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Warming center preparing for influx of people as freezing temperatures hit Connecticut

Connecticut Harm Reduction Alliance are also on the ground making sure people in need get to these shelters by giving them rides.

HARTFORD, Conn. — As the dangerous cold drops in, warming centers across Connecticut are opening for those in need. A warm place to sleep is what many people may be asking for this holiday season as temperatures stop well below freezing.

“I normally get here early so I know for sure that I get a bed,” said one man who will be staying at a warming center, “My plans are to stay here tonight and tomorrow and Sunday.” 

He’s staying at one of the warming shelters opening across Hartford, 110 Washington Street. 

This facility has 45 beds available. This man along with others waited hours before they opened. 

“I’ve been here since one o’clock,” he said. 

There are more shelters open across the city, including the Salvation Army.

“Our focus is women with minor children and individual youths. So that’s 18 to 24 looking for a place to stay,” said Major Michael Laro. 

If you see vans with orange flags waving from them, it’s Connecticut Harm Reduction Alliance. They are on the ground making sure people in need get to these shelters.

“If you see that vehicle around town with the flags, you can wave it down and it will pull right over and not just the access to the shelter. Which all of that will be the focal point of the warming center on Washington Street at 110 Washington Street. From there if there is not any space there then they’ll make referrals to other shelters,” said Mark Jenkins with Connecticut Harm Reduction Alliance. 

Shelters like “The Open Hearth” which is an all-men's shelter.

“With cold temperatures, we obviously want to keep our men inside. Try to keep them as warm as possible and work with the other warming shelters to see if we can potentially help in any kind of way,” said Jessica Devio. 

A day center, the Arroyo Rec Center at Pope Park in Hartford will also be open throughout the weekend. 

The Mansfield Community Center will also be open as a day center for residents to keep warm. It's open on Saturday until 4 p.m.

In Simsbury, the local police department shared a list of local churches that are open Saturday as daytime warming centers:

  • Trinity Church, 11 Church Street; opens at noon 
  • Simsbury United Methodist, 799 Hopmeadow Street
  • Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, 7 Westcott Rd 
  • Covenant Presbyterian Church, 124 Old Farms Rd; opens at noon
  • St Mary's Church, 942 Hopmeadow Street
  • St Albans Episcopal Church, 197 Bushy Hill Rd; opens at 1:30 p.m.

For a full list of warming centers, visit 211's interactive database.

DeAndria Turner is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. She can be reached at dturner@fox61.com. 

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