Monday, April 20, 2009

Homeless In New Milford

I’m not going to attempt to address the complex social issues. Simply, I’m tired of hearing how little the Town does so I am going to list the services that are available in New Milford. I believe that Homelessness is a problem of prevention; the Town should and must support programs that help people stay in their homes and help them keep their jobs.

Be mindful, though, that I have a problem with people who come to New Milford – and they do – just to take advantage of those services. A kind of, “build it and they will come” problem. I believe that the services that are supported by New Milford taxpayers should be for people who are from New Milford, not carpetbaggers. Sorry.

1) Social Services offers a food pantry, heat and electrical assistance, temporary housing, counseling services and more.

2) A culinary program “for unemployed and underemployed adults looking to work in the food service industry”

3) The Senior Center has great programs including a bus for medical and other appointments, lunch programs, meals on wheels

4) The Town supports the VNA

5) The Town supports the Childrens’ Center

6) Loaves and Fishes uses Town space; taxpayers pay its utilities, maintenance and for its additional police calls

7) The HART bus

8) The Health Department will help with temporary shelter if, for example, a tenant is without hot water or heat in the winter

9) The Youth Agency’s fees for its latchkey program are on a sliding scale and it offers free counseling services

I’m sure that I have missed some.

The best proof of the existence of these services is that the people who come to New Milford for shelter wouldn’t come here if it didn’t offer them. We ought to have a good look at where they come from and how they got here. Finally, I note with some amazement that the New Milford Homeless Shelter Coalition offers driving directions to the Green!

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