|Contact: Steve Jensen
|February 11, 2014|
GOVERNOR MALLOY LAYS OUT HIS PLAN TO END VETERANS' HOMELESSNESS BY 2015
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, veterans, veterans' advocates and local, state and federal officials, today laid out several of his proposals aimed at combatting veterans' homelessness and unemployment in Connecticut. The initiatives, which Governor Malloy introduced last week, focus specifically on working with public and private sector partners to end veterans' homeless by 2015 by assisting veterans with employment and increasing residential opportunities for homeless veterans or those at risk of becoming homeless.
"We know that homelessness and unemployment are intrinsically linked and part of a terrible downward spiral that captures too many people, especially veterans," said Governor Malloy. "President Obama set a realistic deadline to end veterans' homelessness in the United States - a goal we are fully committed to and capable of achieving. By working together with our public and private sector partners and investing in giving Connecticut's veterans access to steady employment and safe housing, we will move our state significantly closer toward ensuring that every veteran can get back on their feet, back under a roof, and back to work."
In his State of the State address last Thursday, Governor Malloy outlined several legislative initiatives that re-affirm Connecticut's commitment to ending veterans' homelessness by 2015. The Governor's proposals include:
"I strongly believe the state must do everything in its power to help these brave men and women have a roof over their head and access to employment opportunities," said Lt. Governor Wyman. "It is our obligation to honor the sacrifice they made by supporting them and their families - and these proposals will do just that."
In 2009, President Obama and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki announced a national goal of ending homelessness among veterans by 2015. President Obama asked partners and supporters nationwide to embrace this pledge in order to build on the progress the VA has made by increasing programs and funding to help veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Since the announcement, the number of homeless veterans in the U.S. has dropped by 17.2 percent. In fiscal 2013, VA will dedicate $1.4 billion to specialized homeless programs and $4.4 billion to health care for veterans who are homeless.
"For the last several months, the Connecticut Heroes Project has been engaged with the Governor's Office in a discussion around our shared mission to end veteran homelessness," said Greg Behrman, founder and director of the CT Heroes Project. "In his State of the State address, Governor Malloy announced a series of robust, smart, and targeted proposals to end veteran homelessness by 2015. These proposals are perfectly in line with the needs of veterans experiencing homelessness in our state today, and we are very excited to work with the Governor and the legislature to implement them in the coming months."
Governor Malloy highlighted one initiative in his budget proposal, a Veterans' Opportunity Pilot, which provides $600,000 for grants to area housing agencies to hire job placement specialists trained to understand the employment challenges and advantages unique to veterans. The specialists will work with veterans to actively seek opportunities for veterans to reenter the workforce. The pilot program will also designate a statewide coordinator from the Department of Labor (DOL) to manage the complex network of employment services for veterans. The Governor will also increase the availability of the state's security deposit assistance program by adding funding to the program and prioritizing homeless veterans - a move that could help around 100 veterans get over the first hurdle of finding a home.