Tracks & Workshops
2019 Annual Training Institute
(C) Creative Strategies to Prevent and End Student Homelessness
Bringing together McKinney-Vento liaisons, faculty, staff, administrators, and students, successful strategies and new ideas to address student homelessness in Connecticut schools, colleges, and universities will be shared. Discussions will include refining Connecticut’s Single Point of Contact system, student-led awareness campaigns, and regional work to address youth homelessness. This track is sponsored by Connecticut State Department of Education.
(P) Harnessing the Power of Outreach
Outreach and identification are vital components of a strong coordinated entry system. Workshops in this track support the work of outreach for engaging special populations, utilizing technology, practicing self-care and safety, and highlight new and potential collaborations with community health centers, including Healthcare for the Homeless grantees, law enforcement, and youth serving organizations. Outreach is examined both as a product of a coordination of resources and as a set of practices that guides day-to-day work in the field.
(F) A Holistic Approach to Ending Family Homelessness
Given its complexity, family homelessness requires collaboration from multiple sectors to ensure the needs of all family members are addressed. This track will emphasize cross-sector collaboration and new strategies for understanding the unique needs of each family experiencing homelessness and best practices for connecting them with community resources. This track is sponsored by the Office of Early Childhood.
(H) The Intersection of Health and Homelessness
The intersection of health and homelessness highlights both the potential of new partnerships and the need to better understand the social determinants of health. Workshops in this track will consider how health is determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities and how coordinated entry systems can increase collaboration with health care providers at many levels (street, clinic, hospital) to improve outcomes in health and housing stability.
(O) Optimizing Our System to End Homelessness
While Connecticut has established a nationally recognized homelessness response system, we still face challenges in ensuring homelessness is rare, brief, and non-reoccurring for all populations. In this track, we examine innovative strategies in resolving housing crises earlier, shelter diversion, rapid exit, and housing stabilization aimed at reducing length of time homeless. This track is sponsored by the Department of Housing.
(R) Removing the Barriers of Racial Bias
Systemic racism has led to an over representation of people of color in the homeless response system. Workshops in this track will discuss how to identify and address racial inequities related to housing and homelessness.
(S) Sharing Solutions: Working Across Systems to Improve Housing Outcomes
Homelessness impacts many areas of social service and community efforts. This track will explore the intersections of our work with that of other systems and highlight effective partnerships and opportunities for increased collaboration. Three workshops will have a special focus on criminal justice. This track is sponsored by the Liberty Bank Foundation.
(D) Utilizing Data to End Homelessness
Through data, we can ensure that we are working towards ending homelessness and distributing resources in the most effective way. In this track, data extraction and utilization is examined as a tool to monitor progress and ensure equitable services. This track is sponsored by Nutmeg Consulting LLC.
(Y) Youth Engagement & Leadership in Ending Homelessness
This track will feature youth-led discussions about elements of the system of services for youth and young adults with a focus on ending youth homelessness by 2020. Emphasis is given to youth involvement at points such as direct service provision, leadership development, planning, and system performance.
A-1 BEST PRACTICES IN CRITICAL TIME INTERVENTION AND RAPID RE-HOUSING F, O:
This workshop will focus on lessons learned and best practices in applying the principles of Critical Time Intervention (CTI) in conjunction with Rapid Re-Housing (RRH). CT providers who were chosen to pilot a national project to use housing-focused CTI case management in some of the Department of Housing’s RRH programs, will provide an overview of their work, client outcomes, and recommended tools and strategies providers can use to improve the success of their RRH programs.
- Kara Capobianco, LCSW CT Department of Housing
- Randy Grant, MSW New Reach, Inc.
- Jessica Kubicki, LCSW Supportive Housing Works
A-2 STATEWIDE EFFORTS ON ENDING YOUTH HOMELESSNESS Y, S, C:
Youth Engagement Team Initiatives (YETIs) across the state have been working diligently to end youth homelessness in CT by 2020. This workshop will feature innovative work being done by regional youth providers and will highlight new funding resources, current outreach and identification efforts, services and supports, housing options, the Youth Engagement Team Initiatives, and the coordinated statewide effort needed to accomplish this mission.
