Governor’s Proposed Budget FY19
Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
Friday, February 16, 2018
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Please use these talking points as a base for your testimony and tailor accordingly.
Senator Osten, Senator Formica, Representative Walker, Representative Ziobron, and Members of the Committee, thank you for hearing my testimony today on the important investments through the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to support efforts to end homelessness in CT.
• Connecticut is making progress to end homelessness – saving lives and saving public dollars. Preserving state investments will allow us to maintain progress.
• We recognize that Connecticut is in a place where tough choices have to be made to our state budget.
• Governor Malloy and our legislative leaders have long understood and supported the importance of ending homelessness in our state in both fiscal and human terms.
• We know what works to end chronic homelessness: permanent supportive housing, which combines housing subsidy with case management services. Permanent supportive housing is highly effective at ending once and for all the homelessness of those who need this assistance. And it is proven to save communities up to 70% of the costs they will otherwise incur when chronic homelessness persists.
o Supportive services for those who enter permanent supportive housing are provided under the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. These services are a critical component of keeping these high-need individuals housed and stable. These services are funded from the Housing Supports and Services Line, and should be restored to the $23.3 million level passed in October 2017 for FY 19.
• We ask that you maintain the critical support services for permanent supportive housing.
• Cuts to these services would risk reversing the substantial progress we have made to end chronic homelessness. Cuts to these critically important services could mean increases in unsheltered, high-need homelessness — taking us the wrong direction, and imposing new costs on our communities.
• Connecticut continues to lead the nation in efforts to address the important and expensive problem of homelessness.
• Investments are working: numbers of those experiencing homelessness are going down year after year. Our 2017 annual numbers of homeless reflect the lowest annual total since 2012 — a 34% drop in just five years.
• CT was recognized in 2016 by the federal government as one of the first two states in the nation to end homelessness among Veterans.
• From January 2015 to December 2017, CT providers housed 1,948 people experiencing chronic homelessness, bringing CT within reach of our goal of ending chronic homelessness.
• Since January 2014, there has been a 62% decrease in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness (long-term homelessness with a severe disability). In September 2017, there were 197 adults experiencing chronic homelessness in CT — the lowest number to date.
• PLEASE ADD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THESE PROGRAMS IN YOUR COMMUNITY, AND PLEASE SHARE ANY STORIES THAT YOU CAN WITH REGARD TO SPECIFIC, ANONYMOUS INDIVIDUALS.
• Homelessness is an unacceptable condition for any Connecticut resident, and an expensive public policy problem. Investments in frontline homeless services, permanent supportive housing, and support services save public resources and help families and individuals transition to housing, stability, and hope.
• Thank you for hearing my testimony and thank you for your support to efforts to end homelessness in Connecticut.