Say hello to Tony. Formerly homeless, Tony is turning the key on the door to an apartment all his own in Middletown. Three months ago, he called 211 to find out what state resources are available to someone who’s been without a place to live for six years. To his surprise, he was directed to a housing intake agency just two blocks from where he was calling. “I could walk there and there were people waiting to help me,” he says.
On Friday, February 17, Tony told his story to state legislators and Channel 8 News. He was the main speaker at an awareness-raising event at Middletown’s North End Action Team office (NEAT), where guests–including four state legislators–saw firsthand how the new Middlesex/Meriden/Wallingford Coordinated Access Network makes it more efficient for those without a home to find shelter, and to be connected with the services best suited to their situations. Following the meeting, Tony took guests on a neighborhood walking tour, which included a visit to his home of three months.
I hope I informed and even changed some minds. It is important to put a face on the issue of homelessness.
Tony reports that the event was quite positive for him, as well as those in attendance. “I hope I informed and even changed some minds,” he says. “It is important to give people a firsthand understanding, and to put a face on the issue of homelessness.”
Ten short years ago, homelessness seemed like an insurmountable issue across the country. It took the long-term commitment of local leaders, including Liberty Bank Foundation, working in concert with the Middlesex County Coalition for Housing and Homelessness, to form productive partnerships, find smarter solutions, and actually bring those ideas to fruition.
Today, Connecticut and our local Middlesex/Meriden/Wallingford Coordinated Access Network (CAN) are leading the way in helping to find safe, long-term shelter for our chronically homeless neighbors.
With Governor Malloy announcing January 2017 that long-term housing had been found for all current chronically homeless people in the state, our local CAN used the February 17 meeting to call attention to their important work; to educate legislators about how the new placement process is making all the difference; and to ensure that funding for this important initiative remains a priority in the new state budget.