Gov. Malloy Announces Launch of New State Initiative Targeted at Combating Youth Homelessness
New Round of Funding Will Provide Supportive Housing for Vulnerable Youths Between 18 to 24
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) Commissioner Evonne M. Klein today announced that the State of Connecticut is launching a new, first-of-its-kind initiative that will focus on building supportive housing for youths between the ages of 18 to 24 who are homeless. November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month and this funding comes at a time when Connecticut is focusing its efforts on expanding access to affordable housing opportunities for everyone.
A statewide count of youth homelessness conducted in 2015 estimated that 3,000 unaccompanied youth under the age of 25 are experiencing homelessness in Connecticut. The creation of supportive housing specifically targeted for this demographic will help fill a meaningful gap in the housing continuum.
"Homeless youth are a segment of the population considered to be particularly vulnerable, and even though they are legally classified as adults, their needs are incredibly different as they continue developing," Governor Malloy said. "By targeting some of our housing efforts specifically for this population, we can focus services for young adults at a time in their lives when every choice they make may determine their future. This is a proactive step for us to ensure that this population can lead productive, successful lives and become active members of our communities and our economy."
With the launch of this initiative, which complements existing programs at the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the state is making available approximately $12 million through bond authorizations within DOH for the creation of housing, in addition to approximately $3 million to pay for ten years of operating expenses at these youth developments. Additionally, service funding of $175,000 per year for the next ten years will be provided to these developments from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and DOH.
"We are fortunate in Connecticut to have the ability to rapidly identify and implement new and innovative ways we can end homelessness in our state," DOH Commissioner Klein said. "I'm proud to say we have come together as agencies and providers to take the lead on ending homelessness among Connecticut's youth. This innovative funding round is the next step towards ending homelessness. The State of Connecticut is a recognized, national leader in this effort and we received that distinction, because of our proactive and collaborative approach."
"Supportive housing for young adults living with mental illness and substance use disorders provides them with a stable living situation and important supports to help them in their recovery," DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. "State agency partnerships that support housing for our most vulnerable citizens maximize resources to support recovery and citizenship."
"We know from the data and from experience that when young people exit out of care without a permanent family, they are at significantly higher risk for homelessness," DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said. "This expansion of our very effective supportive housing program will fill a critical need among young adults and help prevent more children entering care as a result of adult homelessness."
The launch of this new housing initiative for youths will contribute toward the state's goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. The state has been making great progress in recent years toward ending homelessness among all populations. Last year, the federal government certified that Connecticut's increased housing efforts have effectively eliminated homelessness among veterans, meaning that the state has the capacity and sustainable systems in place to quickly find and connect a veteran who becomes homeless to the assistance needed for him or her to achieve stable, permanent housing. The state was only one of two in the nation to achieve this goal.