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State Senator

Saud Anwar

Representing East Hartford, Ellington, East Windsor and South Windsor

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Senator Anwar, Hartford Bags of Love Host ‘Sleep Out’ to Raise Funds, Awareness of Local, Regional Homelessness Saturday

SOUTH WINDSOR - State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), Senate Chair of the Housing Committee, and local homelessness support charity Hartford Bags of Love will host a “Sleep Out” event in South Windsor’s Nevers Road Park Saturday. This event, which asks attendees to leave the warmth of their homes and sleep outside overnight, is meant to raise awareness of the plight faced by homeless individuals in our community and show the difficulties faced by far too many individuals today. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal will attend a public discussion of homelessness at the start of the event.

The event will take place beginning at 6 p.m. at Nevers Park, located on Chief Ryan Way in South Windsor. It will begin with a discussion on homelessness featuring community members who work to help homeless individuals and community members who have experienced homelessness. Attendees are encouraged to stay after the discussion ends to spend the night outdoors, sleeping in the park to experience what it’s like for those struggling with lack of stable housing.

“No one chooses to be homeless on their own,” said Sen. Anwar. “It is sometimes caused by individual challenges, and sometimes caused by the collective challenges of our community and society. In my interactions with a number of homeless individuals in our community, I was surprised to learn about three-quarters of our regional homeless population are not from Hartford but from regional suburban towns. This is a regional problem, not one limited to one city. It is important we all unite around this and be a voice to help individuals at the brink of being homeless and help those who are homeless to return to safe environments, allowing them to be useful, effective citizens in our society.”

“While we have been successful, in the state of Connecticut, to address the challenge of homelessness in our veterans and in other at-risk groups, our job is far from over,” said Sen. Anwar. “We need to keep this on our priority list, strengthen our existing systems and invest in our strengths to achieve stronger results.”

Sen. Anwar is co-hosting the event with Hartford Bags of Love, a nonprofit charity started by 11-year-old Tiernan Cabot. After volunteering to help the homeless on Christmas Day 2016, Cabot started the charity as a way to help those less fortunate. Hartford Bags of Love collects hygiene and cleaning products, clean clothes and food, placing them in “bags of love” and distributing them to people without consistent housing. One of the biggest roadblocks for homeless individuals is clean clothing and the ability to prepare for job interviews – Cabot began the charity to help them find employment and overcome the struggles they face.

According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, as of January 2018, roughly 4,000 citizens across the state experienced homelessness on any given day, including more than 500 family households, nearly 200 veterans and 187 unaccompanied young adults. In June 2019, that number was reported to have dropped to 3,033 people, the lowest rate seen in the state since figures began being collected in 2007, according to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. Work must continue to ensure the numbers keep dropping.

Factors that can contribute to homelessness can include unemployment, medical issues including chronic illness, mental illness or addiction, or social issues, including domestic violence. 23 percent of 2,000 homeless individuals told the CCEH they became homeless fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, while 18 percent reported severe mental illness and 8 percent reported drug or alcohol dependency.

 

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