Advocacy News - News

House and Senate Moving Forward on HUD Funding

Dear McKinney Advocates,
As you all are probably aware, the House Subcommittee on HUD funding released FY 2015 legislation that would flat fund HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. Flat funding at $2.105 billion ($300 million less than the amount requested by the Administration for FY 2015) would result in across-the-board cuts to many CoCs, similar to those experienced following sequestration cuts in the FY 2013 NOFA.
The full House Appropriations Committee will be marking up and voting on legislation TOMORROW for FY 2015 HUD funding. In addition, the Senate will be moving forward with its own funding bills soon after they return from the Memorial Day recess next week. It is imperative that we make sure as many senators and representatives understand the need for increased McKinney funding in FY 2015.We have made good progress in recent years, despite setbacks and lack of resources for new projects; however, we must now begin to take significant steps forward, particularly in our efforts to end chronic homelessness. We know what works to end homelessness, and, for the most part, we have the tools to do so at our disposal. We just need the resources - and Congress must provide them!
Here’s What You Can Do:
1.      Call or email your senators and representatives TODAY, particularly if they sit on the House Appropriations or Senate Appropriations Committees.
a.     Ask to speak to the person who handles housing issues. The Alliance can help you figure out who that is, or you can call the congressional switchboard at 202.224.3121.
2.     Tell the staff person we need MORE MONEY FOR MCKINNEY in the FY 2015 funding legislation.
a.     Have them urge their boss to work with his or her colleagues on the Appropriations Committees to ensure that HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants receive a $300 million increase in FY 2015.
b.     You can use the talking points and this blog to help you make your case.
3.      Let us know who you contacted and what they said!
Earlier this spring, we were able to generate a tremendous amount of advocacy efforts around McKinney and HUD funding. Now, particularly as Congress works to write and vote on funding legislation, we need to keep up that momentum!Make calls, send emails, and write letters THIS WEEK to ensure that the earliest iterations of these funding bills have the best possible funding level for McKinney programs.  
As always, let me know if you have any questions about any congressional activity or your advocacy efforts. I look forward to hearing from many of you on this issue!
Kate Seif
Catherine (Kate) Seif 
Policy Outreach Coordinator
National Alliance to End Homelessness

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CCEH Presents Awards To Homeless Service Providers

Hartford (May 8, 2014) — The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness on Thursday presented its yearly awards during its Annual Training Institute and meeting.

Preston Maynard, LCSW; Director, Homeless Program for VA Connecticut Healthcare System based in West Haven, received the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness Social Justice Award.

The Rev. Cathy Zall, Executive Director of New London Homeless Hospitality Center, received the individual Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change Award.

The Bridgeport Housing First Collaborative Team received the  agency Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change Award.

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness Social Justice Award

Recognizes a leader who embraces or champions new practices, embodies a spirit of collaboration, and takes risks and innovative approaches while developing solutions to complex social issues. This award is presented to a leader, policy maker or agency who tirelessly pursues and promotes solutions to an issue, working with a variety of stakeholders to accomplish this goal.

This year’s award goes to Preston Maynard, LCSW; Director, Homeless Program for VA Connecticut Healthcare System based in West Haven, CT. “Recognizing your deep commitment and unceasing efforts to end the homelessness of Connecticut veterans.”

Mr. Maynard is the Director, Homeless Program for VA Connecticut Healthcare System based in West Haven, CT.  Since 2007, Mr. Maynard has worked diligently to expand housing opportunities for Veterans across Connecticut by engaging service providers, housing  organizations, and veteran and civic organizations in the cause of ending Veteran homelessness. He oversees the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans program, a program of outreach and engagement of the chronic homeless and linking these Veterans to a broad continuum of housing services. The VA Homeless Team engaged more than 1,050 Veterans in 2013. During the last five years,  the VA CT Homeless Program has housed more than 560 Veterans with HUD-VASH vouchers and partnered with local communities to create more than 200 units of permanent supported housing with a Veteran preference, including the nationally recognized Victory Gardens in Newington.  Under his tenure, VA CT has built strong community partnerships in rural and urban areas and carried forward the mission of the Secretary Shinseki, to End Veteran Homelessness within five years. He serves on the Coordinating committee of the Partnership for Strong Communities, an ad hoc member of the Supportive Housing Works board of Directors, and an advisor emeritus of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change Award

Recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of homeless or housing services. This person or agency brings forward the spirit of Carol Walter in all that they do in the field, taking a pragmatic approach to prevent and end homelessness. This award is presented to someone in the housing/homeless field who never loses sight of the end goal of ending homelessness, driving this mission from within his/her agency or coalition work.

