The Stamford-based Pacific House Emergency Homeless Shelter held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday to celebrate its recent renovation. Pacific House provides the only regional shelter for men and young adult men in lower Fairfield County serving the four-town area of Stamford, Darien, Greenwich and New Canaan.
The organization, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, used time wisely during the pandemic. While the shelter was vacated during COVID19 in order to protect this vulnerable population, Pacific House sped up construction on the renovation, which was made possible through a $735,796 grant from the Connecticut Department of Housing. Additional funding was provided through Community Development Block Grants from the Town of Greenwich and the City of Stamford.
“What would we do without their help,” said CT Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno about Pacific House. “They are a great partner to the Department of Housing and we wanted to support this shelter and wanted to make sure that people, although in tough times, had a decent, safe place to stay.”
The redesigned shelter includes safety improvements to follow COVID-19 protocols, such as having all beds separated by at least 6 feet, partitions erected in restrooms and a reduced capacity of 40 beds. New furniture was purchased, Wi-Fi was put in throughout the building, restrooms were updated, fire safety upgrades were put in place, and expanded storage space was provided in the kitchen.
“Making sure that the environment is nice, that we have a clean, brightly lit shelter, is conducive to making people feel good about themselves and more inspired to make positive changes,” said Rob Lockhart, Pacific House Director of Program Services.
“I want to thank Pacific House because they treat the homeless like they’re human,” said State Representative Patricia Billie Miller. “I want to thank everyone on the Pacific House team, because if you didn’t do what you do, especially during this pandemic, I don’t know what would have happened to a lot of our families.”
As the shelter reopens later this month, a health screening will take place for all residents prior to entry. Older shelter residents and those with medical risk factors will be separated from the rest of the shelter population. Meals will be served in pre-packaged containers and dorms will be kept open longer to maintain social distancing. Twice a day, at a minimum, the shelter will be completely sanitized.
In addition to the emergency shelter, Pacific House owns and operates 14 supportive housing properties, providing deeply affordable housing space for 125 formerly homeless individuals to live in our region.
The organization will be hosting a free, virtual gala on October 16 to celebrate its 35th anniversary and the vital role it has played in helping to end homelessness in Fairfield County. Every dollar raised will support Pacific House. To learn more or register for the event, visit www.PacificHouse.org/gala and sponsorships are still available.