Catholic Charities connects the homeless to valuable resources


Catholic Charities of Fairfield County is a one-stop shop for homeless people seeking services in the Danbury area.
Awilda Perez is an outreach worker for Catholic Charities homeless outreach services. She has been working the program for 11 years.

awilda-perezThe program provides outreach and engagement for individuals who are homeless. Most of Perez’s clients have some type of disabling condition.

Perez helps clients to access services in the community such as food stamps, Obama phone, employment, healthcare, transportation to medical appointments, applying for benefits such as SSI or SSCI, and housing applications.

Homeless outreach helps the chronically homeless to address barriers to housing such as mental illness, substance abuse or physical disabilities.

The program intakes 150-200 clients per year. Perez usually works with clients for six to eight months.

“I think it’s a great program. I think we have been a lot of help to many clients,” said Perez.

jamellefarmerJamelle Farmer is a housing case manager for the Connecticut Collaborative on Reentry (CCR), a program that provides housing vouchers to those who are diagnosed with mental illness, served multiple incarcerations, and are chronically homeless.

The intake for the program entails a long assessment process that takes about two hours. Applicants must provide extensive background information, and work with their case managers to develop a service plan with goals that must be achieved to better their situation.

Applicants are referred to CCR through the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Housing Authority. Sex offenders are not permitted entry into the program.

Farmer has housed four people since the program was established in March of this year. Since the vouchers never expire, Farmer works with his clients for the rest of their lives or until they choose to leave the program.

If applicants are incarcerated for longer than 89 days while they are in the program, they may have their vouchers revoked.

“I love the program, and I think it’s really good. Especially with me being the case manager. I am very goal driven in trying to rehabilitate the people, and help them move past everything,” said Farmer.

“It’s a gift, it’s something I always had. Since I was younger I always wanted to help people so I do a lot of volunteer work in the community.”

sierrapepi.jpgSierra Pepi is the Program Coordinator for the Morning Glory Breakfast program and the Morning Glory Marketplace.

The Morning Glory Breakfast program delivers a hot meal seven days a week to the homeless and financially disadvantaged in Danbury.

The meals are held at the Dorothy Day Hospitality House from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Morning Glory tries to provide a healthy meal so they usually provide eggs, pancakes and foods with low fat or sugar.

The Morning Glory Marketplace is a non-food pantry, which offers cleaning supplies and hygiene products to those who are housed but are in need of assistance. The marketplace is held on the first and third Friday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the New Heights facility on West Street.

Supplies from the pantry as well as the food from the soup kitchen are donated. Pepi talks to schools, youth groups, and churches all year round to try to get people to donate to the program.

“We’re open to everybody, and that’s pretty much it. Everybody is welcome to come,” said Pepi.

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