2018 Count Shows Continued Success in Connecticut’s Efforts to Combat Homelessness

Hartford, CT — The annual census of homelessness conducted on January 23, 2018 shows continued success in efforts to end homelessness, including a decline of 15% since 2017 among the highest need and longest homeless, according to the Point-in-Time (PIT) and Youth Count report released by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) on May 17.

On the night of January 23, 2018 in Connecticut:

    • LOWEST HOMELESS POPULATION YET: On the night of January 23, 2018, 3,383 people were experiencing homelessness in Connecticut. This represents a 25% decrease from 2007; the first statewide homeless census in Connecticut.
    • CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS DROPS SIGNIFICANTLY: The number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness (long-term homelessness and living with a severe disability) is down 15% since 2017; down 69% since 2014.
    • MOST CHRONICALLY HOMELESS ON THE PATH TO HOUSING: Nearly 75% of those counted as chronically homeless were in the process of securing permanent housing.
    • NUMBER OF HOMELESS FAMILIES FALLING: 370 families were experiencing homelessness; a decrease of 6% from last year.
    • NO UNSHELTERED FAMILIES IDENTIFIED: Census surveyors did not identify a single family with children experiencing homelessness and lacking appropriate emergency shelter.
    • FEW VETERANS COUNTED AS HOMELESS: Only 38 Veterans were identified in emergency shelter, and only 13 Veterans were unsheltered. CT continues to seek to house homeless veterans in 90 days or less.
    • YOUNG PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOUSING INSTABILTY OR HOMELESSNESS: 5,054 youth under the age of 25 were estimated to be homeless or unstably housed, including 254 counted as literally homeless.

The January 23 count, coordinated by CCEH, showed that overall homelessness in Connecticut is down 25% statewide from 2007, the first year the census was conducted statewide. This count represents the lowest totals ever in Connecticut’s statewide, one-night PIT Count for individuals, families, veterans, and chronically homeless. Surveyors identified 3,383 individuals experiencing homelessness.  Connecticut data on annual numbers of homelessness (all those who experience homelessness across the entire year) also reflects this strong progress:  between 2012 and 2017, annual homelessness fell by 34%.

The continuing progress on this issue follows major investments to end homelessness by the administration of Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly, in tandem with concerted efforts to coordinate and target resources at the community level. Connecticut’s work has earned national acclaim; the federal government confirmed in 2015 that Connecticut had effectively ended chronic homelessness among veterans. In 2016, Connecticut became one of the first two states to end all veteran homelessness by securing housing in less than 90 days.

“Along with Governor Malloy, our communities have embraced the goal of ending homelessness – an effort that saves lives, and saves our communities resources wasted when homelessness persists on our streets and in our shelters. 2018’s Point-in-Time count of homelessness proves that progress continues,” said CCEH Chief Executive Officer Lisa Tepper Bates.

The number of chronically homeless (those experiencing long-term homelessness and living with severe disabilities) decreased by 69% since 2014, down 15% since 2017. Through a concerted effort started in 2015 to identify and house those experiencing this most severe form of homelessness, Connecticut has housed more than 1,900 of these high-need, long-term homeless individuals.

People who are chronically homeless tend to cycle in and out of expensive public services like emergency departments, hospital in-patient care, and jails, racking up high costs while their homelessness persists. Studies across the nation show that communities can decrease costs by up to 70 percent when they house this population with appropriate supports. “Through the coordinated efforts of the Reaching Home Campaign, we have shown that ending chronic homelessness is a wise investment that saves lives and public funds,” said Alicia Woodsby, Executive Director of the Partnership for Strong Communities and State Coordinator of the Reaching Home Campaign to end homelessness in Connecticut.

370 Families were counted as experiencing homelessness; a decrease of 6% from last year. In a new sign of progress, the count did not identify a single family experiencing unsheltered homelessness anywhere in the state.

The count identified only 38 Veterans in emergency shelter and only 13 Veterans were unsheltered.  “We cannot ensure that no veteran will ever be homeless again,” said Debbie Deegan, Director of VA Connecticut’s Errera Community Care Center. “We continue to reach every veteran experiencing homelessness quickly and offer them appropriate housing with a target of 90 days or less.”

Connecticut’s second statewide Youth Count showed that 5,054 unaccompanied youth under the age of 25 were unstably housed or experiencing homelessness. Of those 5,054, 254 were counted as literally homeless (living in an emergency homeless shelter or place unfit for human habitation) in the Point-In-Time Count. “We have made great progress ending the homelessness of key populations,” said CCEH’s Bates, “We need to carry forward that innovation to end the homelessness of vulnerable youth in our state.” For the 2018 Youth Count, Connecticut continued to refine the methodology by adopting emerging national best practices and improving methods of reaching homeless youth (including the use of an app created by Microsoft pro bono) which in turn increased the count’s accuracy. In addition, the Youth Count, administered for one week following the night of the PIT, provided an important rallying point for communities to improve their outreach to these young people.

The annual Point-In-Time count, completed each winter by hundreds 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. The Connecticut count is coordinated by the CCEH. The count includes all people (adults and children) experiencing homelessness in shelter and unsheltered – living in places not meant 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 2018 Point-in-Time Count and Youth Count were generously funded with support from the Connecticut Department of Housing, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Farmington Bank, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and the Melville Charitable Trust.

For the full CCEH 2018 Point-in-Time Count report, please click here. For questions, please contact Julia Minchew, Program Development Coordinator, (806) 721-7876 x101, jminchew@cceh.org.