Legislative Session Summary: State Budget Supports Substantial Investments in Housing
The budget passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor maintains funding for services to address homelessness and allows for important new investments in housing. Please see, below, a detailed review of the legislative session and the budget items that are vital to our shared efforts to end homelessness.
On June 29th, the legislature passed the budget, the implementer bill, and the bond package. Governor Malloy signed them into law on June 30th. These bills secure key funding for the many programs that provide shelter and services, and fund safe, secure, and affordable housing for Connecticut residents. The new investments will help our efforts to end veteran homelessness by 2015 and chronic homelessness by 2016.
Prior to passage, the governor and the legislature were under a great deal of pressure to reduce taxes and cut spending to critical human services. Your voices helped to ensure that our elected leaders understood the important and positive impact of investing to end homelessness, and were willing to work to preserve those investments during this difficult legislative session.
Since January, homeless service providers have contributed to the effort through calls, emails and letters of support to your legislators. In April, over 200 homeless providers and clients participated in Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Days to share how investments in housing and services for those experiencing homelessness have strengthened communities across the state. Over two days, and through your efforts, we reached directly more than 80 legislators and their staff. We thank you for coming to the Capitol to raise your voice, and for your tireless support and actions that helped to secure funding needed to continue our important work. The message bears repeating: Housing works! Ending homelessness improves lives and communities and saves public funds!
Throughout the session, CCEH and frontline providers advocated for several major components of the budget, in tandem with our Opening Doors-CT partners, including:
CT Collaborative for Re-Entry: 200 scattered site units of permanent supportive housing over two years for those who frequently cycle through the criminal justice and homeless systems.
The final budget includes:
- $1 million in FY ‘16 and $2 million in FY ‘17 for support services provided by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS);
- another $900,000 in FY ‘16 and $1.8 million in FY ‘17 for Department of Housing (DOH) rental subsidies to support 200 new units of supportive housing related to the Governor’s Second Chance Initiative:
- the Connecticut Collaborative on Re-Entry (formally known as FUSE), serving those who frequently cycle through the criminal justice system and homeless shelter services.
Zero: 2016 Chronic Homelessness Services:
- $1 million for services each year to meet Connecticut’s goal of ending chronically homelessness by the end of 2016.
- $1 million in FY ’16 and $1 million in FY ‘17 to DMHAS for wraparound services for chronically homeless individuals as part of the Governor’s Zero: 2016 initiative.
Homeless Youth Services:
- $1 million annually for housing stabilization and outreach toward meeting Connecticut’s goal of ending family and youth homelessness by 2020.
- $1 million in each year for the Homeless Youth Program in the Department of Children and Families.
- $405 million for affordable housing and programs to end homelessness.
- $135 million in each year of the biennium for the FLEX program, including $30 million in each year for the revitalization of the state housing portfolio, $40 million in FY’16 and $25 million in FY’17 for the Housing Trust Fund.
Homelessness Prevention and Response Fund:
- $15 million of bonding in each year of the biennium for the Homeless Prevention and Response Fund for forgivable loans and grants to landlords in exchange for rapid re-housing and scattered site supportive housing.