Friday, January 13, 2017

Connecticut Leads The Way

Connecticut is leading the states in ending chronic homelessness; there are articles in the news media on how Connecticut has ended homelessness for veterans and now for the chronic homeless.
State Says It's Lined Up Housing For Chronically Homeless
Hartford Courant
By Jordan Otero Sisson
January 12, 2017

Connecticut is the first state in the country to have provided housing to all confirmed chronically homeless people in the state, officials announced Thursday.

Speaking at an affordable housing complex in downtown Meriden, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state had reached the milestone of matching every verified chronically homeless individual in Connecticut with permanent supportive housing.

That group of homeless is a small percentage of the total number of homeless people defined as those who have been homeless repeatedly or for long periods of time and are living with a "severe disabling condition."

In January 2016, agencies that deal with the homeless identified 1,200 chronically homeless people who would need housing by the end of the year. By May 16, the figure had dropped to 529. On Nov. 2, it was 110; on Nov. 28, it was 27. On Dec. 8, the number hit zero.
In November of 2015 Connecticut officials announced that they ended homelessness for all veterans who wanted to find housing and now they announces that all those who want housing have found it.
The state collaborates with a network of nonprofit service providers to identify chronically homeless people. Whenever a new episode of chronic homelessness occurs, it is logged via the state's 2-1-1 system and that person is connected with services. The person is matched to supportive housing within 90 days.
I have as part of coalition giving training to the 211 operators and for the last two years we have gone around the state training shelter staff and administrators how to treat trans homeless people. The coalition is made up of AIDS CT, CT Coalition to End Homelessness, CT Fair Housing Center, CT TransAdvocacy Coalition, HUD, and Triangle Community Center.

We have had some pushback but in general our training has been very accepted by shelter staff.

Why is Connecticut doing this, it is simple…
Malloy said despite the current budget shortfalls, the state would continue to commit to combating homelessness because it brings cost savings to places like shelters and emergency rooms.

"Every time we keep somebody out of one of those places, we're saving money. That's the reality," he said. "And I say that in spite of the fact that we're in the middle of ... an opiod explosion that we have to deal with. This is an investment. I don't think every dollar that government spends is an investment, but I think every dollar that we spend here is an investment."
Let’s hope that Connecticut continues to lead the way.

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