(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that with the state’s significantly increased housing efforts over the last few years and focused strategies to end homelessness, the State of Connecticut has reached new record levels and is able to connect every chronically homeless person in the state with permanent housing. Connecticut’s efforts on this front are leading the nation in bringing chronic homelessness to new lows.
This announcement means that the state, in collaboration with its network of nonprofit community providers, has strengthened its housing system to the point that every person who has been verified as being chronically homeless has been matched to permanent housing, and whenever a new episode of chronic homelessness occurs, that person can be matched to housing within 90 days or less.
“The State of Connecticut has established a system where we can quickly identify and rapidly place chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing with the support services they need to maintain stability, thanks to the work of our relevant state agencies operating in collaboration with our network of nonprofit community providers,” Governor Malloy said. “Stable, secure housing is not only a basic human need, but also creates stronger and safer communities where families can thrive, and economic development and job growth can flourish. As many studies have shown, every dollar spent on affordable housing generates multiple times that amount in private economic activity again. Housing is a key component in our success to make Connecticut a robust and more competitive state, and reaching this level is a positive development in these efforts.”
The Governor today joined Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, and groups of housing advocates and local housing providers at an event in Meriden to highlight the milestone.
“With this announcement, Connecticut has reached another critical benchmark in our efforts to end homelessness,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “That every person experiencing chronic homelessness now has housing means that they also have the supports in place to guard against future homelessness. I applaud Governor Malloy, Commissioner Klein, Commissioner Delphin-Rittmon, and all of our partners on this success. I’m proud to live in a state whose leadership understands this economic – and moral – obligation to our citizens.”
“What we’ve accomplished in Connecticut is historic,” Commissioner Klein said. “Our collaborative efforts among governmental entities, nonprofit providers, and the private sector is unprecedented. We are fortunate to have such a strong network of housing providers in Connecticut who have made it their mission to match every person experiencing chronic homelessness to housing. This coordinated response is the reason why we are national leaders in this effort and I applaud the work of each and every one of these hard working men and women.”
“It is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our providers on the ground that all of this is possible. Their ability to work with people and connect them with the appropriate housing and supports is not only what gets people housed, but helps keep them in their homes,” Commissioner Delphin-Rittmon said. “By connecting people to services and supports in their communities, they are giving people the tools they need so they can live successfully in the community of their choice and progress in their recovery.”
Chronic homelessness is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as someone who has been homeless for more than a year, has had at least four separate episodes of homelessness in the past three years that add up to a year, and has a disability. It is one of the most visible and costly forms of homelessness. These individuals tend to cycle in and out of expensive public systems such as emergency rooms, hospitals, and correctional institutions.
Studies have shown that towns and cities can save up to 70 percent of these associated costs by addressing chronic homelessness. Data from UConn has shown that the average annual cost to the state for an individual experiencing homelessness is more than $33,000. Likewise, that annual cost grows to over $122,000 for a family experiencing homelessness. Thus, the Governor explained that these techniques to prevent and end homelessness are saving the state money.
Over the last several years, the state has focused on boosting its homelessness response system through vastly improved data collection and analysis, streamlined referral protocols, coordinated outreach, reformed housing assistance programming, and targeted resources. The state has become a national leader in the area of preventing and ending homelessness. In recent years, Connecticut became:
- The first state in the nation certified by the federal government as ending chronic homelessness among veterans (August 2015); and
- The second state in the nation certified by the federal government as effectively end homelessness among all veterans (February 2016).
Since 2011, together with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the state has created 9,037 affordable housing units with an additional 2,943 currently under construction, and funding commitments are in place to create another 5,200 affordable units. During that same time, the state’s investment in affordable housing has totaled over $1 billion. This investment, coupled with contributions from the private sector, amounts to over $3.5 billion of economic activity generated in the housing sector in just the past six years.