By Joan Artis
Dear New Britain Housing Authority,
For several months, close friends of mine have gone to you to try to get housing. They have told me how hard it is to deal with you. They complain you do not return phone calls and don’t process paper work in a timely manner. Client case managers seem to also have difficulty getting results from you. Return calls are few and far between. I have also heard that clients have received eviction notices after living in their apartments for 2-3 months because of slow information.
I only hear one side of the story and I don’t know your side. I don’t expect you to respond but I will ask you to please understand these peoples’ situations. In order to eliminate homelessness we need everyone involved to make an effort to make sure paperwork is processed and calls are returned.
This letter is meant to make you aware of how you are viewed by the people who need your help and who you are supposed to be helping. I have a suggestion that might help. What if you use the first 30 minutes of each morning listening to your phone messages, and the next 30 minutes returning phone calls? It seems like a reasonable solution. I feel there may be several such changes that could be used to avoid evictions and frustration.
Thank you for listening.
By Linda Prout
My name is Linda and I have lived through the agony of watching a loved one experience homelessness in Hartford. Actually, it has been much more than watching… it has been hurting, fearing, praying, loving, crying, wondering and worrying, worrying, and more worrying.
That is what I felt as the mother. I can only imagine what it felt like to be the one on the street. I guess that is why I now find myself wanting to do what I can to address the homeless situation.
By Nathan Fox
That’s right. My cousin Craig, 45, is currently homeless. But who am I, and why am I telling you this?
My name is Nathan Fox, and I’m passionate about fighting the social phenomena we call homelessness, both locally, and as a larger-scale societal issue. Currently I work at the Partnership for Strong Communities, a Hartford-based advocacy group that promotes solutions to homelessness and the development of affordable housing. Simply put, my life revolves around contemplating homelessness and its multiple, often misunderstood causes.
For our purposes today, what I do isn’t all that important - I tell you for context - but my cousin Craig is important, seeing that he doesn’t have a place to call home each night. There are a lot of people out there similar to Craig, who often can’t meet the demands and rigors of the “everyday struggle.”
By Joan Artis
Because our economy is so bad, it is causing more and more people to become homeless. This is America and we should be helping our own people, not all the other countries. There are many types of people who are homeless. You have people with drug problems, criminal records, disabled people, de-pressed people, and people losing their jobs. And then you have people who lost their desire to move forward. These people have lost faith in the system and in their fellow man, and in themselves. So how would you go about helping them? That is a question that has plagued me for a long time.
These people are the hardest people to reach. They are the people who live under bridges, in the woods, on the streets and in shelters. I want to help them get back their self respect and help them move forward in some ways. Maybe of they saw that the American people were helping more people in America they might think about moving forward. Maybe with more positive thinking, they can help themselves turn around. Well I believe in them and I know they can get their self respect back. But all I can offer right now is a saying I read in a book which has helped me every day.
Happiness will elude you
Until you convince yourself
You deserve it.
Everyone deserves happiness; please believe in yourself, so life will be a little better.
Try to come and see what we trying to do for the homeless population. We are not the system, we are like you. We have lived or are living in shelters, so we know what you might be feeling. Just take a walk down to 21 Charter Oak Ave, Hartford, CT 06106 and join the Beat of the Street advocates every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:30PM.
Maybe you can collect some of our newsletters to then sell on the street – the $1 you earn for selling Beat of the Street is yours to keep.
There is a wooden house painted yellow and green on Main Street in Hartford. It is the Butler-McCook House. It has been a museum for some time now. I have often walked by the house thinking I should tour it. It turns out this Hartford minister was keenly interested in homelessness. The museum holds a whole collection of this work called the “Social Reform Papers”.
McCook became interested in homelessness when he attended a town meeting in October 1890 and found that too much was being spent on “outdoor alms.” They lowered the amount spent on “outdoor alms” and then called a committee to examine the system of alms. McCook and his committee members exam-ined programs of distributing money to the homeless in 38 cities around the world and 300 industrial cases in the US. McCook was charged with membership of the committee to change state laws that would solve issues with vagrants, chronic criminals, and other de-pendents.
He created forms to fill out for each homeless person he came by. His records are extensive. Also included in his records are documents indicating that alcoholism was almost universal among homeless men. He also kept correspondence between him and a vaga-bond named William Aspinwall. He also found that votes were sometimes purchased from homeless men in exchange for beer or money.
He created forms to fill out for each homeless per-son he came by. His records are extensive. Also in-cluded in his records are documents indicating that alcoholism was almost universal among homeless men. He also kept correspondence between him and a vagabond named William Aspinwall. He also found that votes were sometimes purchased from home-less men in exchange for beer or money. Many of the same struggles found in the homeless community at the beginning of the last century are still problems today. The McCook collection is worth checking out. It is housed at 396 Main Street in Hartford. The museum hours are:
April: Saturday & Sunday 11 am – 4 pm
May – September: Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11 am – 4 pm