As I sit on my bed counting my blessings for the potential snowstorm coming cancel my classes, there are thousands of people across Connecticut who are more concerned about where they will stay and how they will keep warm for the storm.
This past Tuesday, the class took a trip to the Columbus House in New Haven to see what a typical homeless shelter had to offer.
I am embarrassed to say I was nervous about the trip; it was an unfamiliar place and I did not know what to expect. I just had to remind myself that the people staying in these facilities are humans, just like me. As the trip progressed, I felt more at ease and was determined to learn about the efforts of the Columbus House.
As of January 2016, the USICH said that Connecticut has nearly 4,000 homeless people living in the streets. Many people are not homeless for a long time. Some stay as little as one month due to getting into a rough patch; they might have gone through a divorce, or might have lost their home. Over 60 percent of people who are chronically homeless have a history with drug abuse. Columbus House offers rehab classes and similar resources during their stay.
It was a relief to know that the house rarely has to turn people away. The house also owns a facility next door for more beds, in addition to the cots they have stored. Warming centers are also available for those who want to get warm as they come and go but do not want to check-in into a homeless shelter.
I do not regret visiting the Columbus House and I am willing to become more aware of homelessness in Connecticut, as well as find a way to volunteer my time at a shelter.
By Leah Myers