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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

Southington

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