This year’s individual award recipient is Catherine Zall, Executive Director of New London Homeless Hospitality Center. “Recognizing your tireless efforts to innovate and find new solutions to end homelessness”

Catherine Zall currently serves as the Executive Director of the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, which operates an emergency shelter, a daytime drop-in center, a variety of supportive housing programs and a thrift store called Homeward Bound Treasures. She also serves as Pastor of the First Congregational Church in New London.  Before beginning her work in New London, she served in a variety of social service management positions including almost ten years working as the Deputy Commissioner managing New York City’s welfare to work program. Ms. Zall has an undergraduate degree from Brown University, a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Stern School of Business at New York University and a Master of Divinity degree from the Yale Divinity School.  She has two grown children and lives in New London.

The Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change Award

This year’s agency award goes to Bridgeport Housing First Collaborative Team.

The Bridgeport Housing First collaborative was established in 2010 as a collective impact initiative with participation from five non-profit organizations (Alpha Community Services YMCA, Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport, New Haven Home Recovery Operation Hope, and Supportive Housing Works), all with extensive homeless and housing experience.   The BHFC model is an innovative approach to ending homelessness through the coordinated delivery of health, mental health, social services and affordable housing resources to homeless individuals and families.

This team has brought together the resources of five different agencies – working together as a team. This collaboration – breaking down silos, reducing duplication of effort, and combining resources to serve more of those in urgent need, and to serve them more effectively – has made this team a national leader in advancing the goal of ending chronic homelessness.

Operation Hope

For more than 25 years, Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc. has been working to end hunger and homelessness in Fairfield and the greater Bridgeport area through comprehensive programs for men, women and families.  The diverse assortment of programming offered by Operation Hope includes shelter services,   two meals daily available to anyone in need in the community,  and a food pantry  that distributes basic staple items for those struggling to make ends meet. In addition to delivering high quality frontline crisis intervention services to the community, Operation Hope also  owns or operates over 46 units of safe, affordable, supportive housing  and  is recognized as a local leader on regional initiatives such as Rapid Rehousing and the Bridgeport Housing First Collaborative.  Staff provide critical services to stabilize the lives of the residents, which include clinical support and skill building counseling to increase the capacity for independent living.  The talented staff and countless volunteers at Operation Hope are witness that when people come together, the product is a collective force that supports those who need an opportunity for change.

Supportive House Works

Supportive Housing Works (SHW) was created by four nonprofit supportive housing providers who identified the need in Fairfield County for a new type of entity that could represent their collective interests in creating more permanent housing for the chronic homeless.  The original founding members of SHW were Central Connecticut YMCA, the Interfaith Housing Association now known as Homes for Hope in Westport, Operation Hope of Fairfield, and St. Luke’s LifeWorks now known as Inspirica in Stamford.  Each of the founding members recognized that their agency did not have the capacity to develop housing individually. Their premise in creating a separate membership organization was that they could each benefit from having a relationship with an entity that could work on their behalf to create permanent supportive housing units. The members agreed that the new entity would:

  • Anticipate and meet the permanent supportive housing needs of the chronic homeless in Coastal Fairfield County
  • Facilitate and enable the funding, development, and management of permanent supportive housing units and the infrastructure and talent necessary to fill the gap between needs and resources;
  • Support state and country-wide efforts to address the needs of the chronic homeless population
  • Provide people in need the stability and opportunity to regain their confidence, rebuild their lives, and achieve independence.

Currently, SHW has nine member agencies with the addition of two more Stamford based agencies, Laurel House and Shelter for the Homeless as well as Open Door Shelter in Norwalk and Catholic Charities of Fairfield County.  The addition of New Haven Home Recovery in 2009 marked SHW’s expansion in the New Haven area.

