So, where exactly are the homeless supposed to go this winter?
In a classic NIMBY move, area business owners and residents are crying over the city's plans to open a no freeze shelter for men at Center Church in the heart of Hartford's downtownThink of how a shelter in that location will impact economic development and businesses, they whined.
It "speaks volumes about the city's disregard for the welfare of its voters, taxpayers, visitors, and children," one especially hysterical resident wrote city leaders.
Funny, I never heard anyone consider any of that when the no freeze shelter was located at the Salvation Army on Washington Street -- near other voters, taxpayers and children.
(Men waiting outside Immaculate Conception Shelter in October. Ubinas photo)
And while the downtown crowd may choose to ignore the homeless already among them, here's a reality check: The proposed location for the overflow shelter is less than a mile from the South Green neighborhood, which has long been ground zero for many of the city's social service agencies, homeless shelters and food pantries.
Look, people's apprehension is understandable - a lot of time and money has gone into building up the city's downtown. I suppose they'd argue that it's best to hide the city's dirty little secrets in hopes of getting visitors to come and spend their time and money here.
But here's the bottom line, people's lives are on the line. Never was that more clear then when just last month homeless men were climbing over one another outside the Immaculate Conception Shelter to secure get a permanent bed for the winter.
We don't want to die, the men told me.
Doesn't seem like a lot to ask.
Neither is offering temporary shelter to some of the city's neediest.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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