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Danbury considering future of homeless services

The future of homeless services in Danbury remains in the balance with Governor Lamont's pandemic powers set to expire February 15th.  They could be extended another 30 to 60 days as the General Assembly reconvenes and decides whether or not to codify 11 remaining executive orders into law.  One part of the pandemic response was to provide funding so that homeless shelters and congregate settings could operate with room for distancing. 

When the pandemic hit, Danbury's shelter and several others operated by nonprofits, closed and the homeless population was housed at the former Super 8 motel.  Since then, the Stamford-based nonprofit Pacific House took over operations from the City and bought the building, using $4.63 million in federal money. 

But that was before Land Use agencies weighed in and ultimately rejected a shelter at 3 Lake Avenue Ext.  Pacific House has appealed the Zoning Commission’s decision, forcing the City to defend the rejection despite Danbury leaders supporting the proposal. 

The nonprofit's attorney said in the appear that the city “has no legal, open shelter for homeless individuals, and no plan for any such facility.”  Mayor Dean Esposito says he and Health Director Kara Prunty had a productive meeting Wednesday with the state Housing Commissioner. 

Danbury is forming a task force to determine how to move forward.

As of January 25th, there were 65 people staying at the shelter.