Currently, SHW is launching a collective impact model called the I95 Alliance that will result in a 50% decrease in homelessness in Fairfield County by 2015.  This model involves key sectors including education, health, employment and philanthropy to become part of a re-design in the homeless crisis response system. Part of this initiative is the creation of 500 additional supportive housing units.  To accomplish that goal, SHW hired a Director of Housing Development in 2013.

New Haven Home Recovery

New Haven Home Recovery, Inc. (NHHR) is a nonprofit organization working to shelter, house, furnish and stabilize women and families in the Greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas of Connecticut. Since 1990, NHHR has worked to further its mission to promote the independence of women and children confronting homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and behavioral health issues in a supportive environment where their potential can be realized. NHHR serves over 1,800 men, women and children each year. NHHR operates three emergency homeless shelters for women and children, over 100 units of supportive housing for families, five family stabilization programs and a regional furniture bank. For the past 24 years, NHHR has expanded its programs to continue to successfully meet the needs of families in the community. We reach out to help others who need help. We are building hopeful futures.

Alpha Community Services YMCA

Alpha Community Services YMCA, a branch of the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, address the basic human needs for shelter, dignity and self-sufficiency by providing a range of housing opportunities and supportive services. Alpha Community Services YMCA operates the only Family Emergency Shelter in Bridgeport, the largest in the state. In 2013 we housed 173 families in our shelter, including 338 children.  Additionally, we were home to over 600 people in our permanent supportive housing sites in Bridgeport and New Haven.

At Alpha Community Services YMCA, strengthening communities is our cause. Every day we work side by side with our neighbors in the communities we serve to make sure everyone- regardless of age, income or background- has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Our community has come to rely on us for affordable housing coupled with comprehensive supportive services. We are more than just a place to sleep.  We provide a sense of community, hope and a safe place to belong for a growing population of homeless men, women and children. 

Bridgeport Housing Authority

The Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport is committed to the well-being of residents, and to serving as a regional leader in developing and maintaining affordable housing.


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Advocacy Alert: House HUD Funding Subcommittee Releases FY 2015 Spending Bill

On May 7, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its fiscal year (FY) 2015 funding bill for programs under its jurisdiction, including all programs within HUD. The legislation includes $2.105 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, the same amount as last year and $300 below the level proposed by the Administration.

Simply put, this funding level is unacceptable. Due to expiring multi-year grants and increased renewal demand, a $2.105 billion funding level would result in funding cuts to Continuums of Care.Communities would be required to once again make the difficult tiering/prioritization decisions they made for the FY 2013 NOFA. Flat funding for McKinney would mean a step back in our efforts to prevent and end homelessness in America.

Now, we need our Representatives to hear that HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants NEED MORE MONEY!

Here's What You Can Do:

Call your Representatives' offices TODAY! Ask to speak to the person who handles housing issues. You can find their number by calling the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Ask them to urge their boss to provide increases for homeless assistance and affordable housing programs in the final FY 2015 funding legislation. Tell them the negative impact flat funding would have on your community's programs.  

You can use these talking points to help you make your case.  

Encourage others to call, too! Please forward this alert to your partners and anyone else interested in ensuring Congress robustly funds homeless assistance and low-income housing programs.

Let us know who you contacted and what they said by emailing

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Help End Homelessness in Greater New Haven: Sign Up to Volunteer Today

We need your help to support the 100 Day Challenge to end chronic homelessness in New Haven. We are recruiting volunteers for  Greater New Haven Registry Week to interview individuals experiencing homelessness in order to better understand their health and housing needs. In particular, we still need about 100 volunteers to help survey people in the early mornings of May 12-14.
Please click on the link and help us spread the word. Please feel free to download and print this volunteer flier and distribute at your place of worship, work, and among your friends and family.

Greater New Haven Opening Doors is part of a nationwide campaign, called the 100,000 Homes Campaign (watch the 100k Homes video), to survey homeless individuals and prioritize them for available housing based on vulnerability.  Our goal is to house 75 percent of the region's chronically homeless population — approximately 107 people — into apartments of their own, by July 30.  To do that we need your help. 

