Success of challenge was achieved by a region coming together and working collaboratively to create a system that allows a homeless person to quickly exit shelter into permanent stable housing.
More than 140 people found stable and secure housing between March and June as part of the Southeastern Connecticut Coordinated Access Network’s effort in the Rapid Results 100-Day Challenge to End Homelessness. Another 10 people have been issued permanent supportive housing certificates, with another 18 certificates currently available for the most vulnerable homeless individuals in our region. This will bring the total to 169 in the coming weeks.
The initiative launched on March 9, and involved teams from Greater Hartford, Fairfield County, and both northeastern and southeastern Connecticut.
The 100-day initiative brought together advocates, activists, service providers, and others to put existing resources together more effectively to advance the goal of ending homelessness. The Connecticut-based Rapid Results Institute, which developed the “100 day” approach, provided support throughout the process. The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and Journey Home of Hartford were the project leaders.
Last year, a similar effort in New Haven, using the Rapid Results 100-Day Challenge, led to the housing of 183 people who had long been homeless in that community, the vast majority with disabilities including severe mental health conditions and chronic illnesses.
In southeastern Connecticut, the team worked to not only house 150 individuals in 100 days, but to also create a system that worked more efficiently. The goals set forth were to:
- CREATE A HOUSING PLACEMENT TEAM THAT COORDINATES EXIT STRATEGIES INTO PERMANENT HOUSING
- ESTABLISH A POINT PERSON FOR EACH HOUSING RESOURCE AVAILABLE
- INSTITUTE A SYSTEM WHERBY THOSE WITH HOUSING RESOURCES GO TO SHELTERS TO CONNECT WITH CLIENTS
- ESTABLISH WEEKLY MEETINGS TO IDENTIFY THOSE MOST IN NEED OF HOUSING RESOURCES AND ADMINISTER THEM QUICKLY
The initiative not only met these goals, but exceeded them. In addition, the amount of time people are sleeping in shelters is decreasing overall. In fact, at New London Homeless Hospitality Center, the number of individuals who exit shelter in 60 days or less rose from 85% in March to 93% in June.
“When a homeless person enters a shelter, it is not only that shelter’s problem. It is the community’s problem because it affects us all” said Jodie Craig Atkinson, Executive Director of Covenant Shelter.
The project is part of Connecticut’s efforts to end homelessness among Veterans by the end of 2015, and chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. Earlier this year, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that Connecticut was one of four states chosen for Zero: 2016, a national initiative organized by the nonprofit Community Solutions and dedicated to ending Veteran and chronic homelessness within the next two years. At the same time, the governor announced an expansion of existing permanent housing subsidies meant to help the state move toward that goal.