Three New Haven homeless assistance organizations plan to use funding awarded by the state last week to continue providing housing subsidies and supportive services for the homeless.
Columbus House, New Reach and Liberty Community Services are among the 15 homeless assistance organizations in the state to receive funding, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced last Wednesday. The New Haven organizations received $116,000 in total to help fulfill Zero:2016, a national initiative aimed at ending veteran and chronic homelessness by 2016. Connecticut is one of five states in the country that was selected to participate in the initiative.
“Between the creativity of our providers and the resources that the governor put at the disposal of providers, there will be 176 new units of permanent supportive housing [for the chronically homeless],” said Lisa Tepper Bates SOM ’09, executive director of Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness — one of two organizations coordinating the Zero:2016 effort in Connecticut. “The next two years are very important in our effort to end chronic homelessness, and that’s what we’re moving toward.”
A chronically homeless individual, according to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, is someone who has experienced homelessness for at least one year, or who has experienced at least four separate instances of homelessness in the last three years and has a disability.
Permanent supportive housing, for which New Reach and Columbus House are applying their funding, includes housing subsidies, assistance with job searches and services for homeless people suffering from mental health or substance abuse disorders.
According to the 2014 Point in Time count, an annual tally of homeless people across the state led by CCEH, 52 percent of homeless adults deal with substance abuse and 41 percent have mental illnesses.
Although Malloy’s recent announcement only addressed veteran and chronic homelessness, New Reach and Liberty Community Services will also use their funding to provide services for homeless families and coordinated access to housing, where the homeless can find information about available housing through one centralized network.
“It’s important to remember that we are focusing on chronic and veteran homelessness through the federal plan to end homelessness, but we can’t forget about families while we’re working on those two populations, so the fact that we were awarded this money is really a testament to the state’s commitment to working with all populations of homeless,” said Kellyann Day, CEO of New Reach.
Liberty Community Services executive director John Bradley ’81, who serves as the associate master of Branford College, said that his organization will use its funding to continue building centralized access to homeless assistance agencies. This initiative started during the 100-Day Challenge, an effort that secured housing for 102 homeless individuals in Greater New Haven during a 100-day period last summer.
Allison Cunningham, executive director of Columbus House, said that she was excited about the funding and that Columbus House will use the funding to provide 24 permanent supportive housing units, including five for veteran homeless persons.