- Katie Durand, CT Department of Housing
- Michaelle Gonzalez, YAB Youth Continuum
- Kayla Laing, BA Noank Community Support Services
- Tim Maguire, MS Youth Continuum
- Victoria Osborne, The Salvation Army
- Caroline Perez, MPA Columbus House
- Caitlin Rose, LMFT New Reach, Inc.
A-3 YOUTH-LED EFFORTS TO END UNACCOMPANIED MINOR HOMELESSNESS Y, S, C:
Great energy and momentum characterize the scope of efforts to end youth homelessness in CT by 2020, however, many challenges still exist in identifying, engaging, and serving unaccompanied runaway and homeless minors under the age 18. This panel incorporates insight from youth and youth-led campaigns to make specific recommendations for system change.
- Izetta Asikainen, Woodstock Academy
- Sarah Guerette, Ellington High School
- Mikayla Peters, Ellis Technical High School
- Brileigh Suntheimer, Ellis Technical High School
- Kelsey Tyler, Woodstock Academy
A-4 INNOVATIVE PRACTICES IN OUTREACH IN CONNECTICUT P, O:
Outreach is an important component of any systemic approach to addressing homelessness. This panel will look closely at three distinct orientations to outreach with a shared focus of developing community contacts, creativity of organizations and individual actors, and an integration with other systems of care. Participants include a vibrant soup kitchen community, a clinical Health Care for the Homeless provider, and a housing and wrap-around service provider.
- Lydia Brewster, MSW, St. Vincent de Paul Middletown
- Jennifer Paradis, BA, MSOL, Beth-El Center, Inc.
- Taneisha Swindell, Youth Continuum
A-5 NEXT STEPS FOR HOUSING SOLUTIONS FOR CT’S JUSTICE-INVOLVED POPULATION S:
This panel features some of the leading experts on Criminal Justice reform and reentry. Last year, the legislature convened the Commission on Equity and Opportunity (CEO) Working Group which focused on housing solutions for individuals reentering the community from incarceration. This panel will discuss best practices for reentry and how to ensure no one returns from incarceration into homelessness. For more information, see the “Hope for Success: Returning Home” report; a summary of the challenges and recommended solutions that came out of this CEO Reentry Working Group.
- Michael Aiello, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch
- Steven Hernández, Esq., Connecticut General Assembly
- Marc Pelka, CT Office of Policy and Management
A-6 IMPROVING HEALTH OUTCOMES FOR PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS H, S:
Effective collaboration between homeless shelters and health care providers is crucial to improving health outcomes for persons experiencing homelessness. This panel will highlight the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, which has forged close collaborations with several health care providers to bring services into the shelter. Those services include Visiting Nurses, a Community Health Center clinic, and a medical respite in partnership with Lawrence and Memorial Hospital (now part of Yale New Haven Health).
- Tina Belmont,Visiting Nurses Association – Southeastern CT
- Dana Dixon, New London Homeless Hospitality Center
- Catherine Zall, New London Homeless Hospitality Center
A-7 METHODS FOR CREATING A RACIALLY EQUITABLE SYSTEM R, D:
People of color are largely overrepresented in the homeless response system due to the persistent impact of systemic racism. This workshop brings together national experts who will provide methods of identifying racial inequity through data review and introduce methods to redesign the homeless response system, which show promise in leading to more equitable outcomes.
- Marc Dones, National Innovation Service
- Jackie Janosko, National Alliance to End Homelessness
B-1 PREVENTING AND ENDING EARLY CHILDHOOD HOMELESSNESS F, S, C:
Research shows that trauma, such as homelessness experienced during early childhood, contributes to decreased life expectancy, increased health risks, and can potentially start a cycle of homelessness that continues into adulthood. This workshop will feature leading efforts in preventing and ending homelessness among young children. Andrea Cody from Sesame Workshop will be joining our esteemed panelists and discussing Lily, the very first homeless Muppet, and how Lily is helping children in shelter to overcome the trauma of homelessness.
