Mom claims Bridgeport shelters refused her due to son’s autism

A Bridgeport woman says she and her 2-year-old son are homeless because local shelters have refused to accept him due to his autism.

Amber Foley, 29, says she and her son, Giovanni, have been homeless since early August.

Foley says she lost her job, then got kicked out of her apartment and has been going to friends and relatives to seek shelter. She says the ordeal has made her feel very desperate.

"I cry every night, I cry every day. I try to stay strong in front of him, but you know sometimes it's hard. And for him to see that, it makes it even that much harder," says Foley.

Foley says the local shelters have turned her away because they say they are not equipped to deal with a child who has autism.

Terry Wilcox, the head of the Bridgeport Rescue Mission on Fairfield Avenue, says he turned away the child because he cannot guarantee his safety.

Wilcox told News 12 Connecticut that he is not allowed to discuss the details of any specific case, but says as a general rule, the organization cannot take in a child who is prone to hitting his head against the wall or on the floor.

"When we run up against a case where we're limited by our facilities or our funds or our staffing or our equipment, it's a heartbreak for all of us in here," says Wilcox.

Foley says there are facilities that might be willing to take just her son, but she will not consider those options because she feels it would be too traumatic for him to be separated from her.

A News 12 Connecticut viewer stepped forward and paid for three nights at a local motel for Foley and her son.

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