The number of people experiencing homeless in Connecticut has increased by 8 percent over two years. At any one time, close to 4,500 individuals use shelter or transitional housing services or sleep ‘on the street’ in Connecticut. Still more sleep doubled up in unstable, even dangerous housing each night. Chronic, family and youth homelessness have increased in recent years, while shelters are at capacity. The National Association to End Homelessness estimates that in the next three years homelessness in the US could increase by 5% if additional intervention does not occur.
ODCT is a partnership among CCEH, the Connecticut Housing Coalition, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund , the CT AIDS Resource Coalition and thePartnership for Strong Communities. We have developed a framework to engage, guide, and support efforts to prevent and end homelessness in Connecticut among adults, families, youth and Veterans. Modeled after the federal Opening Doors plan issued in 2010, Opening Doors-CT provides housing-based solutions which will foster change and lead to substantial reductions in homelessness. It is guided by the vision that no one should experience homelessness, and that no one should be without a safe, stable place to call home. Five strategies in Opening Doors-CT include:
- An increase in access to stable and affordable housing and supportive housing;
- Retooling the crisis response system;
- Increasing economic security;
- Improving health and housing stability; and
- Increasing leadership and civic collaboration.
The following workgroups are advancing these key strategies as well as policy recommendations for the 2014-2015 biennium:
- Retooling the Crisis Response System (chaired by CCEH Executive Director, Carol Walter);
- Affordable and Supportive Housing (chaired by CHC Executive Director Betsy Crum);
- Economic Security (chaired by CWEALF Executive Director Alice Prichard); and
- Health and Medicaid (Chaired by CSH Director Sarah Gallagher).
By expanding on lessons learned and new data driven innovations, CCEH will lead the statewide effort and help communities to transform their homeless response systems. Such ground-level change is fundamental to reach the goals of Opening Doors-CT.