FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — 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 — one of 10 communities selected out of over 130 applicants.
The announcement was made by Gov. Dannel Malloy, and the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation, who said, "No child should ever be without a home."
The award, which comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, will be used to create new and innovative housing with support service programs to serve youth experiencing homelessness. 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,” Malloy said in a statement. “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.”
The state has already made progress toward its goal of eliminating youth homelessness. In November, Malloy announced a new supportive housing funding round for homeless youth. In December, he unveiled a toolkit for students and faculty that raises awareness of youth homelessness and provides guidance on resources.
“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 10 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.”
Toward the end of January, the state will be undertaking its second statewide census of youth homelessness, known as the 2017 Youth Count. It will be conducted in conjunction with the Point in Time Count, an annual survey of homelessness across the state conducted by volunteers. 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 .
“Through strong partnerships with governmental and non-governmental organizations, we will continue our success and achieve an effective end to youth homelessness by 2020," Connecticut Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein said. "We want to provide our vulnerable youth with the stability and security needed to succeed.”
Suzanne Piacentini, HUD Connecticut Field Office Director, said: “Connecticut has proven itself a national leader in its efforts to end homelessness. 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.”
Malloy also announced that with the state’s housing efforts over the last several years, the State of Connecticut 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.