Washington, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are the most successful states at preventing youth homelessness, with Connecticut ranking third in the nation, according to the 2018 State Index on Youth Homelessness. The report, by the True Colors Fund in partnership with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, analyzed 61 metrics in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Homelessness is defined as experiences of sleeping in places not meant for living, staying in shelters, or temporarily staying with others while lacking a safe and stable alternative living arrangement. Alabama, South Carolina, Wyoming, and Arkansas were the least successful states at preventing youth homelessness.
In recent weeks, it was announced that Connecticut will use $6.5 million in federal grants to provide housing opportunities for homeless youth, building on its successful track-record. The grants will fund new, innovative housing assistance programs for young adults as part of a coordinated housing continuum that assures those in need can quickly obtain permanent housing and necessary supports, according to state officials.
The grants were allocated as part of a competitive process through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) new Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). To date, Connecticut has been awarded the largest grant of any jurisdiction in the country.
Building off the state’s nationally recognized progress in ending homelessness under the Malloy administration – which includes being the first state in the nation certified for ending chronic veteran homelessness, being one of only three states certified for ending general veteran homelessness, and matching all chronically homelessness individuals to housing – the state has set a goal of ending both youth and family homelessness by the end of 2020.
Speaking last week before a legislative working group, Gov. Malloy said “Nothing I suspect is more shattering as a child than to find oneself homeless – or even as a young adult – so I’m particularly happy over this past year that we’ve been able to fund a number of units designed specifically to meet the needs of younger homeless individuals.”
Overall, at the start of the year, homelessness in Connecticut was at a record low, according to a report from The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. It found that homelessness in the state has decreased for a fifth consecutive year and was at its lowest level to date. The report found that, as of Jan. 2018, roughly 3,300 people were homeless in Connecticut. The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness states that overall homelessness in the state is down 25 percent from 2007.
Since 2011, the state Department of Housing and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority have created, rehabilitated, or committed funding for nearly 25,000 units of housing – approximately 22,000 of which are affordable to low and moderate income individuals and families, officials point out. This represents a state investment of more than $1.42 billion, which has been matched by over $2.45 billion from other financial sources, including the private sector.