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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

CT takes action to keep homeless people safe in winter

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024   

Connecticut organizations are working to protect homeless people from winter's biting chill.

This time of year poses severe health challenges for homeless people like fatal cases of hypothermia and frostbite. Warming shelters have been established for those who need them, though it can sometimes result in the spread of illnesses like the flu or COVID-19.

Sarah Fox, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, said allocating annualized funding is a good start to improving this system.

"It's $5 million annually to ensure that our community providers have the resources to set up warming centers, but to keep people safe during the winter," Fox outlined. "Winter comes every year and yet, we do not have annualized resources. In fact, looking at next winter, there are no resources in sight."

Fox would like to see the General Assembly allocate money for shelter operations, staffing, and other cold weather needs. Homelessness has been on the rise in Connecticut. Between 2021 and 2022, the annual Point in Time report tracked a 13% increase in homelessness on a single January night, while 2023's report saw an additional 3% increase.

Recent snowstorms have blanketed states to a point where some shelters and food banks were unable to open.

Cindy Manginelli, director of community engagement at the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, said malnutrition and dehydration complicate cold weather's effects. She pointed out there are many ways states can help people who are at risk of becoming homeless.

"In the communities where people who are homeless are often arrested if they're, you know, in public spaces; putting a moratorium on that can be really helpful," Manginelli suggested. "Putting a moratorium on shutting off utilities can be really helpful for people who are unstably housed so that they don't lose power."

In 2023, Connecticut's General Assembly considered a bill establishing a winter eviction moratorium, making it illegal to evict anyone from December through March but the bill failed to come to a vote.


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