With 18 one and two-bedroom apartments and substance abuse services on site, Gini's House is ready to support women and their children in Norwalk.
"This is what change looks like. This is what change is. If you want to change a community, it begins with four walls and a roof and the stability and the support one needs to survive and prosper," said Governor Dannel Malloy, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremny and open house Tuesday afternoon.
Liberation Programs developed Gini's House to address the shortage of supportive housing in Norwalk and the surrounding community.
Alan Mathis, President and CEO of Liberation Programs said, "I feel a sense of joy in this moment. But there are 1,000 people that we treat at Liberation Programs everyday. Most of them live in poverty, systematic, institutionalized lack of opportunity and they have no hopes and dreams. It's been snuffed out by the alcohol and drugs they use to medicate their pain. So in this moment of feeling joy, the work is not done."
Mathis first brought the idea for Gini's House to now former Mayor Richard Moccia seven years ago. Today, the community room has been named after him.
"To the people who walk in, they know they are going to have staff that's going to offer them inspiration and dedication. As I look at the community room and I appreciate my name being up there, the most important word on that plaque is community,"said Moccia.
In addition to fully furnished apartments, the $7.2 million dollar development features onsite case management and support services for residents.
"It's excellent. I love it here. It's a great opporunity and it's a blessing,"said Tatiana Barnes, one of the new residents of Gini's House. "It's an opportunity to something bigger and better and move on in the future but this is a great atmosphere for them. [Barnes has 4 children]. It's quiet, we have security and I love the way the made the apartment for us."
Robin DePaiva and her newborn son Patrick are also residents at Gini's House. "This program has really helped me a lot. It's given me a new chance at life. It has given me an amazing place to raise my son. A safe environment and caring people. I am very grateful for this opportunity that you have given us. I appreciate and all the help and thank you. I don't what else to say. Thank you."
For more information about Gini's House, visit www.liberationprograms.org.