Case Histories

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“If you have two coats, give one away.”

Charles’s caseworker at Community Mental Health Affiliates (CMHA) in New Britain, advised him to move from Bristol and put him in touch with CIL so that he could apply for HUD-assisted housing. However, he was concerned that a new home would not allow cats, as Pooh Bear was already a part of his family. Luckily, CIL had a good solution for both he and Pooh Bear.

Allen Street in New Britain

Built in 1992, the 10-unit apartment building on Allen Street in New Britain caters to the clinically disabled including people with mental health, physical and emotional needs. Due to CIL’s long relationship with CMHA, there is a waiting list for a home in this building. The well-maintained and safe grounds make this an attractive option for case managers who want their clients to go to a stable place. The units are in a convenient location and the tenants are pleased to live there. The first floor is fully accessible with upgraded mechanical locks at the front entrance.

Charles also benefits from low rent, which is based on income and ability to pay, and CIL maintains the property. “This property has sharp looking grounds, and once I figured out the bus schedule it was easy for me to visit Bristol where I grew up to go to my usual barber, see friends or do some grocery shopping,” said Charles. Charles had worked for his family’s flower shop in Bristol for more than 20 years, so he is happy to now be helping out at a florist in New Britain. The only problem he encountered was that he once had to create a flower arrangement in the shape of the Yankee’s logo.  “It was hard for me to do as a Red Sox fan,” he said smiling.

A Sense of Community

Charles is pleased at how receptive his CIL property manager is to help him with any home issues he might have. Charles also enjoys the good the sense of community he feels in the building.

“We’re a community here, and we help each other out,” he said. “A few of us take turns buying pizza, and when I need a vacuum, I can borrow it from the guy down the hall. Likewise, if my other neighbor needs stamps, I buy them for her, and when one our residents was hospitalized, the whole floor pooled their money to send her flowers at the hospital.”

He has been living on Allen Street for four years now and can see himself living there in there for many years to come remaining part of a community that reflects his generosity and warm heart. 

Having gone to school at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire on an academic scholarship, Charles Steele lives by the Bible’s wisdom: If you have two coats, give one away.

Whether it was for homeless acquaintances or his stray cat Pooh Bear, Charles always opened his home to others.  However, expenses were getting to be too much, rent was increasing, and he was becoming weary of the unsafe Bristol neighborhood where he lived. Having been hospitalized several times for maniac depression, Charles needed a break.