Gov. Malloy and State Officials Announce Federal Grant to Continue Supporting Housing for Veteranserans
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that Connecticut is receiving a federal grant of nearly $400,000 that will support 43 new HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, which combines rental assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and case management services from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to support veterans who are at risk of homelessness.
The HUD-VASH program is an essential tool as the state continues to maintain functional zero for the homeless veteran population. Earlier this year, the federal government certified that due to its investments in housing, Connecticut has effectively ended homelessness among veterans - one of only two states in the nation to reach this milestone.
Among the 43 vouchers that the grant will support, 29 will be distributed statewide by the Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH), 9 will be distributed by the West Haven Housing Authority, and another five will be distributed by the Hartford Housing Authority.
"Over the last several years, with our partners in local, state, and federal organizations, Connecticut has created a system that is successfully working to prevent homelessness among veterans. We're ensuring that when a new episode of homelessness occurs, it is brief and non-recurring. We're proud of that record," Governor Malloy said. "Our veterans must continue to have access to housing, quality health care, education, and career opportunities. I want to thank HUD and the VA for working with our state to ensure these services are available."
"This is important progress towards ensuring all Connecticut veterans have a stable, permanent place to call home," Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. "We've done so much to serve our veterans - education and job training initiatives and building stronger supports on the state level - but there is more to do. I am grateful to HUD, the VA, and our own Department of Housing for their commitment to our veterans. They served us, now it is our turn to serve them."
"Under the Malloy/Wyman administration, the State of Connecticut has been recognized as a national leader for its efforts to prevent and end homelessness while expanding access to affordable housing," DOH Commissioner Evonne Klein said. "Providing rental assistance and case management support are essential components of the system we have developed here in Connecticut. I'm proud to say that Connecticut was the second state in the nation to effectively end veteran homelessness. These new vouchers will ensure that veterans who need a safe, affordable home will now have that opportunity and it will make the good work being done on the ground by our providers each and every day a little easier."
"This funding is more than just housing for veterans. It also represents our collective intent to work together and ensure the best for the men and women who've sacrificed so much for us," Connecticut Veterans' Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly said. "I applaud Governor Malloy, the VA, and HUD for prioritizing veterans' housing and for building the strong partnerships that are critical to supporting Connecticut veterans."
"The federal funding awarded today demonstrates our commitment to our nation's heroes," the members of Connecticut's Congressional delegation said in a joint statement. "This federal grant will ensure veterans and their families have safe and affordable housing. These brave men and women selflessly served our country, and it is our duty to ensure they have the support they need and deserve when they return home."
The designation of having effectively ended veteran homelessness does not mean that a veteran in Connecticut will never again experience homelessness. What it means is that when a new veteran becomes homeless the state, working with a dedicated team of federal and local providers, has a mechanism to quickly identify and place the veteran back on the path to permanent housing. The addition of these new HUD-VASH vouchers will complement the state's already historic investment in affordable housing development and homelessness prevention.
"Providing these vouchers to serve those who served our country remains a commitment by the administration and Secretary Castro," HUD Regional Administrator Jim Reed said. "Collaborative efforts with our outstanding partners at the VA, the State of Connecticut, and participating housing authorities make it possible to help our veterans break their cycle of homelessness. The department is thankful to have our valued partners working together to assist our customers."
"VA Connecticut Healthcare System is excited that CT is receiving new HUD-VASH vouchers again this year," Debbie Deegan, Acting Director of the VA's Errera Community Care Center, said. "We have been a part of the development of partnerships with the State of Connecticut, federal agencies and local organizations which has benefitted homeless veterans throughout the state. Through these partnerships, we have met the milestones of ending chronic veteran homelessness and veteran homelessness over the past year, but the work does not stop there. These additional vouchers will help us to continue on this road of helping Connecticut's veterans who are homeless, and maintaining functional zero."
Another essential component of ending homelessness is ensuring that the state has an adequate supply of safe, decent, and affordable housing. Since 2011, DOH, together with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, has completed 7,917 affordable units, with another 2,790 under construction and funding in place for approximately 5,200 more affordable units. In total, almost 16,000 units of affordable housing have been created, rehabilitated, or preserved in just the past five years alone.
Connecticut was one of only four states to sign on to the Zero:2016 initiative, with the goal of ending all chronic homelessness by the end of this year. These additional vouchers will allow the state to expand on the nationally recognized system that was established to combat homelessness.