GOV. MALLOY: STATE AWARDED $5M TO EXPAND AND ENHANCE SUPPORTIVE HOUSING
Targeted Communities Include Norwich, Willimantic and Middletown
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Joette Katz today announced that the state has been awarded a $5 million federal grant to expand and enhance a DCF program designed to reduce the number of children in foster care by providing supportive housing and necessary services to vulnerable and homeless families. Connecticut is one of five jurisdictions around the country to be awarded the funding.
"This goal of this supportive housing program is to keep families together and help those who are in greatest need get back on their feet," Governor Malloy said. "Under the leadership of Commissioner Katz, DCF has been accelerating their efforts to keep families unified and stable. The federal funding our state has been awarded will allow DCF to continue their efforts to create stability for our state's youngest residents."
The program currently serves more than 500 families annually and is credited with helping to reunify families whose children are in state care and to prevent the removal of children in circumstances where stable housing is a barrier. The grant, awarded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services and four national foundations, means at least an additional 50 families will receive these comprehensive, intensive and evidence-based services.
DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said the expansion will help accelerate progress already made in reducing the number of children in care.
"Since January 2011, we have achieved an 11 percent reduction in the number of children in state care. Supportive housing is one of the critical ways we can keep more families together and reunify families where a removal was necessary," she said. "Connecticut is just one of five jurisdictions in the nation to receive this grant, and it is a real expression of confidence in the direction we are taking. Expanding this very effective program without additional state resources is an added bonus."
The expansion will focus on chronically homeless families with multiple episodes of homelessness in eastern Connecticut, where the department determined the available services do not meet the existing need. Targeted communities include Norwich, Willimantic and Middletown.
The first year of the grant, beginning October 1, will be for planning and implementation. Additional families will be receiving services beginning in the grant's second year.
The supportive housing program, which began in 1998 by serving caretakers recovering from substance abuse problems, combines intensive case management services, behavioral health services and housing support for families who need assistance with stable housing. The program now serves families with mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and other treatment needs. The Department of Social Services (DSS) and local housing authorities supply housing vouchers to many of the families. DSS is committed to providing 50 additional vouchers in conjunction with the federal grant.
The federal grant will not only increase the number of families in the program but also will enhance it to include employment services to help parents obtain meaningful work and increase income. An employment specialist will work with the families to develop relevant skills and help them find work. This will be done in conjunction with the state Department of Labor's Office of Workforce Competitiveness. The families pay up to 40 percent of their income toward rent.
The other jurisdictions to be awarded grants are Broward County, Florida; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Memphis, Tennessee; and San Francisco, California.
For Immediate Release: September 13, 2012
Contact: Gary Kleeblatt
Department of Children and Families
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