New Haven, Dec. 17, 2014 — The coalition that came together for the 100-Day Challenge to End Homelessness in Greater New Haven is working together more effectively than ever to end the problem of homelessness in our region. The group has set a target of housing ending veteran and chronic homelessness by 2016 and ending family homelessness by 2020.
This holiday season, 117 formerly homeless people will be able to celebrate the New Year in their own homes thanks to this unprecedented collaboration. An additional 89 are in the pipeline to be housed soon.
This great success demonstrates that ending homelessness can be achieved. That’s why 8 housing and outreach organizations have agreed to fundamental changes in policy that will enable us to continue the success of the 100-Day Challenge into 2016.
For example, the organizations have agreed to use a common assessment form to better target housing services to the most vulnerable people experiencing homeless in our community. The agencies have committed to sharing resources and staff to create an accessible and transparent system. Perhaps most importantly, by working together and enlisting the help of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Social Security Administration, among others, the coalition has been able to reduce the time it takes to be housed in most cases from two to three years to less than one month.
In the spirit of the holiday season, Yale University Properties has invited United Way of Greater New Haven to host a gift-wrapping station at the IKEA Holiday Lounge at 286 York Street in New Haven. The Lounge will be open daily through December 24. All funds raised through gift-wrapping will go toward supporting this effort.
The coalition has asked United Way of Greater New Haven to coordinate the effort.
“I am deeply proud that we took on and achieved this challenge,” said Jennifer McGrady Heath, executive vice president of United Way of Greater New Haven. “Lives are better. The work has demonstrated that homelessness can be ended here, for everyone, and across Connecticut too.”
The agencies came together around a federal policy shift known as Housing First, an approach to ending homelessness that centers on providing people experiencing homelessness with housing as quickly as possible – and then providing services as needed.
“Many individuals are now safer, healthier, and on the road to recovery from homelessness thanks to the programs developed through the 100-Day Challenge,”Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3)said at a press conference on Thursday at the IKEA Holiday Lounge. “Homelessness is one of the most troubling and intractable problems our society faces. I am glad that federal policy now recognizes if you give people housing as a first step, rather than insisting that they undergo drug or alcohol treatment or have income or meet other conditions, you get much better outcomes. Having a home, a base, a place to call your own, helps people get clean and turn their lives around. This shift in mindset paved the way for the 100-Day Challenge and its stunning success. That is definitely worth celebrating this holiday season.”
“Congratulations to New Haven for showing that homelessness can be ended,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who said he has talked about the 100-Day success with leaders in Washington, including Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald. “It is a model for the nation.”
Sen. Chris Murphy, who recalled spending time with a person experiencing homeless last year, noted that the 100-Day Challenge “is a model that we can use to deliver a range of social services all across the state.”
The New Haven strategy, in fact, has become a model for reducing homelessness across the state.
“New Haven is leading the way in Connecticut to better coordinate our local community resources so that we can house our homeless neighbors, and move with sincerity toward endinghomelessness in our state,” said Lisa Tepper Bates, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness.
100-Day Challenge co-chairs Alison Cunningham, executive director of Columbus House, and John Bradley, executive director of Liberty Community Services, are determined to maintain the achievements of the Challenge.
It doesn’t stop here,” said Cunningham at the event. “We will continue this work with more individuals and families until we reach our goal of ending homelessness.”
Notes on Homelessness in Greater New Haven
Across the state, emergency shelters have been operating at or near maximum capacity for the past few years. During 2013 alone, Connecticut’s homeless shelters and transitional housing programs served over 13,663 people, including 1,343 families and 2,427 children. Throughout 2013 New Haven’s emergency shelters and transitional housing programs served 2,652 people, or approximately 19% of all homeless statewide.
During the 2014 census of the homeless population in Connecticut known as the Point in Time (PIT) count, New Haven was found to have the third largest proportion of homeless in the state. 566 people were counted in New Haven, amounting to 16% of all homeless statewide. A majority of these (61%) were single adults. A total of 219 people (39% of those counted in New Haven) were in adult-child households. This year, New Haven reported the largest number of people in families with children than any other region, with 17% counted in New Haven the night of the PIT count.
About United Way:
United Way advances the common good by changing the odds for families throughout Greater New Haven. Our focus is on education, income and health/basic needs – the building blocks for a good quality of life. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. Learn more at uwgnh.org.
About the 100 Day Challenge to End Homelessness in Greater New Haven
The 100-Day Challenge is an effort to find housing for all chronically homeless individuals in Greater New Haven beginning in mid-April 2014. We are Greater New Haven Opening Doors: A Regional Alliance to Prevent and End Homelessness, and we are working with the Rapid Results Institute and the 100,000 Homes Campaign to find housing and support services for those who have been identified as chronically homeless.
About Yale University Properties
Yale University Properties manages Yale University’s commercial properties, including retail stores, office spaces, and residential units, in New Haven. Enabled by Yale’s community investment program, we are committed to enhancing the quality of life in New Haven through the development of high quality retail and office environments and the revitalization of surrounding neighborhoods. As a result of University Properties community investment program, Yale University is one of the largest tax payers in the city of New Haven. Yale University Properties was established in 1996 as part of Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs which institutionalized the University’s commitment to the city of New Haven. Yale University Properties has over 85 retail tenants as well as 500 residential properties in its portfolio.
About Greater New Haven Opening Doors
Greater New Haven Opening Doors is a coalition that coordinates the strategies of advocacy, prevention, housing, employment, and services to ensure that episodes of homelessness are rare and of short duration. The Greater New Haven Opening Doors includes civic, religious, government, business, and not-for-profit leaders, in addition to other stakeholders. The Region includes Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Shelton, West Haven, and Woodbridge.