Feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless in the Danbury CT area since 1982


Shelter currently closed
Kitchen serving grab and go meals

Some Facts Regarding Dorothy Day Hospitality House

The Dorothy Day Hospitality House is a private, non-profit organization that provides essential community services that would otherwise need to be funded by the City of Danbury. The majority of the homeless people sheltered here are natives of Danbury and its environs.

Our shelter averages 13 people per day compared to approximately 75 per day for the afternoon meal at the kitchen.  the shelter is empty from 6:30am when guests leave to shortly before 9pm when they congregate for the evening -- and now we have a security guard in the evening.

Our shelter is designed to be a temporary base that both provides guests with critical daily resources (bed, shower, and laundry service) and incents them to take the necessary steps to get back on their feet and secure permanent housing and employment.

Guests are required to register with the Coordinated Access Network and Connecticut’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and referred to agencies with resources that address individual needs, such as mental health and substance abuse issues.

Dorothy Day House also partners with Off The Streets, a 501c3 organization which provides security deposits, furniture and household goods to homeless people with a source of income. Since its inception in 2009, Off The Streets has successfully placed more than 500 individuals (100 in 2016 alone) – many of them previously guests in our shelter - in permanent housing in Danbury.

Description of the Facility

         Operating since 1982

         Free-standing, off-street building located behind 11 Spring Street, Danbury

         Beds for 16 guests (male and female) and I volunteer

         2 shower stalls

         Commercial clothes washer and dryer for guest clothing and bed linens


Shelter Operations

         Open 11 months per year

         Open at 9:00 PM, closed at 6:30 AM – not open during the day

         Doors locked at 10:00pm – no one enters or leaves until morning

         Security guard from 6pm to 10pm daily to ensure people do not congregate on Spring Street and facilitate orderly opening process

         16 bed shelter represents a relatively small percentage of people served at Dorothy Day vs. 70/day at the soup kitchen

         Managed by seven experienced weekly coordinators (average 20 years experience) and nightly volunteers (40)

         Training required for all new volunteers

         Volunteer manual and written procedures for volunteers to follow

         Professional cleaning service twice weekly and monthly bedbug exterminator service

Guest admission policies

         All guests must sign written pledge cards to comply with all shelter regulations before first being admitted

         Shelter open to adults, both men and women

         Guest stay limited to 30 nights during warmer months – even if empty beds are available – to incent people to find housing

         No admission to anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs

         No admission to anyone on suspension for breaking shelter rules

Shelter rules

         No loitering on or near the premises before 8:45 PM

         Sobriety: no use of alcohol or drugs on the premises

         Safety: no weapons allowed

         No one leaves or enters after door closes at 10:00 PM without special permission

         Guests awakened 5:30 AM, and must leave before 6:30 AM

         Do not disturb the peace

Violation of these rules results in suspension, often for weeks or months at a time

Community Interaction

         Coordinating with the Danbury City Shelter administration on homeless community matters, including annual planning meetings

         Cooperating with Danbury City Shelter nightly in securing guest beds for all in need

         Directing guests to 211 service when shelters are full, and often driving guests to motels as directed here

         Employing security guard service to reinforce our no-loitering rule before the shelter opens, and act as a deterrent against any behavior that would disturb the peace

         Proposing cooperation with neighbors and Danbury Police through a Neighborhood Watch program to strengthen neighborhood security

Misconceptions about the Dorothy Day shelter:

         Misconception 1 -- There are no rules at Dorothy Day House and no consequences for bad behavior.  

         The Facts --

         Bad behavior is not tolerated and will result in guests being banned from Dorothy Day

         All kitchen and shelter guests are required to sign a pledge indicating their willingness to follow Dorothy Day’s rules (ex no one admitted under the influence of alcohol or drugs) and not to congregate on Spring Street.  Pledge cards include photos of guests for identification.   If guests do not live up to the pledge, they are not provided services at the kitchen or shelter.


         Misconception 2 --Dorothy Day Hospitality House enables people to remain homeless rather than requiring them to take actions to address their needs and get them into housing

         The Facts --

         The number of days people may stay at Dorothy Day House is limited to 30 days during the non-winter months to incent people to seek permanent housing.  

          Shelter guests at Dorothy Day House are required to get connected to services through the Coordinated Access Network, which registers people in Connecticut's HMIS (Homeless Management Information System) and directs people to agencies that have the resources to address their individual needs (such as mental health, substance abuse) .

         Dorothy Day House volunteers have taken an active role in getting people into housing by forming Off The Streets, a related 501c3 organization which provides security deposits, furniture and household goods to homeless people with a source of income. 

         As a result of the efforts of many people in Danbury, the number of homeless people in Danbury has started to come down.   The population at Dorothy Day shelter and the overflow shelter was 20% lower in 1Q2016 vs. 2015.


Changes at Dorothy Day House

As a result of neighborhood, business and government input, the following changes have been made:

         Security guard hired from 6pm to 10pm daily to prevent people congregating on Spring Street

         Removed wording from website that "all are welcome with no questions asked"

         Pledge cards instituted (see above)

         Reinforced with our guests the importance of being good neighbors

         Shelter from the Cold Program (6pm through 8pm -- November through March) moved from Spring Street to William Street (St James AME Church)

"Do not neglect to show hospitality, for by that means some have entertained angels without knowing it" - Hebrews 13:1-2

Dorothy Day Hospitality House
11 Spring Street, Danbury CT
Mailing Address: PO Box 922 Danbury CT 06813-0922
Tel:  (203) 743-7988

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