We all know it's better to teach a man to fish than to give a man a fish, but sometimes that's easier said than done, when the need is urgent. All of us who support social service programs can feel like we’ll never have time to turn attention from immediate problems so we can work to create long-term solutions.
I got involved with Columbus House because the people here have figured out how to do both. Every day, our devoted volunteers and our highly-skilled staff welcome people consumed by an urgent crisis. Our guests show up with no place else to sleep, they are hungry, and many of them have serious health issues. But our volunteers and staff are able to help with that immediate need and work on long-terms solutions.
People call our main building the shelter, but secretly we know it’s a facility for transitioning out of homelessness. It’s an entry point into a network of services that has gotten very good at taking people in crisis and getting them into housing. Every day, we help people move into homes of their own where they can restart independent lives.
I’m passionate about Columbus House, because they behave every day as if it’s possible to give a man a fish and to teach a man to fish. They make me believe that it’s possible to end homelessness in Connecticut. If you’re interested in learning more, please be in touch with me or one of my board colleagues. We love giving tours. But be forewarned — a tour can take awhile, because the shelter is just the start of what we do.