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Homelessness In State Continues To Decline

Homelessness In State Continues To Decline

CT News Junkie, June 25, 2019

By Jack Kramer

The number of homeless on a given day in Connecticut is estimated at 3,033 people, representing a 10% decrease in homelessness since 2018, according to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH).

CCEH recently released the results of the 2019 point-in-time count indicating that the number of people experiencing homelessness continues to decrease.

The latest number — 3,033 —  is also a 32% decrease since 2007, the first year that annual counts took place.

The homeless count was taken on Jan. 22, 2019.

The count also found that chronic homelessness continues to decline. The number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness decreased by 32% since 2018 and 75% since 2014, the year when Connecticut set a goal to end chronic homelessness.

The count also found that family homelessness continues to decline: 305 families with children were experiencing homelessness; a decrease of 18% from 2018.

The number of homeless veterans remains low: 50 veterans were identified in homeless shelters, and 13 unsheltered individuals self-identified as veterans; that’s 12 more sheltered veterans than there were in the 2018 count, which identified 38 veterans in shelter and 13 unsheltered veterans.

The one area which showed an increase in homelessness was the total number of homeless or unstably housed youth ages 14 to 24.

The data showed that in 2019 an estimated 245 youth, ages 14 to 17 years old, were homeless, and 2,308 are unstably housed. For 18- to 24-year-olds the estimate is that 2,430 were homeless in 2019 and 4,320 were unstably housed.

This estimate is considerably higher than the estimates in 2017 and 2018.

The report noted that while it is certainly possible that the rate of homelessness among people aged 14 to 24 has increased, the methodology used to make the estimate has also changed. The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness oversaw a much more rigorous effort to collect surveys from both stably housed and unstably housed youth in 2019, which also permitted a more nuanced basis for calculating an estimate.

“These results show that the coordinated response system that Connecticut has built is working to both prevent people from falling into homelessness or quickly resolve it when it cannot be avoided,” CCEH Chief Executive Officer Richard Cho said.  

Solvable problem? back to top

Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said that “Connecticut is proving that homelessness is solvable. It’s no longer a question of whether Connecticut will end homelessness, it is just a question of when and the answer to that question depends on how quickly our state can deliver the affordable housing that our citizenry needs.”

A lot of homelessness is related to untreated mental health issues. 

“The findings from the count challenge us to strengthen our outreach programs and build upon our strategies to identify and engage individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, who tend to have higher rates of mental health and addiction issues,” said Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Connecticut might be a national leader, but “we have more work to do and I will not quit until we can make sure that every person and family has a safe and stable home in our great state.”

The annual point-in-time count is a census of people experiencing homelessness conducted by states and communities across the country during the last two weeks in January and is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Connecticut’s statewide count is organized by CCEH and took place this year on the night of Jan. 22, during which hundreds of volunteers including homeless services providers, elected and public officials, students, and members of the public canvassed geographic sample areas across the state to survey people in shelters or staying outside or in places not meant for human habitation.