FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Connecticut is on track to meet its goal of ending chronic homelessness by the end of the year, officials announced this week in Norwalk
In 2014 Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed onto the Zero: 2016 Initiative, whose goal is to end chronic homelessness by the end of this year. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development definition, a chronically homeless individual is someone who has experienced a lng period of homelessness and lives with a severely disabling condition.
On Wednesday the state Department of Housing and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness co-sponsored an event at the Fair Street Apartments in Norwalk. In front of a packed crowd of housing providers from the Fairfield County region, DOH Commissioner Evonne Klein, CCEH Executive Director Tepper Bates and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes joined in recognition of the news that Connecticut is expected to meet its year-end goal based on current data projections.
“Connecticut has been a national leader in our efforts to end both veteran and chronic homelessness and we are proud of the significant role our state has played in helping the nation reach this major milestone,” Malloy said. “It is our responsibility to ensure the brave men and women who have served our country have all the support they need upon returning home, including access to housing, healthcare, and career opportunities. Ensuring and delivering housing for our most vulnerable is critical to building stronger communities for everyone, everywhere.”
“Thanks to the incredible support, hard work, and dedication of our local providers on the ground, Connecticut is nationally recognized for its efforts to not only prevent but also to eliminate homelessness,” said Klein. “These numbers show that our efforts are paying off. We’ve effectively ended veteran homelessness thanks to our coordination and collaboration and because of that we will end chronic homelessness too.”
Since last year, 981 people have been placed into permanent housing as a result of a new approach to homelessness that involves a strong coordination among local providers as well as the municipal, state, and federal government. Since last October, 142 individuals living with chronic homelessness have been permanently housed in the Fairfield county region. These chronically homeless individuals are considered “high need” and they generally require support services to ensure successful placement into permanent housing, thus preventing them from falling back into homelessness.
“Over the past couple of years, we have seen incredible collaboration between nonprofits, state, and federal partners,” said Bates. “With this incredible team work, we are making great strides—we’ve ended Veteran homelessness in Connecticut, and in a few short months, we will end chronic homelessness.”
Himes said, “Thank you to all of the organizations and state agencies who have worked so hard to make Connecticut the first state to end chronic veteran homelessness and one of only two to end veteran homelessness entirely. This is both a testament to the power of government to achieve positive things in our society and a display of our priorities here in Connecticut. The job is never done, however. As long as there are men and women at risk of homelessness, we must continue our efforts so that no one falls through the cracks. I will continue advocating on the federal level to make sure we have the support we need to continue this vital work, and stand proud today for what our state has achieved.”
In August 2015, Connecticut became the first state in the nation recognized by the federal government for ending chronic veteran homelessness. The state again made history when at the end of 2015 it was certified as being one of only two to have effectively eliminated all veteran homelessness.
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