Restore DOH Housing and Homelessness line item to $78.6M
Governor’s Proposed Budget FY-19
Department of Housing
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Please use these talking points as a basis for your testimony and tailor accordingly.
Senator Osten, Senator Formica, Representative Walker, Representative Ziobron, and Members of the Committee, thank you for hearing my testimony today on the important investments through the Department of Housing to support efforts to end homelessness in CT.
• Connecticut is making progress to end homelessness – saving lives and saving public dollars. Preserving state investments will allow us to maintain progress.
• We recognize that Connecticut is in a place where tough choices have to be made to our state budget.
• Governor Malloy and our legislative leaders have long understood and supported the importance of ending homelessness in our state in both fiscal and human terms.
• The proposed budget adjustments include reductions in funding for critical housing and homelessness services and supports, including:
A $1.08 million reduction to the DOH Housing/Homeless Services line item for frontline housing/homeless services, outreach, emergency shelters, and the Rental Assistance Program (RAP), which are essential to aid those who have fallen into homelessness and move them quickly to permanent housing. The Rental Assistance Program funds the rental subsidies which make Supportive Housing possible. Supportive Housing continues to be the most effective housing model to assist people experiencing chronic homelessness and is proven to cut public system costs by up to 70%. Please restore this funding to the level approved in the biennial budget passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor on October 31, 2017 at $78.6 million.
o The Homeless Youth line item: Youth outreach services, crisis housing for youth, and housing services and supports are essential services to transition youth from crisis to stability. Please restore this funding to the level approved in the biennial budget ay $2.3 million.
• Connecticut continues to lead the nation in efforts to address the important and expensive problem of homelessness.
• Investments are working: numbers of those experiencing homelessness are going down year after year. Our 2017 annual numbers of homeless reflect the lowest annual total since 2012 — a 34% drop in just five years.
• CT was recognized in 2016 by the federal government as one of the first two states in the nation to end homelessness among Veterans.
• From January 2015 to December 2017, CT providers housed 1,948 people experiencing chronic homelessness, bringing CT within reach of our goal of ending chronic homelessness.
• Since January 2014, there has been a 62% decrease in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness (long-term homelessness with a severe disability). In September 2017, there were 197 adults experiencing chronic homelessness in CT — the lowest number to date.
• Cuts to these services would risk reversing the substantial progress we have made to end chronic homelessness. Cuts to these critically important services could mean increases in unsheltered, high-need homelessness — taking us the wrong direction, and imposing new costs on our communities.
• PLEASE ADD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THESE PROGRAMS IN YOUR COMMUNITY, AND PLEASE SHARE ANY STORIES THAT YOU CAN WITH REGARD TO SPECIFIC, ANONYMOUS INDIVIDUALS.
• Homelessness is an unacceptable condition for any Connecticut resident, and an expensive public policy problem. Investments in frontline homeless services, permanent supportive housing, and support services save public resources and help families and individuals transition to housing, stability, and hope.
• Thank you for hearing my testimony and thank you for your support to efforts to end homelessness in Connecticut.