Governor Lamont Creates Task Force on Housing and Supports for Vulnerable Populations
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that, as part of his ongoing efforts to streamline the services state government provides and create efficiencies for Connecticut residents, he is forming a task force that will be responsible for providing his administration with a coordinated response in support of those who are facing homelessness and in need of other forms of assistance.
The Governor’s Task Force on Housing and Supports for Vulnerable Populations will be co-chaired by Lisa Tepper Bates, the governor’s Senior Coordinator for Housing and Transit Oriented Development, and David Rich, CEO of the nonprofit housing provider Supportive Housing Works. Its mission will be to enhance coordination across agencies to ensure that the state evaluates vulnerability and prioritizes resources consistently, coordinates effectively to serve shared clients, and implements best practices reliably to meet residents’ housing and housing support needs with the goals of improving outcomes and conserving resources.
The group will be administered within the Office of the Governor, emphasizing the centrality of its work to the overall goals of the Lamont administration.
“We’re building a government that’s cost effective and better serves our residents, and that includes improving coordination across state agencies and our nonprofit partners to ensure that we use all available resources to best serve the most vulnerable in our communities,” Governor Lamont said. “We know that Connecticut residents facing homelessness very often have other urgent needs – whether that means job training and childcare to help a struggling single mother get back to work, re-entry support to ease an ex-offender’s transition back to community, or mental health counseling to help a young person living with a disabling mental illness achieve stability. We can better support these individuals and families, and help them achieve stability and success if we improve our teamwork to meet their critical needs in a coordinated, organized manner.”
Multiple studies have shown that when public systems fail to coordinate in serving those facing homelessness and living with intensive service needs, these clients may cycle in and out of expensive systems, including jails and hospitals, with their core needs unmet. This can lead to poor outcomes and wasted public resources.
Connecticut residents facing homelessness receive services from several state agencies that attend to varying needs. They include clients whose housing needs are addressed through the Department of Housing and who are also clients of the Department of Children and Families, ex-offenders recently released from the custody of the Department of Correction, Medicaid recipients with multiple health conditions who are served by the Department of Social Services, or those living with mental illness or substance use disorders served through the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, among other agency clients.
Improving coordination between these agencies to provide support to meet the housing and other urgent needs of these populations was one of the recommendations made by the Lamont-Bysiewicz Transition Team’s Housing Policy Committee, and dovetails with the priorities of the group’s Human Services Policy Committee.
“Homelessness or severe housing instability are often red flags that an individual or a family may have multiple and severe unmet needs,” Tepper Bates said. “This task force will take a data-driven approach to seek a better understanding of this population, and to pilot better ways to make sure we can quickly meet all of a household’s critical needs, stabilizing them more quickly, and achieving better outcomes for these Connecticut residents as well as for our publicly funded systems.”
Other members of the task force will include the leadership of several state agencies that serve vulnerable populations, as well as senior leadership of the state’s nonprofit partners and advocacy organizations that are engaged in housing and human services.
“We know that we can improve performance by taking a data-driven approach and enhancing coordination among services,” Paul Mounds, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Lamont, said. “We believe that starting with our most vulnerable citizens – those most in need of support and those most likely to access our public systems – is an important place to begin to improve our performance in serving Connecticut residents. Other communities have done similar work to good effect – we believe that by following these proven models, we can use public funding more effectively.”
The task force will hold its first meeting on Friday, July 26 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 208 of the State Capitol.
Additional information about the task force, including a list of members and meeting agendas and minutes, can be found in the “working groups” section of the governor’s website at www.governor.ct.gov.