- Michelle Anderson, EdVance
- Nikki Barnofski, New Reach, Inc
- Kama Einhorm, Sesame Workshop
- Harriet Feldlaufer, CT Office of Early Childhood
- Salam Soliman, Child First, Inc.
B-2 TRANSITIONING UNSTABLY HOUSED YOUTH FROM SECONDARY TO POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION Y, S, C:
Youth experiencing homelessness face many challenges in transitioning from high school to college including continued housing insecurity, lack of social and financial supports, balancing work and school, food insecurity, and lack of knowledge of resources. This workshop will bring together Connecticut’s McKinney-Vento Liaisons, faculty, staff, administrators, and students from the CT State Department of Education and the CT colleges and universities Single Point of Contacts (SPOCs). This workshop will specifically share best practices in working with students at risk of/or currently homeless and allow a unique opportunity for McKinney-Vento Liaisons and CT universities and colleges to begin a dialogue for building a solid housing plan and safety net between high school and post-secondary educational institutions.
- Shirley Fan-Chan, National Association of Education for Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)
- Alex Katz, University of Connecticut – Rising Scholars
- Lesley D. Mara, Esq., Connecticut State Colleges and Universities
- Louis Tallarita, CT State Department of Education
B-3 ENGAGING YOUTH ACROSS CONNECTICUT Y, C, P:
Identification, outreach, and engagement are vital parts of the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. Working with local and statewide organizations and associations to help improve the network of trained people available has been a goal of the Youth Outreach and Count and continues to be an emphasis of a comprehensive plan for youth outreach throughout the state. This panel will showcase outstanding partner efforts from Youth Continuum, the Norwich Youth and Family Services Bureau, and the New Britain Public Library.
- Angelo Callis, Norwich Youth and Family Services
- Emma Lo, MD, Connecticut Mental Health Center
- Jason Villani, MLS New Britain Public Library
B-4 HOUSING-FOCUSED SHELTERS IN ACTION O:
This session will feature a panel discussion from four shelters who have made great changes to become more housing–focused and low barrier beginning with a brief overview. Panelists will share changes they have made including new job descriptions for all staff, removing curfews and length of stay policies, and shifting from rules to guest expectations. Time will be available at the end for questions and some one-on-one suggestions.
- Jered Bruzas, St Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury
- Kara Capobianco, LCSW CT Department of Housing
- Sarah DiMaio, The Salvation Army
- David Dudley, New Opportunities – Shelter NOW
- Rebekah Lyas, ImmaCare Inc.
B-5 WORKING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO END HOMELESSNESS S, P:
Law enforcement agencies have a unique opportunity and are a critical component of the coordinated effort to end homelessness. This workshop will look more closely at the role of law enforcement in homeless outreach and crisis response, and discuss ways to clarify and strengthen law enforcement’s role in responding to homelessness, particularly unsheltered homelessness and encampments. This workshop will highlight Connecticut police departments who have locally integrated structured responses to assist people experiencing homelessness.
- Lieutenant Garon Delmonte, Milford Police Department
- Chief Chris Lyddy, Fairfield Police Department
- Nicola Smith-Kea, Arnold Ventures
B-6 FOSTERING PATHWAYS TO CARE FOR THOSE AT RISK FOR SUICIDE H, S:
This workshop will explore the critical issues of homelessness and suicide using a public health approach. Data will be presented to underscore the risk of suicide to individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Participants will learn how to identify warning signs of someone who may be at risk for suicide, learn how to ask directly about suicidal thinking, and learn important action steps to connect someone to care. In addition to these skills, participants will learn about local community resources that can provide support to those at risk.
- Crane Cesario, MBA Capitol Region Mental Health Center
- Karen Hanley, LCSW Community Health Resources, Inc.
- Jessica Loss, LCSW VA Connecticut Healthcare System
- Maureen Pasko, LCSW VA Connecticut Healthcare System
B-7 USING DATA TO ENHANCE SYSTEM PERFORMANCE D, O:
CTCANData.org is a collaborative project of the homelessness response system in CT providing recent and actionable data for our communities to use. This workshop will review the resources available on CTCANData.org and demonstrate how communities are using this platform to truly make data driven decisions.
