The winter is a particularly busy time of year here at Journey Home. Between the ongoing work of all our provider agencies and the harsh weather conditions, each year Greater Hartford strives to identify safe overflow spaces to ensure nobody is left outdoors during the coldest months.

This year we were lucky to see great leadership from The Salvation Army in Hartford as they stepped up to provide emergency services through the coldest months of the year. Beginning on November 1st, Salvation Army Marshall House, one of our local year-round shelters, began operating an overflow space that serves individual women and families. This overflow shelter provides a safe temporary space for individual women and families with children, and each day the overflow staff work to find longer-term shelter options for families. This process involves daily collaboration and problem solving between the YWCA shelter, South Park Inn, East Hartford Family Shelter, and Salvation Army’s Marshall House.

In addition to this option for individual women and families, the Salvation Army has also partnered with the City of Hartford to provide an overnight warming center, hosted at Willie Ware Recreational Center. This Warming Center, open from December 7th until March 31st will be open nightly from 7:30PM until 7:00AM, and will provide coffee and snacks for folks who are seeking a warm temporary space. This location will also partner with all the shelters serving individuals in the Greater Hartford area to find longer term accommodations, and a safe place to sleep. This overnight warming center will also provide case management services on site.

Those two overflow resources will be a great boost, but in addition, Salvation Army has partnered with Center Church and Hands On Hartford to provide an additional essential service this winter. Between the hours of 4-7PM each night, Salvation Army will host a Triage Center. This drop-in location will provide an additional location where people can come to stay warm, and will also provide a hot meal each night. While keeping warm and waiting for the Warming Center to officially open, staff will complete intakes and work diligently to refer households to any openings in the year-round shelter beds. Having a safe place to stay warm, have a meal, and explore locations to stay safe for the night is a wonderful resource in our community, and one we are lucky to have again this year.

Providing a safe space during the winter months for our most vulnerable households is not an easy job, and it takes help from everyone in our community. Through the leadership of Salvation Army, partnership from Center Church, Hands On Hartford, and the City of Hartford, and diligent planning and brainstorming from our local shelter providers, we hope that this winter will be smooth, and we will be able to find safe shelter for everyone in our community.