United Way of greater Waterbury

Homeless In A Pandemic

Matt O'Toole on Easter morning with all his possessions.

Story and Photographs by John Murray

   Matt O’Toole sat outside the largest homeless shelter in Connecticut wondering how he was going to spend the next 10 hours. It was Easter Sunday and it was cold and raw outside. The St. Vincent DePaul Shelter in the South End of Waterbury boots all single men out of the facility every morning at 7 am, and O’Toole couldn’t get back in until 5 pm.

   O’Toole has been homeless off and on for much of the past year. “I made bad decisions,” O’Toole said. “Most of us in here have made a lot of bad decisions. I had an addiction problem.”

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It has been three weeks since Connecticut Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Waterbury launched the COVID-19 Response Fund and it has already provided more than $180,000 for area soup kitchens, emergency food pantries, extra food and supplies at emergency shelters, food deliveries for seniors and families sheltering in place, and child-care services for frontline healthcare workers.

The fund is fueled by the Connecticut Community Foundation, the United Way of Greater Waterbury, and by donations and gifts from the community.

1st Executive Director Named for Health Partnership

On February 6th, local non-profit collaborative, Greater Waterbury Health Partnership (GWHP), began the new year by appointing the first Executive Director after a search conducted in the fall.   Angie Matthis, formerly of the Greater Waterbury YMCA, is now serving in the much-awaited position and has hit the ground running. Angie has over 12 years of experience working in health and human services in Greater Waterbury, most notably working in the onboarding of chronic disease programming, securing funding and operational leadership.  Originally from the Midwest, Angie brings a strong marketing and development background to the Partnership as well as a track record of excellence in project management and program scaling and dissemination.