Annual Homelessness Counts
In January, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) led two efforts to quantify the number of homeless people in the state. We had more than 400 volnteers for the Point In Time Count and countless numbers of organizations, schools and colleges participated in the Youth Count!. You can read the full press release below.
Hartford, CT (February 6, 2018) — In January, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) led two efforts to quantify the number of homeless people in the state, one to gather the overall total and another to count the number of homeless teenagers and young adults.
The annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count took place on the night of January 23, and involved more than 400 volunteers fanning out across the state to count those experiencing homelessness, including in emergency shelters and on the streets. The Point-in-Time Count is the largest national data collection event on homelessness. The Count is required by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop the data crucial to assessing the success of current programs, progress made nationally in the fight to end homelessness, and to determine future resource allocations for the upcoming year.
For those experiencing homelessness, the Count offers a chance for them to connect with volunteer surveyors who can record their needs, and connect them with local housing resources and services that assist them.
The Point-in-Time Count was accompanied by the 2018 CT Youth Count!, a week-long event (Jan. 24-30) to count homeless and housing-unstable youth and young adults up to age 24 in the state. In all, more than 300 volunteers administered surveys to potentially homeless youth and young adults on campuses and in “hotspots” — including bus stations, on the streets, and in libraries — where homeless youth are likely to gather.
“The PIT and the Youth Count! provide critical information to measure our progress on ending homelessness from year to year, as well as to identify people in need of help,” said CCEH Executive Director Lisa Tepper Bates. “These are big efforts, and we are deeply grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who make them both possible.”
Results from the two counts will be available in May on the CCEH website.
Connecticut has achieved specific milestones that attest substantial progress in recent years in the effort to end homelessness:
- the first state certified by the federal government as ending chronic homelessness among veterans (2015)
- one of the first two states to functionally end all homelessness among veterans (2016)
- the first state in the nation to match to a housing resource every individual documented as chronically homeless (2016).
Building on this success, Connecticut’s next goals are to end the homelessness of families and youth by 2020.
“We had incredible volunteer turnout this year and are so thankful for the great work of communities across the state to help make these young people more visible and continue to work together to strengthen the local safety net around them,” said Mary Ann Haley, CCEH deputy director and lead on efforts to combat youth homelessness. “We had more than 4,000 surveys conducted and lots of new participation from schools, libraries, probation officers, youth organizations, shelters, community health centers, and local businesses.”
To conduct the Youth Count! CCEH also worked closely with partners in the statewide Reaching Home campaign to end homelessness, as well as with Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) for the first time. CCEH is working to implement a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) system for college students in Connecticut. In this program, colleges take an active role in helping housing-insecure and homeless youth by ensuring that each campus appoints a staff person or specific campus office to assist and support any students facing homelessness.
SPOCs are charged with connecting students with campus and community services to help them, as well as providing ongoing support. In building a SPOC network, Connecticut joins many other communities across the country that are working to help homeless students in higher learning. CSCU President Mark Ojakian commits to supporting this new project. “Our students are usually juggling real-life responsibilities at the same time they are pushing themselves to complete their studies,” he said. “We have many students who struggle with housing insecurity. Fortunately, we live in a state that has consistently led on this issue and has made tremendous strides over the past several years. We are prepared to do our part to eliminate as many barriers as possible for our students.”
The 2018 Youth Count was made possible through generous support from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Farmington Bank Community Foundation, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and Melville Charitable Trust.