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Where I Stand Speak up to keep the Dorothy Day homeless shelter open

July 29, 2018

Come and speak out at the Aug. 9 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting in Danbury and urge the board to keep the Dorothy Day homeless shelter open for the neediest among us.

For more than a year, an unfair and false blame has been placed on the Dorothy Day Hospitality House, by just a few of our fellow citizens. They claim Dorothy Day is responsible for the street crime, prostitution, drugs and homeless problems in our city.

These accusations are not true. Unfortunately Danbury has suffered from gang violence, prostitution and drug sales for decades, when the Day center did not exist. Even the 1970 crime gang “Pardue brothers” blew up our Danbury police station and robbed the bank; does anybody remember that? During the 1950s,’60s and ’70s crime was much worse than today.

So many abandoned properties have been demolished all over the downtown. The house across the street from Dorothy Day has been abandoned for more than 25 years and was a crime haven day and night. But just recently it was bought and renovated. The infamous Octagon house has been abandoned for many years. The city-owned property has a long history housing drug addicts and prostitutes. Thank God, finally, the city has started to renovate it.

Prostitution and drug trafficking is very organized in the city. Don’t blame Dorothy Day.

Nobody should blame Dorothy Day House for crime in Danbury. Too many still sleep on the sidewalk; Dorothy Day is a savior, a guardian angel, for them.

Now some of our fellow citizens are wrongfully trying to shut down the Dorothy Day House. Shutting down a homeless shelter! Our whole society is connected with the homeless shelter one way or other. Think twice. Shutting down a homeless is a crime against the humanity, a crime against the core principle of our Christianity, and a crime against our American values.

In our time, homelessness is the most urgent agenda in our nation. Too many men, women and children in America sleep over the sidewalk, under the bridge, under the overpass due to the shortage of homeless shelters. In this national crisis, we must not shutter the oldest homeless shelter in Danbury.

I believe if the ZBA keeps the shelter open, a lawsuit over the property will fade away and we will have saved this most important structure for the needy in our city. Come to the ZBA meeting and support the shelter’s good works.

Manik K. Roy is a resident of Danbury.

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