Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday, Jan. 21 that Connecticut has been chosen for Zero: 2016, a national initiative organized by the nonprofit Community Solutions dedicated to ending veteran and chronic homelessness within the next two years. Governor Malloy also announced an expansion of existing permanent housing subsidies towards that goal. The announcement was made before housing advocates at the Lyceum conference center in Hartford.
“Connecticut has the opportunity to be the first state in the union to end homelessness among our veterans as well as chronic homelessness for people with disabilities within two years. Even though it’s a bold goal, it’s now within our reach,” Governor Malloy said. “We’re taking the lead nationally on this issue not only because it’s good for our economy and makes our communities stronger, but because it’s morally right. We’re making progress for the short and the long-term, because our veterans deserve our support.”
The goal of ending homelessness among veterans and those who are chronically homeless is particularly viable in Connecticut. According to recent surveys, there are about 1000 Veterans and about 2400 chronically homeless people with disabilities in the state.
“I applaud Governor Malloy, Commissioner Klein, and the many state and federal partners who are working to end chronic homelessness and homelessness among veterans,” said Lt. Governor Wyman. “Connecticut’s historic investment in housing has helped thousands of residents rebuild their lives, rejoin the workforce, and establish themselves in our communities. Our participation in Zero: 2016 gets us even closer to our goal of safe, supportive housing for our most vulnerable residents.”
“We continue to see great progress in our efforts to end chronic and veteran homelessness. Acceptance into the Zero: 2016 initiative will bolster these efforts, providing us with another tool to help reach our goal of stamping out homelessness in Connecticut,” said Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein.
The Governor also announced the state Department of and Mental Health and Addiction Services is awarding 15 private, not-for-profit agencies 1.1 million dollars to provide in-home supportive services to 176 recently housed persons who have experienced chronic homelessness. The in-home services, located in every region in the state, include: referrals to mental health, substance abuse, dental and medical treatment, employment services, budgeting, landlord and tenant mediation, tenancy and daily living skills.
The announcement comes after the state worked to fund 110 Rental Assistance Program housing vouchers through the State Department of Housing, ensuring that participants will not pay more than 30% of their income toward rent. Four local Housing Authorities have partnered with some of the funded agencies to provide rental subsidies to an additional 66 participants, for a total of 176.
Chronic homelessness is defined by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development as “an individual who is homeless and lives in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter for at least one year or on at least four separate occasions in the last 3 years and can be diagnosed with one or more of the following conditions: substance use disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability (post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive impairments resulting from brain injury, or chronic physical illness or disability).”
Recipients of the new supporting housing subsidies are as follows: Columbus House, New Reach (formerly New Haven Home Recovery) and Liberty Community Services in New Haven; Community Health Resources in Enfield/Manchester/Willimantic; Mercy Housing and ImmaCare (formerly Immaculate Conception Shelter and Housing Corporation) in Hartford; Central CT Coast YMCA (Alpha Community Services) in Bridgeport; Homes With Hope and Continuum of Care in Norwalk; St. Vincent de Paul in Middletown/Middlesex County; Reliance House in Norwich; Friendship Service Center in New Britain; Chrysalis Center in Harford; Center for Human Development in Danbury; and St. Vincent’s Medical Center (Hall Brooke) in Bridgeport/Norwalk.