Food, Shelter and Compassion

Beth El, the only provider of emergency shelter and food services in Milford, ramps up its efforts during COVID-19.

Volunteers prepare meals to go at the Beth El Soup Kitchen. Photo provided by Beth El Center.

With housing instability at crisis levels because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Milford’s only provider of emergency shelter is working overtime to meet the increasing need.

Beth El Center provides emergency shelter and food services to families, single men and single women in crisis. A recipient of funding from The Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund, and a recent General Operating Support grant, Beth El had to move people from the shelter to hotels in order to reduce the risk of virus exposure in congregate settings. The funding has helped Beth El maintain its existing programs, increase engagement with its clients and keep its clients and staff safe by updating its facilities and procedures.

"Our Center is proud and honored to be chosen as a responsive grant recipient to help us respond to the critical housing needs of our community," said Beth-El Center Executive Director, Jennifer Paradis. "This funding will help further our agency's mission of providing emergency shelter and housing opportunities for individuals and families experiencing homelessness."

Shelter and food needs were on the rise prior to the pandemic, Paradis said, and the grants will help the Center maintain the increased capacity of its programs needed because of COVID- 19. It will also support the expansion of other programs including outreach and engagement services, and help divert people from shelter to permanent housing when possible.

Beth El was founded in 1981 by local churches responding to the growing number of homeless people showing up on their doorsteps looking for help. Although the organization is now a non-profit agency, the original churches are still involved and participation has grown to more than 20 houses of worship.

In addition to donations and volunteer support from the faith organizations, Beth El receives funding from the state Dept. of Housing, the City of Milford, Veteran's Administration, and funders such as the United Way and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

Learn more about Beth El Center.

Did you know?

Thirty-percent of all renters in Connecticut are experiencing housing insecurity, according to DataHaven.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.