CT homeless shelters ready for busy weekend - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT homeless shelters ready for busy weekend

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Emergency Shelter Management Services is preparing for the cold weekend. (WFSB) Emergency Shelter Management Services is preparing for the cold weekend. (WFSB)

As people continue to dig out from the snow, those working with New Haven's homeless shelters are concerned about cold temperatures. 

With the wind blowing outside across New Haven's Green, many were ducking into the public library and not necessarily looking to check out books, but to escape the bitter cold.

"It’s comforting and I thank God that the library is here because I'm warming up in here,” Abby Adkins said.

However, Abby Adkins was not alone at the New Haven Library.

"Definitely when it gets this cold we do see an uptick in folks that come in,” New Haven City Librarian Martha Brogan said. “But really year round we are kind of a safe refuge for people around town."

While the library serves as a warming center, New Haven's homeless shelters are also gearing up for a busy weekend.

"We can't force them to stay in,” Arnold Johnson, who is the executive director for Emergency Shelter Management Services said. “But they do have the option to stay in."

The Emergency Shelter Management Services on Grand Avenue is a 75-bed shelter.

As part of the city's severe cold weather protocol, the shelters are staying open around the clock. Typically they'd close in the morning, before they open back up in the afternoon or early evening.

New Haven police officers will also be keeping their eyes peeled for those outside on Friday.

"Knowing people who are out there, people who are homeless, the rapport they have with individual officers,” New Haven Police Officer David Hartman said. “Sometimes is that tipping point, the ability to persuade someone to seek shelter."

The goal is to make sure everyone has a safe place to go.

"When it gets like this we try to extend it up to 85 or 90 we do have cots that we can pull out,” Johnson said. "If we get to the point where we can't take anymore, we'll call the warming center or the overflow to see what they have, so all the different shelters work together to make sure no one freezes outside."

The city's emergency shelter is also open on Columbus Boulevard. Channel 3 has learned there are plans for an additional shelter to open up later this winter as well, which will definitely help in situations like this.

To see closings and delays, head to Channel 3's closings and delays webpage here.

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