Web Sites, Documents and Articles >> Hartford Courant News Articles >

Bid To End Chronic Homelessness
Perez Taps Bank President, Archbishop To Lead Group

February 1, 2005
By OSHRAT CARMIEL, Courant Staff Writer

With a city census showing that over 1,000 adults and families are homeless in Hartford, Mayor Eddie A. Perez said Monday that he's decided to try and solve the homeless problem for good - and do it within 10 years.

Perez's solution amounted to the creation of a 24-member commission, a collation of public, private and nonprofit community leaders who will be given 90 days to come up with a plan to tackle chronic homelessness.

The group's emphasis will not be the 1,054 adults and families that the city estimates were homeless in 2004, but a subset of that group: the 322 adults and families who were considered "chronically homeless." The chronically homeless are those who experience repeated bouts of homelessness in a short period of time - and that homelessness is usually underpinned by mental illness or substance abuse.

"Just providing a bed and a sandwich for someone is not a solution," Perez said Tuesday.

Perez's "Commission to End Chronic Homelessness" is bolstered by the gravitas of faith and finance: it is being co-chaired by Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell and Connecticut Bank of America president Susan Rottner.

"Civilization enjoys its finest hours when it's defending the weak and the vulnerable," Mansell said at a press conference Monday.

The commission, which will meet on Thursday, will consider a host of statistics gleaned from a 2004 city study of its homeless population.

That study, which was based on one night last February when people counted the total number of people sleeping in the city's shelters, supportive housing units, transitional housing units, and on the streets, found that:
  • 10 percent of the shelter population came to the shelter after being released from prison.
  • Lack of employment was one of the top five factors that contributed to homelessness among those in the shelters and transitional housing.
  • Mental illness and substance abuse were the main factors contributing to homelessness among those living in transitional housing.

In trying to come up with a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness, Hartford is doing what many other cities already have done. At least 175 cities and counties nationwide have pledged to come up with or drafted similar 10-year plans, said Philip F. Mangano, executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness in Washington.

Mangano, who praised Hartford's initiative and attended Monday's press conference, encouraged commission members to avail themselves of the solutions that other communities have established.

"Finding the best practices elsewhere and stealing them is legitimate larceny," Mangano said.

Archbishop Mansell nodded in agreement

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
Powered by Hartford Public Library  

Includes option to search related Hartford sites.

Advanced Search
Search Tips

Can't Find It? Have a Question?