The city shelter and Dorothy Day and the other shelters, although all wonderfully intentioned and all doing good, honorable work, didn’t have the ability to offer those services this Pacific House model does that. Pacific House has been running the shelter in recent months and providing job, counseling, addiction and other services.
Right now Pacific House state and city officials are trying to work out a deal to make the motel the permanent shelter in Danbury, stay tuned.