Homelessness & Housing Legislative Update
Connecticut faces a difficult budget climate this session. The budget deficit for 2016-2017 is estimated to be more than $500 million dollars. The Governor has proposed a budget that will account for this shortfall. Unlike in the past, the Governor’s proposal is not a standard line-item budget, but, instead, proposes to move CT to a block grant system, whereby each state agency would receive a gross amount, which would be budgeted by that agency with a mandate to prioritize funding of “core services.”
The Governor has proposed rolling over into the new fiscal year the cuts made to the budget by the legislature for the current fiscal year, and cutting 5.75% from the budget of every agency, including our most important state partners, the Departments of Housing (DOH) and Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). Because of the proposed block grant system, we do not yet know what impact these cuts might have with regard to homelessness and housing programs.
We also know that the Governor has remained strong in his support of efforts to end homelessness, generally, and of the Zero: 2016 Campaign, in particular — noting in his address to the legislature that Connecticut is working to end chronic homelessness across our state this year.
We intend to highlight for the legislature the important progress toward ending homelessness, while drawing their attention to the shared legislative agenda that many providers have worked hard to develop through Reaching Home. (Click here for out legislative recommendations).
We will note that Connecticut is making significant progress towards our goal of ending homelessness in Connecticut, through the unprecedented support of Governor Malloy, the legislature, and the Departments of Housing and Mental Health and Addiction Services:
- Connecticut became the first state in the nation recognized by the federal government for ending chronic homelessness among Veterans in 2015.
- Connecticut is on track in the Zero: 2016 Campaign to end chronic homelessness (the long-term homelessness of people with severe disabilities) by the end of this year.
- The 2015 Point-in-Time (PIT) count (annual census of homelessness) showed the lowest number of homeless counted in CT since the first count in 2007.
- Unsheltered homelessness was down 32% since 2013 PIT count.
- Chronic homelessness decreased by 21% from the 2014 PIT count.
We are making great strides toward ending all forms of homelessness in Connecticut, improving the lives of those who have experienced homelessness and improving our communities that have struggled with this issue.
In order to maintain this positive momentum, we will be asking for the support of the Administration and the legislature for the investments in effective solutions.
We will send further updates to you as new information on the budget process comes available. We urge you to work with your community to ensure that you have good representation at the Capitol from your CAN for Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Days (March 2 and 3 — for information click here).
Meantime, thank you — for all you do every day for those most in need.
|Lisa Tepper Bates
Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness
Partnerships for Strong Communities
Call your representatives in Congress and ask to speak to staffers working on health related issues or send them an e-mail.
Click here to contact the Offices of Senator Blumenthal and Senator Murphy.
Click here to contact the Offices of Congresswoman Esty, Congresswoman DeLauro, Congressman Larson, Congressman Himes, and Congressman Courtney.