All things considered, Connecticut is doing a bang-up job of addressing homelessness compared to the vast majority of our peers. A comprehensive analysis, including a state-by-state report card, was just released to Congress by the US Interagency Council on Homelessness.
The report assessed progress on a number of factors:
When all these factors are taken as a whole, only Delaware and Iowa are in our league.
Some states, like Massachusetts, have done a great job of providing shelter (95% of their homeless are housed), but their per capita rate of homelessness is twice our rate and growing.
New York is another state where housing for the homeless is very high, yet their per capita rate of homelessness is 45 people in every 10,000; and more than 89,000 of their citizens are without a permanent home and on the rise.
On the flip side, Arkansas’ homeless headcount and per capita rate has us beat, but only one half of their homeless people have shelter. The same is true in Mississippi.
So what’s working so well in Connecticut? “The state is bucking the trend because of significant state investment in coordinated access to housing,” says Ann Faust, executive director, Coalition on Housing and Homelessness, based in Middletown. She also points to the state’s mix of housing solutions … like permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless, emergency resources to quickly get people rehoused, as well the development of new affordable housing units … as contributing to our success.
While much has been accomplished in the state, Faust notes that youth homelessness is increasing. Good news, though. The state has now set its sights on addressing and remediating youth and family homelessness by 2020.