Report Charts Progress In Effort To Reduce Chronic Homelessness
By Jenna Carlesso
June 14, 2011
The city had nearly 200 fewer chronically homeless people last year than it did in 2004, according to a report released Tuesday by a local homeless advocacy organization.
The number of chronically homeless people -- those who have been homeless for longer than one year or who have experienced four or more episodes of homelessness in a three-year period -- dropped from 322 in 2004 to 137 in 2010, according to the report by Journey Home Inc., a nonprofit group working to end chronic homelessness in the greater Hartford region. Many chronically homeless people also have a disabling condition, the group said.
The report offers a look at how a coalition of advocates has progressed toward its goal of ending chronic homelessness in Hartford and 29 surrounding towns, including East Hartford, Manchester and Windsor, by 2015. The effort began in 2005.
The coalition seeks to end homelessness by creating affordable and supportive housing, and connecting homeless people with the resources and services available.
Since the project began, 244 units of supportive housing have been developed in the greater Hartford region, the report states. Supportive housing is subsidized housing that includes services such as case management, financial counseling and job readiness training.
The coalition hopes to develop 1,293 units of supportive housing by 2015 -- 632 in Hartford and 661 in the surrounding towns -- meaning it has fallen a bit short of its goal for the five-year mark.
Between 2006 and 2010, 6,663 units of affordable housing have also been added through the construction or preservation of homes and rental units, according to the report.
"I'm so pleased with the progress that's been made," said Matthew Morgan, executive director of Journey Home, which is spearheading the effort. "We have lots of different programs and approaches, but at the end of the day, the important thing is that people are being housed."
In addition to housing, the coalition has made strides in helping the chronically homeless find jobs.
Journey Home estimated that at least 100 chronically homeless people have maintained employment with a support plan from Hartford's Community Renewal Team.
Morgan said the goal was to help 50 chronically homeless people get jobs each year, but the economic downturn has stymied some of those efforts. The coalition is working with the state Department of Labor "to improve the ways in which we work with this population," he said.
Groups that have aided in the 10-year plan to end chronic homeless include the Hartford Continuum of care, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, the Partnership for Strong Communities, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the Hartford Housing Authority and Capitol Workforce Partners.