“I was once homeless. Eighteen years old in the dead of winter, all my belongings in my car – everything I needed daily in the front seat, all my clothes in the backseat, everything else I needed in the trunk, and the rest of it in a box in my mom’s closet.
Needless to say, it was hard. Holy heck, it was hard.
I met a lot of people in similar situations while I was floating around from house to house struggling to get enough to eat, constantly looking for work I could hold down while trying to keep it secret that everything I held truly dear, lived in my glove compartment.”
There are nearly 4500 young people in CT experiencing the pain and hardship similar to what Artemis went through, based on the recent statewide Youth Count in January. The Partnership and our many partners in social services and housing are working to end youth homelessness in CT by the end of 2020, to make sure every youth and young adult in our state has a safe place to rest and grow to their potential.
“I didn’t know anything about the resources that were available to me, had I known, I might not have struggled so much during those months. But since I joined the Youth Action Hub (YAH) in 2015 as a researcher, I now know a lot more about youth homelessness in our state.”
YAH is one of the partners in the Reaching Home campaign to end homelessness in Connecticut. YAH is a center of research and advocacy run by Dr. Heather Mosher at the Institute for Community Research. The Hub is staffed by people that are Artemis’ age (16-24 years old) who have experienced homelessness/housing instability, and trained as action researchers so that the voices of young people are included in research and policy advocacy around youth homelessness in Connecticut.
"When I came to work at the Institute for Community Research, I realized I was not the only one who had struggled, and I was being given an opportunity to give back alongside some of the people who had experienced similar troubles as me. Researching the services in CT that allow people to access the help they need was eye-opening, and I immediately wished someone had been working to make sure I was being taken care of back when I was going through homelessness.
Each of us working at YAH feels a personal connection to the work, each of us knowing a person - or a younger version of ourselves - that could benefit from improving youth access to housing and service information in our state, and even nationally. Our truly unique perspective gives us a way to design our studies with youth in mind, so that the youth of tomorrow will never know the struggles of today.”
Help us end youth homelessness by donating to the Partnership for Strong Communities on Giving Tuesday.
June 2017 Reaching Home Campaign Quarterly Report
October 16, 2017
As supporters of Partnership for Strong Communities we believe you should know exactly what we are working on and how we are leveraging each dollar of your contribution to our agency. Please take a look at the June 2017 Quarterly Report to get a snapshot of how we are tirelessly working to end homelessness and expand affordable housing choices for all Connecticut residents.
Increasing the Stock of Affordable and Supportive Housing
The Affordable Housing workgroup has made substantial contributions to the efforts of Reaching Home and is at a juncture where it is going through structural changes to best serve the needs of the campaign. The group reviewed ideas that were generated from the “lease up” meeting that took place with the workgroup chairs, PSC, HUD, CAN representatives, DOH and CHFA. A number of action steps were identified during this meeting, including priorities to increase access to CHFA units developed after 2014 to be linked to the CAN process. Members of the group will continue to be actively engaged in the work outlined through specific projects and initiatives.
Retooling the Crisis Response System Workgroup
Through our Zero: 2016 initiative, Connecticut reached a major milestone in the effort to end chronic homelessness, an important driver of the work of Retooling and of the Coordinated Access Network (CAN) Leadership groups. As of December, 2016, every person in Connecticut verified as chronically homeless (per the HUD definition) had been matched to a housing resource. Our aim, going forward, is to maintain the statewide average of housing verified chronically homeless clients in 90 days or less, and to shorten the length of time it takes to verify chronic homelessness. Given current resource constraints, progress has slowed, and the Re-Tooling Workgroup will be working to respond to the request of CAN Leadership Sub-Group participants for creative solutions to expand housing options for those verified as chronically homeless. The CAN Leadership Subgroup continues to play an important role in driving change at the local level, bringing key concerns and important coordination issues to a statewide forum to improve implementation of Coordinated Access and progress on headline goals, like ending chronic homelessness. The Retooling WG will increase focus on the next goals of Opening Doors-CT: ending youth and family homelessness by the end of 2020, including working more intensively with the Youth and Family Workgroup plans. Our goal is to help ensure that specific efforts to respond to the needs of different populations are coordinated and integrated within our homeless crisis response system.
