Community Fights to Save Hartford Shelter

Those who rely on Hartford's Salvation Army Marshall House fought for the shelter at a city council meeting Monday night, imploring officials to find the funds that were dropped from next year's budget.

Over the past few years, the city of Hartford has helped to prop up the shelter, which is not city owned or operated. But the budget approved for 2014-2015 cut the $100,000 that was initially proposed.

Shelter officials say this is news to them, so they – and many who depend on their services – came out to the city council public hearing to speak up.

"The shelter means a lot to me, because if it wasn't for them, I would have nowhere else to go," said Tieara Latimer, who is seven months pregnant and is being turned away from other shelters as her due date draws near.

Lynn Naughton, director of operations for hte Salvation Army Marshall House, said it's the only shelter in Hartford that "deals with single men with their children."

"We keep families intact," she explained.

Without financial assistance from the city, the shelter will only be able to support about half the families who stay there, and will need to cut programs that help homeless adults get back on their feet.

"The cost is not high, but the benefit is huge," said Hartford City Councilmember Larry Deutsch, who said he, too, just learned of the issue, despite having approved next year's budget alongside his fellow councilmembers.

"It could be that we should have known and it got past us, and we have to admit that," Deutsch explained.

Hartford officials said the issue could come up again in the next fiscal year. The city council and other city lawmakers will have to work together if they plan to make a change.

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