(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation today announced that the State of Connecticut is receiving a $6.6 million federal grant to help support the state’s goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020.

The award, which comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, will be utilized to create new and innovative housing with support service programs to serve youth experiencing homelessness.  Connecticut was one of only ten communities in the country selected by HUD to receive this award out of over 130 applicants.  The state received the largest allocation of any grantee under this program.

“Our unprecedented efforts to ensure housing for our most vulnerable populations include youths, who are at a particularly sensitive time in their lives when every choice they make may determine their future,” Governor Malloy said.  “Ensuring housing for youths is a proactive step to ensure that our younger generations can lead productive, successful lives and become active members of our communities and our economy.”

“No child should ever be without a home.  For youth experiencing homelessness, helping them often means more than just putting a roof over their head – it means addressing the full array of needs and challenges that each child is facing,” the members of the Congressional delegation said in a joint statement.  “This major federal award – the largest of only ten nationwide – is an endorsement of the critically important work Connecticut is doing to end youth homelessness and ensure all children have the support and services they need to thrive.  We will continue to work with the state, advocates and agencies to ensure Connecticut receives the federal support it needs to meet its goal to end youth homelessness by 2020.”

The state has already been making progress toward its goal of eliminating youth homelessness.  In November, Governor Malloy announced a new supportive housing funding round for homeless youth, and in December he unveiled a new toolkit for students and faculty that raises awareness of youth homelessness and provides guidance on available resources.

Towards the end of January, the state will be undertaking its second statewide census of youth homelessness, known as the 2017 Youth Count, which will be conducted in conjunction with the Point in Time Count, an annual survey of homelessness across the state during which volunteers from all cities and towns go out into the community to find homeless men and women.  The data will be used in community planning efforts to build a support system to help the state reach its goals of ending youth homelessness.  Unaccompanied youths under the age of 25 are considered youths experiencing homelessness.  In 2015, more than 3,000 youths experiencing housing instability in the state were identified.

Connecticut residents interested in volunteering for the 2017 Youth Count can sign up on the website of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness.

“Under Governor Malloy, Connecticut has repeatedly been recognized as a national leader for its efforts to prevent and end homelessness,” Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein said.  “Through strong partnerships with governmental and non-governmental organizations, we will continue our success and achieve an effective end to youth homelessness by 2020.  I thank HUD for their confidence in Connecticut to serve as a national model through this new initiative.  We want to provide our vulnerable youth with the stability and security needed to succeed.”

“Young adulthood is a unique and challenging developmental period.  When coupled with homelessness, young adults are increasingly vulnerable to being derailed from achieving the normative developmental milestones of this important life stage.  Our agency serves approximately 16,000 young persons who face many of these obstacles and has an established history of successful work with this population,” Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Delphin-Rittmon said.  “We are proud to partner with our sister state agencies, as well as HUD and community service providers, in our efforts to end homelessness among the young adult population by 2020.  We are grateful for the funding that has been awarded to Connecticut and look forward to this timely and exciting new initiative.”

“Connecticut has proven itself a national leader in its efforts to end homelessness,” Suzanne Piacentini, HUD Connecticut Field Office Director, said.  “We are excited to see the innovative work that this funding will support by the state and its partners to ensure that all homeless youth have a safe place to call home.”

“Being chosen for the HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration will greatly accelerate our ability to meet our goal of preventing and ending homelessness among youth in Connecticut by the end of 2020,” Alicia Woodsby, Executive Director of the Partnership for Strong Communities, said.  “It’s a testament to our statewide approach, strong team of partners, and years of coordination and collaboration that have laid the groundwork for creating a coordinated community response system for runaway and unaccompanied youth.”

Yesterday, Governor Malloy announced that with the state’s unprecedented housing efforts over the last several years, the State of Connecticut reached new record levels and is able to connect every chronically homeless person in the state with permanent housing.

In recent years, Connecticut became the first state in the nation certified by the federal government as ending chronic homelessness among veterans, and the second state in the nation certified by the federal government as effectively ending homelessness among all veterans.