‘Simply Sharing’ fills gap for Connecticut families moving from shelters into homes

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ESSEX - When a family is ready to move out of a shelter or temporary housing — after surviving a crisis such as domestic abuse — it can often find a new home through a state placement agency.

"That's great but if you don't have a bed to sleep on, a chair to sit on, a table to eat at, it's really demeaning," said Alison Brinkmann of Essex. "Most people coming out of a shelter have absolutely nothing."

That's where Simply Sharing comes in. Founded by Brinkmann in 2013, the organization collects furniture items and delivers them to the new home. Brinkmann and her volunteers follow the clients' specifications — providing them with items they want and need — such as superhero bedding for a child's room. It's an effort to help others in an organic way, making a house a home.

"It's really the basics," said Brinkmann, strolling through an Essex warehouse filled with couches, chairs, tables and bureaus. She laughs as she calls it "controlled chaos" but, really, the furniture and lamps are organized in precise fashion.

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