- Beau Anderson, CT Department of Housing
- Dan Shetler, Columbus House
- Lauren Zimmermann, Supportive Housing Works
C-1 OPTIMIZING CRISIS SOLUTIONS FOR FAMILIES EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS F, O:
This session seeks to enhance an understanding of how to support front-end shelter diversion efforts and increase working relationships with agencies serving families which will allow for increased ownership of creative solutions and systems change.
- Sarah DiMaio, The Salvation Army
- Felicity J. M. Eles, BSW, New Opportunities – Shelter NOW
- Caitlin Rose, LMFT, New Reach, Inc.
C-2 BRIDGING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND HOMELESS SERVICES TO END YOUTH HOMELESSNESS Y, S:
This session will discuss strategies and lessons learned in connecting homeless services and workforce development; two systems that don’t always align, but need each other in order for Connecticut to meet its goal of ending youth homelessness. Participants will hear from youth about what is needed from these systems and best practices will be discussed from local and national viewpoints.
- Rebecca Allen, Melville Charitable Trust
- Lisa Bahadosingh, MS, LPC, Supportive Housing Works
- Rochelle Currie, The Connection Inc.
- Kelly Fitzgerald, United Way of Greater New Haven
- Eliza McNamara, RSS, Supportive Housing Works
- Stacey Violante Cote, JD, MSW, Center for Children’s Advocacy
C-3 PARTNERING WITH HOUSING AUTHORITIES TO PROVIDE A CONTINUUM OF HOUSING SOLUTIONS S:
Increased collaboration between Connecticut’s Coordinated Access Networks (CANs) and local housing authorities have helped to fill existing gaps in the continuum of housing solutions available to homeless households. Highlighted in this workshop will be a collaboration between the City of Hartford, Imagineers LLC, and Journey Home and the work of Elm City Communities in New Haven. Learn about the successes and challenges of implementing voucher preferences for people experiencing homelessness.
- Amanda Gordon, MSW, Journey Home, Inc.
- Evelise Ribeiro, Elm City Communities
- Maria Stoute, Imagineers, LLC
C-4 EMPOWERING THE VOICES OF PEOPLE WITH LIVED EXPERIENCE O:
The perspectives of people with lived experience of homelessness can help to identify opportunities of growth within the homeless response system and inform policies and decision-making. This workshop will highlight current work in client advocacy and will feature those working to bring these voices to the forefront.
- Beatrice Codianni, Sex Workers and Allies Network (SWAN)
- Philip Costello, APRN Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center: Homeless Healthcare
- Laura Noe, Laura Noe Communications, LLC
C-5 ENDING DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING PRACTICES R, S:
Discrimination in housing practices continue to create significant barriers for people belonging to protected classes; particularly people of color who have been directly impacted by targeted policies against them. This workshop will detail housing rights and protections, discuss efforts to prevent discrimination in housing, highlight current legislative and advocacy efforts to reduce barriers for people with criminal records, and more.
- Tracie Bernardi, RSS American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut
- Anderson Curtis, American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut
- Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens, MPA Connecticut Fair Housing Center
C-6 HOUSING AS HEALTH CARE: CONNECTICUT’S PROPOSED MEDICAID SUPPORTIVE HOUSING BENEFIT H:
In his FY20-21 Budget, Governor Lamont is proposing that the State of Connecticut adopt a new benefit under its Medicaid plan that would expand supportive housing options for homeless individuals with complex medical and behavioral health needs. Specifically, this benefit would allow the use of Medicaid to finance wrap-around supportive services that would be paired with federal and state rental assistance. Not only would this benefit expand the availability of supportive housing, it also has the potential for reducing hospitalizations and emergency department visits, improving health, and lowering costs among people with complex health conditions. This workshop will provide history and background on this proposed benefit and on the forthcoming steps that will be taken to adopt and implement it.
- Sarah Gallagher, Corporation for Supportive Housing
- Kate McEvoy, Division of Health Services, State of Connecticut Department of Social Services
- Christi Staples, New England, Corporation for Supportive Housing