2015 Count Finds Homelessness Down 10 Percent Across Connecticut

The annual count of Connecticut’s homeless on February 18, 2015 shows major gains made in the efforts to end family, chronic and veteran homelessness, according to Point-in-Time Count reports released Tuesday.

The February 18 count, coordinated by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH), showed that overall, homelessness in Connecticut is down 10 percent compared to 2013 statistics. Specifically, the number of people living in shelters is down 4 percent from 2014, and the number of people living on the streets is down 32 percent from 2013, the last time a count of the unsheltered homeless was completed.

The count registered the lowest total since statewide counts started in Connecticut in 2007, and identified 4,038 homeless individuals (down from 4,506 counted in 2013). The decline follows major investments to end homelessness by the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly.

Family homelessness showed a decline of 4 percent in shelters and similar facilities from 2014 and a 67 percent decline among those living without shelter since 2013. The number of chronically homeless, defined as the long-term homelessness of people with severe disabilities, showed a decrease of 21 percent across Connecticut. The state is part of the national Zero: 2016 initiative to end veteran homelessness by 2015, a goal set by President Obama, and to end chronic homelessness by 2016.

“Along with Governor Malloy, our communities have embraced the goals of Zero: 2016. These results show good progress toward achieving those important milestones,” said CCEH Executive Director Lisa Tepper Bates. “Our next set of challenges is to meet the needs of families and do more to help young people who are homeless and unaccompanied – a particularly vulnerable population.”

“This substantial drop in chronic homelessness is a direct result of the great work of providers in our communities, who are working together in new ways to ensure our most vulnerable and long-term homeless individuals are placed into appropriate housing,” said Evonne Klein, Commissioner of the Connecticut  Department of Housing.

The count found only 80 veterans in emergency shelters, most of whom are engaged in VA services. “VA and mainstream resources are pulling together better than ever before to reach every veteran experiencing homelessness, and to offer them appropriate housing.  We are confident that we will get to zero on veteran homelessness by December,” said Dr. Laurie Harkness, Director of the VA’s West Haven Errera Community Care Center.

This year, CCEH also coordinated the first-ever statewide count of homeless unaccompanied youth age 24 and under. The count was a collaborative effort among advocates, service providers, educators and other experts and included surveys and direct community outreach to youth experiencing homelessness. The count showed that Connecticut has as many as 3,000 youth who are homeless or without a stable place to live. The results provide policy makers a sense of the scope of this important problem.

“Homelessness and severe housing instability severely impact the ability of these youth to attend school and work, and leave them highly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation,” said Stacey Violante Cote, Director of the Teen Legal Advocacy Project of the Center for Children’s Advocacy.

On the night of February 18, 2015 in Connecticut:

  • TOTAL HOMELESS POPULATION LOWEST COUNTED IN A CONNECTICUT PIT:4,038 total individuals counted – the lowest ever statewide Connecticut Point-In-Time count.
  • SHELTERED HOMELESSNESS DOWN BY 4%:3,412 people were counted in shelters and similar facilities – a drop of 4% over 2014.
  • UNSHELTERED HOMELESSNESS DOWN 32%:The count found 626 unsheltered individuals, a decrease of 32% since the last unsheltered count in 2013.
  • SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS TOWARD ENDING VETERAN HOMELESSNESS: Only 80 veterans were counted in emergency shelters; 161 veterans were in transitional housing programs that aim to assist veterans with plans to return to permanent housing.
  • CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY: The number of people experiencing chronic homelessness dropped by 21% since 2014.
  • FAMILY HOMELESSNESS DOWN:  There were 445 families in shelters and similar facilities in 2015, a 4% decrease since 2014.  The number of individuals in unsheltered families dropped by 67% since the last unsheltered count in 2013.
  • NEARLY 20% OF HOMELESS CITE EXPERIENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: 19% of adults in shelters and similar facilities report that they are survivors of domestic violence.
  • AS MANY AS 3,000 YOUNG PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS IN CONNECTICUT:Connecticut’s first-ever statewide count of homeless youth (age 24 or under) estimates the number of homeless/housing unstable youth is between 2,783 and 3,075 individuals. (Note that this data was collected over a two week period around the PIT Count.)

The annual Point-In-Time Count, completed each winter by an army of volunteers, is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to take a snapshot of homelessness in every state across the country. CT-PIT 2015 is the ninth annual statewide count coordinated by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. Under the federal guidelines, this year’s count included all people (adults and children) who were homeless and unsheltered – living in places unfit for human habitation such as abandoned buildings and under bridges – in addition to those in emergency or domestic violence shelters and transitional housing programs. The 2015 Connecticut count was delayed from January because of severe weather, and took place February 18.

Please download the full “Connecticut Counts: 2015 Report on Homelessness in Connecticut,” including the HUD Point-in-Time count and the Statewide Homeless Youth Count.

Learn more about the methodology of the Youth Count.