The Danbury Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded a $69,132 emergency shelter grant from the state Department of Housing. The funds will be used to offset costs associated with operating the shelter on New Street through June 30, 2019. According to a statement about the grant submitted to the City Council, the money will be used until Catholic Charities takes over operations.
The City partnered with the United Way in March to find a sub-contractor to manage the programs at the City Shelter. The Health Department, Finance, Corporation Counsel, and Mayor's office have been working with the United Way and Catholic Charities to solidify dates, performance measures, as well details of the contract. Health Director Lisa Morrissey says the process was very similar to the other grants that the United Way issues on behalf of the city, and proposals were reviewed by independent grant reviewers selected by United Way.
Mayor Mark Boughton noted that tentative negotiations are not yet complete. He says the City would not be locked in if another operator comes in that could provide services for less.
In December 2016, Boughton proposed merging the City run homeless shelter and the one at Dorothy Day Hospitality House. The food service would be operated by Dorothy Day volunteers, and the shelter would be managed by city staff. Each shelter currently has 20 beds. His proposal is for a 40 bed facility, with a commercial kitchen, cafeteria, and a counseling center. A new location for the merged shelter was not identified.
Dorothy Day operators are currently in a legal battle with the City. In 2015, officials discovered that a zoning permit expired in 1985 and was never renewed.