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CTLN Opinion+: Barbara Shaw

Executive Director of Hands on Hartford on changing the perception about the homeless population

Homelessness, displacement can occur to anyone, at any point. We often forget they are individual persons with struggles. Hands on Hartford is a social nonprofit organization that serves the homeless population.

In this week’s episode of CTLN Opinion+, we discussed the needs of the homeless community with Barbara A. Shaw, the executive director of Hands on Hartford. 

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in Connecticut, over 3,900 people are homeless on a given night. 34% of the homeless population in the state identifies as Hispanic-Latino. 

The 2020 annual Homelessness Assessment Report showed 580,466 people were counted as homeless. This is a 2.2-percent increase and the fourth consecutive increase of displaced people across the country. It is a shame that we cannot end homelessness and temporary displacement in a country with so much. 

The same report showed a 15-percent increase among those experiencing chronic homelessness, a single individual with a disabling condition who experienced homelessness for more than a year. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, this marker suggests rising needs and vulnerabilities in the community. 

Hands on Hartford provides direct relief to the homeless population of Hartford with meals, a community pantry, assistance with housing and medical care. At their center in Parkville, they provide affordable housing support and health screenings.  

One of their educational and impactful programs is the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau, made up of those who have experienced and continue to experience homelessness. The purpose is to educate and change the perception around the homeless population. They are real people who need compassion, recognition, and understanding. 

When asked about a solution to homelessness in our country, Shaw said it was two-fold, requiring compassion and sufficient resources, like affordable housing. 

Organizations like Hands on Hartford are vital to addressing the needs of the homeless population. While they help thousands of people every month, it is crucial to advocate for change to find a permanent solution to homelessness. No one should ever experience displacement. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

For more information about Hands on Hartford, visit their website

For housing assistance, security deposits, rental assistance, utility assistance:

Phone: 860-246-6757

To access shelter or housing:

Sign up for our food pantry: call 860-246-6757

Follow Hands on Hartford social media

 LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

To volunteer

To hear from those who experience homelessness,

Faces of Homelessness Presentations:

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