The Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) recently announced its first round of funding for non-time limited supportive housing for young adults experiencing homelessness, an intervention that CSH and national partners have recommended for youth who face the most significant challenges to a successful transition to adulthood. The funding announcement came after several years of collaborative planning around strengthening the housing continuum for young adults in Connecticut.
Several stakeholders in the state prioritized piloting a viable supportive housing demonstration project for this population after CSH hosted a peer learning exchange with two New York City based housing programs for young adults experiencing homelessness and youth aging out of state care.
Representatives from youth-serving agencies, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), DOH, and the Melville Charitable Trust returned to Connecticut after the CSH-hosted event eager to move from planning to action by investing in an initiative providing the State with an opportunity to test multiple models that effectively meet the housing and service needs of high-risk young adults.
At the same time, several partners, including CSH, ramped up data collection to quantify information on Connecticut’s homeless young adult population. In 2015, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) conducted the first ever statewide enhanced homeless youth count and found that of the 1,342 surveys that were completed, 585 (44 percent) of youth were homeless or in an unstable living situation.
Additionally, Connecticut piloted Dr. Eric Rice’s TAY Triage Tool to better understand the risk factors and vulnerabilities to long-term homelessness that face Connecticut’s young adults. These data helped shed light on the prevalence of homelessness among young people, who often are referred to as an invisible population given their transience and desire to stay “under the radar.”
These enhanced data collection efforts, combined with ongoing opportunities to learn from peers across the country, positioned public state agencies to commit to expanding supportive housing opportunities for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.
The new funding announcement provides approximately $12 million in capital funding from the State DOH as well as annual funding for both services and operating expenses. The initiative is one strategy embraced in a statewide action plan to meet the goal of ending homelessness among youth and young adults by 2020.