Homelessness is not a failure. It results from income inequality, broken public systems, and institutional racism. CCEH offers many opportunities for you to use your voice to end homelessness in Connecticut.
In a state as wealthy as Connecticut, it is unacceptable that any household is without a safe and stable home.
Too many people experiencing homelessness are caught on a revolving door between prisons, shelters, and the streets.
Homeless is disproportionately experienced by people of color due to discriminatory policies and practices.
What you can do:
Support a right to housing: Connecticut can be the first state in the country to establish a right to housing. This would mean requiring state agencies to design and establish systems to prevent evictions and housing loss, re-house people who’ve lost their homes, and provide relief for people who are severely rent burdened so that everyone has access to a safe and stable home.
Fully fund the homeless crisis response system: Connecticut has built an effective system and set of programs for helping families and individuals stay out of and resolve their homelessness. Now is the time to fully fund this system and its programs to end the tragedy of homelessness in our state.
Stop the revolving door between homelessness and prisons: Require criminal justice agencies to identify, prevent and address homelessness inmates, parolees and probationers by giving them the tools and accountability to ensure that every returning citizen has a stable home as the foundation for a second chance.
Protect people from discrimination and abuse Connecticut must ensure that our laws and policies to protect people—especially in communities of color—from housing discrimination and abuses. No one should be denied housing because they have a rental subsidy or a decade-old criminal record. People should not be charged higher fees or deposits because they are poor. Everyone should have protections from abuse.
What you should know:
Our state continues to face a severe housing crisis.
- Among the 450,000 renter households in Connecticut, 28% (128,000) are extremely low-income and two-thirds of these households (~86,000) are severely rent-burdened.
- Working at the current minimum wage, a renter would have to work 81 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.
- To afford a modest two-bedroom apartment on the private market, a family has to make an hourly wage of $25.40. The current average wage of renters in Connecticut is only $17.53 per hour.
- Connecticut’s 211 Infoline, operated by United Way of Connecticut, receives nearly 80,000 phone calls every year in which callers ask for help with homeless services or housing.
- Nearly 28,000 households are referred to the state’s homeless response system each year.
But homelessness is solvable.
- By organizing an uncoordinated set of homeless services in a coordinated statewide homeless response system, Connecticut has achieved steady year-after-year declines in homelessness.
- Since 2013, long-term homelessness among people with disabilities has declined by 76%.
- Since 2013, veteran homelessness has declined by 42%.
- Since 2013, family homelessness has declined by 37%.
- Since 2013, overall homelessness has declined by 31%.
- Last year, Connecticut’s homeless response system assisted 5,000 households in remaining housed rather than entering shelter.
- Last year, Connecticut’s homeless response system re-housed 2,700 households into stable housing with services.
To end homelessness, Connecticut needs to fully fund its homeless response system…
- 2-1-1 can only afford to employ six full-time housing specialists to field the 80,000 calls the team receives each year. This means that clients have to wait up to an hour to speak with a housing specialists. 2-1-1 needs twice as many housing specialists.
- The Coordinated Access Network (CAN) system is not adequately staffed to assist all of the households referred by 2-1-1 because they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Households need to wait 2-3 days for an appointment, and many end up giving up.
- The regional CANs need 50% more housing navigators.
- Connecticut continues to use its state and federal funding to provide an array of evidence-based housing solutions such as permanent housing, rapid re-housing, and flexible housing assistance for households whose homelessness is not preventable.
- In any given month, there is only one program opening for every seven eligible households on the waiting list.
- Fully funding 2-1-1, the CAN system, and the housing assistance they provide would enable Connecticut to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.
… while fixing the policies, gaps, and system failures that make people become homeless.
- Every year, over 13,000 households are evicted from their apartments. That’s a rate of 37.6 evictions a day. Many more households lose their homes as a result of illegal and abusive practices among landlords.
- One-fifth of the people who use shelters each year are people recently released from the Department of Correction, many of whom have a decades-long revolving door between homelessness and prisons.
- As many as one in four Connecticut residents has a criminal record, which can serve as a barrier to obtaining housing and employment.