People who live in Danbury around the Super 8 Motel on Lake Avenue are up and arms about the former motel being converted into a homeless shelter.

The plan to turn the Super 8 Motel in Danbury into a full time homeless shelter has been in the works for a while, and on Tuesday night, neighbors and proponents faced off in a public hearing that went well into early Wednesday morning.

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So far, more than 800 people have put their names on a petition against the proposal for the motel. There have also been around 60 opposition letters submitted to the commission as well.

Those who live around the motel are claiming the elicit activities like drug activity, prostitution, and criminal acts have increased since the motel converted into a homeless shelter at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour denies these claims of increased crime in the area saying police found no uptick in the area as a result of the shelter.

We spoke to Danbury Mayor Joe Cavo about the situation that's been unfolding since the announcement was made about the conversion of the motel back in April.

"I support the homeless and my duty and obligation as Mayor is to provide for these less fortunate, and I support the new state concept for this location. The motel provides services and help for people suffering from a whole range of illness."

Cavo also talked about how important a building like this is to the city.

"The shelter transitions people from being homeless to a permanent housing situation. This is the best program I've seen in all my years serving Danbury, a program to alleviate the homeless needs, so I'm very proud of what the city has done here."

Mayor Cavo also talked about how different this shelter will be compared to the other smaller Danbury shelters.

"At the new shelter, residents can stay in their rooms 24 hours a day if they wish. At the other shelters, people were allowed entrance for meals only, and if there was room, a cot to sleep on overnight, otherwise they were turned back out on to the streets. This plan also transitions the homeless with job training, substance abuse programs, and mental health issues. The motel, run by Pacific House, has 86 rooms available, but only 76 beds in 38 rooms will be used for the emergency shelter program, with 48 rooms for transitional or supportive housing. The whole concept to move the homeless to this location came about due to the states pandemic requirement for individuals to be in non congregate housing."

After the public hearing finally ended on Tuesday night and residents were brutally angry and upset, a motion was made to adjourn till sometime in October, either the 12th or the 26th, so stay tuned.

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