Homelessness in Southington

I have lived in Southington, CT for the past 50 years and for the first time I am truly ashamed to say that I live here.  Recently I found out that Southington has a population of about 15 homeless people living in tents in a wooded section of the town.  Yes, it is a secret that should not be.   I am shocked, mortified and even more so, unable to comprehend how we as a town allow this to happen.  Upon further investigation, I found out that if these people want shelter from our recent 0 degrees (the coldest temperatures in two decades) they can be bused to either New Britain or Meriden, CT where they do have shelters, but the kicker is, there is no return bus for them to get back to their tents or sole belongings.  How in the world can we as a Christian town allow this to happen?  I asked a few local churches about having a few cots for those willing to come in out of the cold and was told; “Oh, we can’t have a shelter here, we need to have showers and someone to stay with them throughout the night, and one even complained about the cost of the oil”.  Well, first of all, we sit for hours and watch our children play all their outside sports games and we watch TV for hours at a time, I am sure that we can find a few people in this town to take a few shifts and make coffee and keep them company?  And second, we also need showers in these shelters – come on Southington, when did we get so politically correct in the care of others – we have human beings outside in 0 degree temperatures and we are fussing about showers for them?  I personally know four churches that have halls, kitchens, open areas where even ten cots could be placed, where bathrooms are available – just not showers.  I have always thought that we were a nation built on Christian values, a belief system in helping others less fortunate than ourselves, the “Pass It Forward” generation, when did we get to the point where we look the other way?  This could happen to any one of us through circumstances not of our own calling.   I was told that there was a “Clergy Advisory Committee” attended by some of the local churches in town looking into this problem / situation, that’s all well and good – but for how long, what will come of it and is every Church in town involved and looking for an outcome? Buck up Southington; let’s get our homeless citizens of our town into some heated rooms, warm blankets, hot coffee and the feeling that we actually give a damn about them and not look the other way.

Annie Gray


Karoline Barrett January 10, 2014 at 06:30 PM
Stephen Colbert said it very well - If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it.”
Anne-Marie Gray January 11, 2014 at 01:50 AM
I know Karoline - but why - why have we strayed so far from our original roots to help the needy - what have we become ?
Laura Deane January 11, 2014 at 03:05 PM
It's pretty rude to repeatedly refer to Southington as a 'Christian town.' Unfortunately many homeless people are encumbered with mental illness; it's not as easy [or safe] to say a common person without any clinical education with such personalities should "volunteer" to sit overnight with the homeless and bring them coffee. What we perhaps should do is meet all 15, hear their story, and see if we can help in some way get them back on their feet. This doesnt solely require a Christian.
Karoline Barrett January 11, 2014 at 07:29 PM
Good question, Anne-Marie. I think we get comfortable, too wrapped up in our own lives. I don't think technology is always a big help. People are more self absorbed, more selfish, ruder, self-centered, etc. than when I was young and we didn't have computers, cell phones, Facebook, 135 channels. Now everyone is in a hurry, etc. But being homeless could happen to any of us. I agree, we should reach out to these people. I have to disagree with Laura, calling a town Christian is not rude at all. Christians are commanded to look after the poor, the suffering, the destitute. If we reach out, God will use us. I still don't know what the answer is, Anne-Marie, but your post should give us all a lot to think about and maybe come up with a solution.
Anne-Marie Gray January 12, 2014 at 05:07 AM
Laura - I am sorry but I am laughing at your response. Christian town, well since I wrote this and I am a Christian, well, to me this is a Christian town - I was referring to what I was taught that "we are all our brothers keepers". Weather you want to call this a Born Again, Atheist, Muslim, Jewish, town, then so be it. I have meet six of the homeless people and none of them have any mental illness, it was due to life's circumstances that lead them to where they are. And so far I have had three nurses call and say that they would be more than willing to sit overnight if needed at a temporary shelter for the winter. And by the time that you personally sit with all fifteen of the homeless and find out their needs, the winter would be over and maybe someone would have died from the cold. All the above editorial asked for was some temporary emergency housing from the town of Southington for the winter. And if not a "Christian", then anyone who is interested in helping, please do so.
Anne-Marie Gray January 12, 2014 at 05:10 AM
Karoline- Thank you for your response - you hit the nail on the head...calling the towns people to think and maybe come up with a solution for those less fortunate than ourselves.


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