Abbey O’Leary ’24
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been estimated that nearly 3,000 people in Connecticut, a state with some of the most diverse cities in America, experience homelessness every day. The rates of homelessness within the state, however, have been declining over the past ten years.
As a part of the capital city of Hartford, Trinity College has continually sought to be an active member of the community and work on the ground level to better the city and improve the lives of all its citizens.
Founded in 2017, the student-run club, Trinity Homelessness Project, is an interactive organization that aims to spread awareness of homelessness in Hartford and work in collaboration with other groups and organizations to aid local victims of homelessness in an attempt to “create a cohesive link between student action and community conditions,” said one of its current presidents, Gabrielle Desrochers ‘24.
In an interview with Desrochers regarding her involvement with the club, she said, “I come from a very rural area and wanted to delve into the area around where I chose to go to school, and this includes full community participation and education about issues that the community experiences.” The club places a concerted emphasis on grassroots-level interaction with the community and strives to give students access to their surroundings and a chance to fully engage and become involved with the larger Hartford community. Trinity’s commitment to community engagement was one of the leading factors in Desrochers’ choice to attend Trinity College, and she found that Trinity Homelessness Project is one of the organizations that has one of the most noticeably effective collaborations with its partners in the greater community.
Currently just a sophomore at Trinity, Desrochers went on to say that her membership and involvement as one of the presidents of the Trinity Homelessness project inspired her to take part in the Liberal Arts Action Lab Energy Efficiency Project to further her engagement and hands-on work with the city of Hartford. She plans to study abroad during her junior year to continue her passion of community engagement work on an international level.
The Trinity Homelessness Project holds weekly meetings focused on member education of homelessness in the community. The meetings also work to foster and strengthen relations with external partners and plan community action efforts. Currently, the Homelessness Project is working with organizations such as Journey Home, My Sisters Place, Mercy Housing, and Footwear with Care to collaborate on events to aid local members of the community who are suffering from homelessness and its effects. The organization is currently running a Menstrual Product Drive to donate products and supplies to women in the community throughout the month of March.
As a leading liberal arts college in an urban setting, it is important that a strong relationship is forged between Trinity College and the city of Hartford; thus, the Trinity Homelessness Project is a true embodiment of the college’s larger goal of working as an integral cog in the greater community and leaving a positive impact on the city of Hartford.