Integrating Healthcare and Housing Stability
The Health and Housing Stability Workgroup continues to identify innovative strategies to integrate health, corrections and housing sectors. Community Care Teams (CCT) bring healthcare providers and homelessness providers together to better serve those who are high utilizers of emergency departments and who are experiencing homelessness and have increased to more than 13 across the state. The quantitative evaluation, which includes all of the 5 pilot CCT teams, has been completed and will be published in June.
A major focus for the leadership has been to establish a framework for next steps in the scope of workgroup priorities, including integrating data, healthcare reform policies both nationally and at the state level, Medical respite, opioid/substance use, the role of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and CT’s aging population.
The workgroup continues to keep a close watch on the budgetary and healthcare changes, including the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid reforms and will work together to align strategies with the ever changing landscape.
Families with Children Workgroup
Our workgroup is committed to working collaboratively other work groups to ensure that we are not duplicating efforts. We have shared our work plan with the Re-tooling the Crisis Response System and the Affordable Housing work groups to solicit their feedback and input as we embark on strategies that are strongly correlated to their work.
The pilot between 211, Child Development Info (CDI) Line and the Southeastern Coordinated Access Network (CAN) to test a systematic approach to ensuring that development concerns are addressed was planned to begin in the Spring of 2017. This pilot is currently on hold until the state’s budget has been confirmed as funding for this pilot may be in jeopardy. The group has been identifying all the existing coordination models (i.e. Care Coordination, CANs’ family placement meetings) that are occurring around the state to figure out how to coordinate these efforts at statewide/regional/local levels to best meet the needs of families who are experiencing homelessness. On March 31st many group members attended CCEH’s convening of homeless family providers across the state. Sharon McDonald from NAEH was a key note speaker and offered national efforts to address family homelessness and what can be learned from providers across the country, particularly young families. In Connecticut, childcare assistance was one of the most popular needs of families experiencing homeless. The Families with Children Workgroup will continue to help advocate for having homeless families be categorically eligible for Care for Kids as well as be prioritized for summer enrichment programs, Head Start, and other childcare programs. During the next quarter, the group will be conducting a series of facilitated sessions to prioritize activities developed in the work plan into phases.
Ending Homelessness Among Veterans
For more information on the Veterans Workgroup, contact Katie Durand at Kathleen.Durand@ct.gov.
Meeting the Needs of Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
The Youth and Young Adult Homelessness Workgroup is working on several fronts to meet the goal of ending youth homelessness in 2020. One subgroup of the Workgroup is preparing a Coordinated Community Plan to submit to HUD as required by the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program grant. The grant provides ~$6.5m to CT BOS to assist in Connecticut’s work toward ending youth homelessness. As part of preparing the Plan, subgroup members have been meeting with regional Youth Engagement Teams (YETI’s) to get input on regional needs and resources as well as key stakeholders to address system engagement on a variety of fronts.
The Workgroup has also been engaged in a System Dynamic Modeling (SDM) project to better understand critical leverage points for targeting interventions to end youth homelessness. The SDM subgroup has planned and executed 5 group model building sessions with key stakeholders (including providers, youth/young adults, and system involved professionals) and will be holding 4 additional sessions specific to youth and young adults in the month of June. Due to delayed planning grant funding from HUD, the timeline for the SDM project has been extended.
In other news, CT completed its second-ever Homeless Youth Count. The Count, spearheaded by CT Coalition to End Homelessness, occurred in January and the findings were released in May. Thanks to the hard work of the YETI’s for strengthening the Youth Count and helping us to get a better representation of youth homelessness and housing instability across the state. This is especially important since HUD announced it would be using 2017 as the baseline year for measuring progress in ending youth homelessness. The Youth Count found a total of 4,396 youth and young adults who are homeless and housing unstable in CT. More information here (beginning p 18): http://cceh.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/CT-Counts-2017.pdf
For more information about:
Youth and Young Adult Homelessness Workgroup, Stacey Violante Cote, email@example.com
Youth Count, Mimi Haley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project, Katie Durand, (Kathleen.email@example.com).