Windham Region No Freeze Project, a life-saving non-profit program located in Willimantic, will be displaced from its current location sometime between January and April 2020 and is actively seeking a new home.
- The 17-year-old shelter and assistance program is seeking a permanent location in Willimantic, close to the services and programs their constituents rely upon every day.
- The landlord at 75 Bridge Street, an aging Willimantic retail plaza and the program’s current location, has served the No Freeze with eviction papers and asked the seasonal shelter that operates between November and April to leave by December 31.
- The program’s lease agreement states that the No Freeze has the option to extend their lease for up to 3 years at the end of the current lease. The current lease expires on December 31, 2019. The landlord is not honoring the program’s lease option.
- When the eviction notice was delivered, the landlord blamed the eviction on an incident that happened somewhere in the plaza, but not in, in front of, or close to the program’s space.
- The incident involved a person who stayed at the shelter one night, coming to Willimantic from New Haven. Once No Freeze management became aware of the incident, the assailant was permanently banned from ever using the No Freeze program again.
- The No Freeze has officially requested remediation with the landlord to try to negotiate a reasonable exit at the end on the 2019 2020 season in April.
- Over its 17 year history, the Windham Region No Freeze Project has operated in five different locations within Willimantic including 75 Bridge Street.
- The No Freeze Project may need a temporary space to house the shelter and other programs until a permanent location can be identified and purchased or leased. According to Windham Planning & Zoning, the only suitable zoning districts for the homeless program are B4 and B1a designations.
- Any new space needs to be big enough to accommodate all services and be within walking distance of other community programs including the Covenant Soup Kitchen, Generations, WAIM, Access Agency, Perception Programs, United Services and others.
- The desired permanent location would involve a building the non-profit could own and not be displaced from. This location needs to be in Willimantic, close to the services guests need, and must embrace the purpose of the program and the people it serves. The location should be at least 3000 square feet to achieve the non-profit’s requirements.
About the No Freeze:
- Dedicated to the long-term survival of homeless adults in the region, the Windham Region No Freeze Project provides seasonal shelter between November and April for adults who find themselves with no safe place to sleep during cold winter months.
- Throughout the year, the Windham Region No Freeze Project operates a drop-in center where guests can register for services, access shower facilities and personal hygiene items, strengthen connections to the community, and establish alliances with human services organizations. The drop-in program helps people at risk of homelessness access basic needs including food, clothing, hygiene, personal support, transportation services, and diversion funding to keep them out of shelter .
· Over the 2018-2019 season, the Windham Region No Freeze Project accomplished the following life-saving services:
o completed intakes, assessments and navigation services for more than 300 people,
o delivered diversion funding that prevented at least 45 people from becoming homeless,
o provided emergency shelter for 143 adults, and
o successfully and permanently housed 98 people.
· The Windham Region No Freeze Project is currently run 100% on donations and private foundation grants. All donations are tax deductible to the extent of existing state and federal tax laws.
· The organization provides entry level jobs to peoples returning to the workforce after experiencing homelessness, and is a training site for college students from ECSU and UCONN who are interested in social service careers.