Details for the Thursday September 7th Rally to Protect Community Services, to be held from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm around the North Steps of the state Capital have been announced by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and the Partnership for Strong Communities. A strong showing is needed. Parking is available on site and at the Legislative Office Building parking garage. To RSVP your attendance and for more information, click here.
August 23, 2017
URGENT BUDGET ADVOCACY UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 7 “PASS A BUDGET” DEMONSTRATION
Today Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness Executive Director Lisa Tepper-Bates and Partnership for Strong Communities Executive Director Alicia Woodsby jointly communicated to Opening Doors Fairfield County Co-Chair David Rich and other senior leaders of social services agencies urging that vigorous advocacy efforts be maintained while our state is without a budget, and, to demonstrate solidarity in numbers Thursday September 7th in Hartford.
Opening Doors Fairfield County joins Lisa and Alicia in asking that the greater Opening Doors community turn out in strength of numbers September 7th for this critical demonstration. The full text of their message follows:
We’re sending this email to you today as a senior leader in efforts to end homelessness in Connecticut to update you on discussions with partner coalitions regarding a demonstration in September in support of passing a budget that protects funding for social services.
The Governor’s revised Executive Order Allocation plan restores some funding for homelessness services and supports. This is good news, but only governs state funding so long as there is not a final budget. We appreciate the calls and emails you have been sending to advocate for homelessness assistance funding. It is critical that we maintain our collective efforts until a final budget is passed.
As we noted to you last week, CCEH and PSC continue to work with other coalitions that represent human services to develop a plan for a broad-based demonstration. We would join together to make the argument that the legislature needs to pass a budget as soon as possible – and that budget must protect critical resources for human services, including our efforts to end homelessness.
Due to developments in Hartford regarding the timing of possible September budget negotiations, we have agreed with partners to move up the tentative date of the demonstration to Thursday, September 7, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
We will need your help to turn out as many people as possible! A strong turnout will be critical in underscoring to legislators the importance of protecting funding for core social services.
Thank you for all you do every day, and thank you for lending your voice to our advocacy efforts.
Lisa Tepper Bates Alicia Woodsby
Executive Director, CCEH Executive Director, Partnership for Strong Communities
A key indicator that real headway is being made in ending homelessness in Connecticut are the encouraging results of the annual Point-in-Time count, also known as the “PIT” Count, which took place statewide on January 24th 2017. Results of this year’s PIT Count, released on May 18 by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, show that homelessness in Connecticut has declined for the third straight year, trending steadily downward among our most vulnerable neighbors, especially the chronically homeless, 90% of whom struggle with mental illness.
As stated in the 2017 PIT Count report, which can be accessed at www.cceh.org, “the January 24th count showed that overall homelessness in Connecticut is down 13 percent compared to 2016, and down by 24 percent since 2007, the first year the census was conducted statewide.” The 2017 count represents the lowest totals ever [recorded] in a statewide CT PIT Count for individuals, families, veterans, and the chronically homeless. Surveyors identified 3,387 individuals experiencing homelessness, down from 3,902 in 2016.
Within Fairfield County, covering communities from Greenwich to Stratford along the I-95 corridor, the count was coordinated by Opening Doors Fairfield County (ODFC). Despite having the state’s most expensive housing cost, results for the region showed a consistent decline in homelessness. On the night of January 24, 2017, 778 people were reported as experiencing homelessness in Fairfield County, down from 886 and 904 in 2016 and 2015 respectively; a 14% drop over two years. There was also substantial progress in reducing the number of individuals who experience chronic homelessness, (defined as those experiencing long-term homeless and living with severe disabilities), with a 40% a decrease over the past two years.
The ODFC PIT Count results are a result of state investments prioritized to end homelessness by the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, coupled with tremendous collaborative efforts that coordinate and target resources at the local level through ODFC’s Coordinated Access Network (CAN). Operational for nearly three years, the region’s CAN moves people from homelessness to housing as quickly and efficiently as possible starting with a single call to 2-1-1. This single-point-of-access has improved outcomes for those experiencing homelessness in Fairfield County, and has led to significant cost efficiencies in serving the most vulnerable homeless.
David Rich, co-chair of Opening Doors Fairfield County and Executive Director of Supportive Housing Works in Bridgeport, said in regards to the results of the 2017 count and the year-over-year downward trend, “It is remarkable what we, as a crisis response system, have been able to do to reduce chronic homelessness— historically the most difficult form of homelessness to address.” He further said, “Despite the solid results that have been achieved through intense regional collaboration and effective allocation of community resources, we cannot lessen our efforts to ensure that every chronically homeless individual in the county is housed in 2017. And, I strongly believe we are on track to end family and youth homelessness by 2020.”
The results of the 2017 PIT count reveal the long-term effectiveness of the national Opening Doors strategy in addressing homelessness in Fairfield County and across the state. These results are proof that effective regional provider coordination, including the collaborative prioritization of efforts and resources, should be directed to end all forms of homelessness, such as youth and family homelessness. An estimated 4,396 youth under age 25 reported being homeless or unstably housed on the night of January 24 in Connecticut.
“Connecticut is on the path to ending homelessness,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “These positive and tangible improvements [in our crisis response system] are the result of numerous policy decisions and [behind-the-scenes] work people don’t see when the legislature is crafting a budget, and the dedication of the many nonprofit and community organizations laboring every day on the front lines.”
For more information, please contact David Rich at (860)671-1715 or email email@example.com
Members of Opening Doors Fairfield County attended the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference held in Washington D.C. They were joined by more than 2,000 service providers, government leaders, advocates and consumers attending workshops covering the most pressing issues in ending homelessness.
Highlights of the three days included keynote addresses from Alliance President and CEO, Nan Roman and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. ODFC members also heard an inspiring speech from Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee.
Some members of ODFC also participated in Capitol Hill visits to send a strong message that ending homelessness in Fairfield County must be a priority. Meetings were held with both Senator Chris Murphy and Senator Richard Blumenthal’s Offices.
Members of Opening Doors Fairfield County were part of the Connecticut team that convened in Washington DC for the CSH Social Innovation Fund (SIF) national initiative. This five-year effort effectively demonstrated how supportive housing pulls people with the most complex issues out of the revolving door of costly crisis services.
Findings from the evaluation of the SIF Supportive Housing Program were presented by New York University’s evaluation team and concluded this program reduced utilization of shelters and costly health care, primarily through reduced hospitalizations. These reductions can substantially offset program costs.
Connecticut was joined by providers from Los Angeles (CA), San Francisco (CA), Ann Arbor (MI) to advance their plans to sustain an effective model that integrates health and housing supports and resources to more effectively and more efficiently provide care to vulnerable people. The Connecticut SIF team also advocated for key homeless programs on Capitol Hill meeting with the offices of Senator Chris Murphy and Representative Rosa DeLauro.