Middletown police asking homeless if they want help; local churches begin providing warming centers

City Manager: More than 100 homeless tell police they don’t want assistance, treatment.

At a time when Middletown police officers are sweeping the downtown for homeless and directing those who agree to treatment, local churches are serving as warming centers for the unhoused.

Middletown City Manager Paul Lolli, in response to continued complaints from downtown businesses about how the homeless population was creating problems, formed a homeless crisis team that meets every morning to develop “a plan to respond proactively to the effort,” he wrote to council members.

He said Nathan Cahall, assistant city manager, Jackie Phillips, health commissioner, and David Birk, police chief, developed a six-week plan to sweep the downtown and address citizens’ immediate concerns.

“We want to make sure that it is understood our efforts went not only to address the downtown businesses and residents’ concerns, but also if we could get those homeless individuals who wanted assistance in the direction to such.” he wrote. “Those who continued to cause problems and be disrupted would be dealt with as the law allows.”

Heather Gibson, owner of Triple Moon Coffee, has been vocal about how the city’s homeless population negatively impacts her business. She thanked all those involved for police enforcement and getting some of the homeless into treatment.

“We can definitely see a difference in downtown and feel much better about our situation,” Gibson wrote on Facebook.

Last month, Rodney Muterspaw, a first-year City Council member and former police chief, held a town hall meeting to talk to local businesses and residents about the homeless crisis. After Muterspaw posted the arrest numbers police have made recently, he said a few residents were critical because some of the homeless were arrested and charged with drug offenses.

“You can’t ignore that they’re committing crimes because they’re an addict,” Muterspaw said. “If you want help, we are on your side. But if you want to hang out and not cooperate, then you will be arrested. A crime is a crime. You don’t get a free pass because you’re an addict.”

Church-based warming centers start tonight

For nearly 20 years, Serving Homeless Alternate Lodging Of Middletown (SHALOM) provided housing and meals to the homeless at local host churches.

When the city was unsure if SHALOM would open this year after being closed for two years due to COVID-19, the city organized a similar program.

The city purchased cots the homeless will use and the rest of the services will be provided by host churches, said Missy Knight, the city’s communications manager.

The program begins Nov. 20 and runs for 16 weeks if enough churches volunteer, Knight said.

Those needing a place to stay warm can meet between 3 to 5 p.m. every day, starting Nov. 20, at the Dream Center, 834 Yankee Road. They will be transported by volunteers to a host church. Tytus Avenue Church of Church, 3300 Tytus Ave., is hosting the first week.

The next morning, the homeless will be transported back to the Dream Center. Each church will host the homeless Sunday night through Saturday night.


The Middletown Division of Police has started a six-week plan to sweep the downtown and address citizens’ immediate concerns related to the homeless population, according to City Manager Paul Lolli.

Here is a brief synopsis of the police activity:

  • More than 100 individuals around the city refused any assistance and or treatment.
  • 35 physical arrests made for new offenses
  • 26 physical arrests were made for active warrants.
  • 20 individuals were taken to and went into treatment facilities.
  • 10 arrests for possession of methamphetamine and possession of needle/pipe.
  • 7 arrests for criminal trespass at various locations.
  • 6 arrests for possession of drug abuse instruments.
  • 4 individuals were taken to locations to stay with family or friends.
  • 4 traffic citations were written primarily for bicycle violations.
  • 2 arrests for criminal trespass and possession of drug abuse instrument.
  • 1 arrest for criminal trespass and criminal damaging at 1320 First Ave.
  • 1 arrest for public indecency.
  • 1 arrest for intoxication and panhandling behind Triple Moon Coffee.
  • 1 arrest for overdose while leaving Water Street encampment.
  • 1 arrest for obstructing official business.
  • 1 arrest for drug paraphernalia.
  • 1 arrest for breaking and entering at 680 Curtis St.
  • 1 arrest for receiving stolen property.

SOURCE: Email from City Manager Paul Lolli

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