Join us as a volunteer for the Greater New Haven Region Registry Week, May 12-16, 2014! This will be a community effort to actively go into the community to interview individuals experiencing homelessness in our region in order to better understand their health and housing needs. Registry Week includes a walking canvass May 12 -14 (4 a.m. - 8 a.m.) and a data entry project on May 15-16 (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.).  T-shirts and training will be provided. 
All Registry walking canvass volunteers must attend training. In person training will be held at Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, 319 Peck Street in New Haven. Registry walking canvass volunteers who are unable to attend the training in person are encouraged to participate in the full 1 hour Registry Week Training Webinar on Mon. May 5th or Wed. May 7th from 5-6 pm.  To participate in the webinar go to 10 minutes prior to the webinar start time. 
THIS IS A RAIN OR SHINE EVENT! To sign-up to serve as a volunteer to count the homeless visit:
To learn more about this volunteer opportunity please contact Jan McCray at or (203) 691-4216. 

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ATI 2014 Workshop Tracks & Schedule

The following are the Workshop Tracks for the 2014 Annual Training Institute. To register for the training, please click here.

Rapid Rehousing (RR):  Rapid rehousing as an emerging best practice – how do we effectively move people from shelter or the streets to stable housing? Featured track – Sponsored by Citizen’s Bank

Coordinated Access (CA): Building an effective coordinated access system for CT – what does that mean and what examples can we draw from?

Meeting the Needs of Special Populations (SP): Best practices for working with and rehousing veterans, homeless children and runaway and homeless youth

Healthcare and Homelessness: An Emerging Landscape (H): With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and increased understanding of the cost of homelessness on the healthcare system, it has become increasingly critical to understand how the homeless services and healthcare systems can better work together. This workshop track will examine best practices and current issues for both systems.

Advocacy (A): Critical information for providers, stakeholders and consumers on current advocacy efforts in the state and how to become an effective advocate in your community

Working with Funders, Volunteers and Other Partners (F):  How do funders, providers and stakeholders work together to effectively meet the needs of homeless families and individuals in CT?

Best Practices: What’s Working in CT? (BP): CT has many great examples of programs providing best practice services. Learn about 3 programs doing great work in this challenging landscape.  Sponsored by Liberty Bank

Annual Training Institute Workshop Schedule

Workshop A 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

A-1 Implementing Coordinated Access for Singles and Families (CA)                        

A-2 Innovative Tools to Help Rapid Rehousing Work (RR)                                                                     

A-3 Invisible No More: Findings and Advocacy from CT’s First Study of Youth Who are Homeless (SP)

A-4 The Vital Role of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Ending Homelessness in CT (H)                                          

A-5 Using the Media As An Advocacy Tool (A)                                                                              

A-6 Tapping into AmeriCorps (F)                                                                                                                        

A-7 Innovations in Employment Services and Homelessness (BP)                                                 

Workshop B 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM           

B-1 Fairfield County Coordinated Access: Prioritizing Housing Resources Using the VI-SPDAT (CA)                              

B-2 Shared Housing as a Rapid Exit Strategy (RR)                                                                                       

B-3 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Serving Our Most Vulnerable Youth (SP)      

B-4 Supportive Housing and Healthcare Services Integration: Experiences and Lessons Learned (H)

B-5 Advocacy’s Impact on Ending Homelessness in CT (A)                                                                   

B-6 CT How to Build Stronger Relationships with Philanthropic and Corporate Funders (F)          

B-7 The Middlesex Community Care Team: How to Achieve Success at the Intersection of Healthcare and Homelessness (BP)                                                                                                              

Workshop C 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM                 

C-1 Building a Sustainable Coordinated Access System Through the Use of Best Practices and Critical Data Elements  (CA)                                                                                                              

C-2 Best Practices in Rapidly Rehousing Single Adults (RR)                                                                 

C-3 Ending Veteran Homelessness: The Statewide Approach (SP)                                                 

C-4 Medical Respite Care: Helping the Homeless Bridge the Gap Between Hospital and Shelter (H)

C-5 United for Homes Campaign: National Efforts to End Homelessness & Increase Access to Affordable Housing (A)                                                                                               

C-6 Philanthropy: More Than Money.  Helping to Create Systems to Prevent and End Homelessness (F)

C-7 Bridgeport Housing First Collaborative: A Community Developed Model (BP)              

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