HARTFORD— Temporary housing for formerly homeless people in Hartford is getting some serious new curb appeal.
Lincoln Financial Group, KNOX, Inc. and Mercy Housing & Shelter teamed up Wednesday to improve the look and livability of a home for formally homeless residents receiving supportive services to regain their independence.
Sixteen Lincoln Financial volunteers planted and prune shrubs, mulch flower borders and create a vegetable garden for Mercy Housing & Shelter clients to use for everyday cooking ingredients at its Wethersfield Avenue facility, consisting of 9 units and referred to as supportive housing services.
“It changes the outlooks on folks and that’s one of things we’re trying to do. If someone is in living with pain and suffering of homelessness, they want to come to a place where they feel good about themselves and go to where their home is,” said Dave Martineau, director of programs for Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation.
Knox is providing guidance, expertise, and planting materials for the garden. The organization helps to create healthy neighborhoods in the city of Hartford.
“We love to do that with homeless people, because it gives them their own sense of pride to grow their own food,” said Ron Pitz, C.E.O of Knox, Inc.
The organizations help the work will help at least a small number of people return to a steady lifestyle.
Across the state, emergency shelters have been operating at or near maximum capacity for the past few years.
The latest figures show the City of Hartford with the largest percentage of homeless population of any Connecticut city.
“There’s never enough housing— there’s never enough slots for people. There are people today that are living under bridges, in abandoned buildings, and our job is to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Martineau.
Since 2009, Hartford has seen a more substantial decrease in the need for shelters and transitional housing than other region in the state.