Camillo pushes apartment plan to aid domestic violence victims

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Leaders at the YWCA Greenwich, the sole designated and accredited provider of domestic abuse services in town, said they looked forward to hearing more about this idea.

“We provide not only crisis shelter for victims of domestic violence, but we also provide the next phase of safe and sustainable housing for victims and their families by partnering with several housing and homelessness agencies and coalitions,” Mary Lee Kiernan, the non-profit’s president and CEO, said Tuesday. “A sustainable future for victims involves both housing and ongoing, comprehensive services from YWCA Greenwich.”

Camillo’s Democratic opponent Jill Oberlander, chair of the town’s Board of Estimate and Taxation, offered her support for the YWCA’s work.

“The town, under (First Selectman) Peter Tesei’s leadership, has been a steady partner with the Greenwich YWCA in addressing domestic violence education, prevention and response,” Oberlander said. “These are important services for our community and I have supported them while on the BET. I will continue to be an advocate and strong supporter of these initiatives as first selectman.”

Alan Barry, commissioner of the town’s Department of Human Services, supported Camillo’s idea.

“This is an excellent, and overdue, idea, not only for domestic violence victims, but also for others who are in need of emergency or short-term housing,” Barry said. “We could use it immediately for clients that are experiencing a housing or shelter issue.”

The challenge would be to help the client find permanent housing, he said. “It has to be designed upfront so it is made clear that the apartments are available for only a brief period of time,” Barry said.

Pushing the proposal

Camillo said he would pursue the proposal if he stays in his position as a state representative.

But if he is elected first selectman next month, Camillo said it would be part of his administration.

He has also proposed launching an initaitive similar to the Needs Clearing House charity he had created with town resident Joe Kaliko. The nonprofit had specialized in connecting people with needs to others with the resources to help. Camillo has suggested a similar idea for Town Hall, with volunteers helping residents with needs that may not be met immediately.

For his part, Romeo said he and Housing Authority Executive Director Anthony Johnson are eager to get started on the temporary housing plan. He said he would seek financial support from the Greenwich United Way and the federal Community Development Block Grant program. Romeo also pledged to work with the state to get any needed clearances.

“We want to get started right off the bat,” Romeo said.

Paid for by Fred for First, Joseph Romano, Treasurer. Approved by Fred Camillo.

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