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Homeless Shelters Remain Full, But We Have the Tools to Empty Them

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In our most recent publication Homeless Shelters Remain Full, But We Have the Tools to Empty Them monthly emergency shelter bed usage is presented from 2010-2012, showing that Connecticut's shelters remain full. 

The solution to homelessness is not more shelter beds, but rather a housing-based approach to emptying our state’s shelters, and ultimately learning how to prevent housing crises before they occur.

Imagine a system that meets families in a housing crisis at the front door and asks, ‘What are your options? What do you need right now in order for you and your children NOT to enter this shelter tonight?’ Imagine a system that immediately provides that very assistance and never shelters that family again. With a little immediate help, families do not return to shelter.

The country and Connecticut have both seen that rapid rehousing works. Short-term financial assistance is effective for most clients and it works for almost all families. In Connecticut, three-quarters of families experience only one episode of homelessness. The majority move back into private housing on their own -- within three months. Just about all of the Connecticut families who have received rapid re-housing assistance have never returned to shelter.

People who experience chronic homelessness do need longer-term, deeper assistance than families and most others in shelter. Of the approximate 13,000 people who stay in Connecticut’s emergency shelters each year, about 2,500 are chronically homeless.

It would take only 1% of the state’s 1.5 million housing units to house all of the residents experiencing chronic homelessness in Connecticut.

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