Homeless shelters warn governor amid budget crisis

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NORWALK -

Representatives of a number of homeless shelters in western Connecticut warned the governor Monday afternoon that the state's budget crisis could have dire consequences for the people they serve.

They say that without a state budget, homelessness will rise across the state.

The Open Door Shelter in Norwalk says that without a state budget, fewer families can receive housing vouchers, and that will lead to more people trying to get into shelters or ending up out on the streets.

"We anticipated a 10 percent cut," says Jeanette Archer-Simons, of the Open Door Shelter. "Now we're hearing it might be as much as 15 percent. Fifteen percent is $75,000 for us, and that doesn't sound like a lot -- but that's feeding people for almost three months here."

Gov. Dannel Malloy has been running the state by executive order for the past 10 days after legislators failed to meet the budget deadline. They don't plan to return to Hartford to try again until at least next week.

The governor says it's up to lawmakers to negotiate a budget.

"I don't have the ability to make anyone vote on anything," Malloy says. "They can come in themselves, and they can come in and hammer themselves out pretty quickly."

At the Open Door Shelter alone, they've already lost seven housing vouchers. That means people have to stay and others are stuck on the street waiting for beds to open up.

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