Camillo pushes apartment plan to aid domestic violence victims

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State Rep. Fred Camillo is looking to enter into a partnership with the Greenwich Housing Authority for an initiative to provide housing for victims of domestic abuse.

“This is something that would be designed to be transitional,” Camillo said. “This would be for people who have been through a divorce or a domestic violence situation in their relationship and do not have a home.”

Camillo, who is also the Republican candidate for first selectman, said he has been in contact with Housing Authority leaders about setting aside apartment units for people in those types of situations who need temporary housing.

“This would be for people across the spectrum who are looking for a place to transition so they don’t have to worry about where they’re going to live along with everything else going on in their lives,” he said.

The housing would not be emergency shelter for a night or two, he said. It would be for longer time periods while people adjust and find permanent housing. That’s where groups such as the YWCA Greenwich or the town Department of Human Services are also able to help, Camillo said.

He said he envisions offering a “bridge” for a few months at a time, depending on the situation.

“This would be for them to get back on their feet and when they’re on their feet and can find another place to live, we get it ready for the next person,” Camillo said.

His hope is to start with one apartment and perhaps expand to more, he said.

Camillo took the idea, which is still in the beginning stages, to the Housing Authority in September. “This is something we can show that our Housing Authority is ahead of the curve on this,” he said.

Sam Romeo, chair of the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners, said Tuesday this would be a “great thing to do for the community.”

“We are very enthusiastic about this idea,” Romeo said. “We want to have a couple of apartments in the system that we can keep the location anonymous for safety reasons. We want these to be available 12 months of the year. This would be a public/private partnership with the state and other agencies so we can get grants and funding.”

Romeo said he would like to have a single-bedroom unit and a family unit available.

The Housing Authority has 857 apartment units under its control, which are used as federally designated affordable housing, senior housing, housing for residents with disabilities and other uses.

It is also looking to expand its housing with proposals under review by the Board of Selectmen to add a 50-unit apartment building for seniors at Armstrong Court and to demolish the structures at Quarry Knoll I and replace them with 175 to 225 units with a mix of uses.

The Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. However, it operates independently, which gives it more freedom to maneuver outside the town’s budget process.

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