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Blizzard Puts Focus on Needs of Homeless in CT

PHOTO: Three feet of snow made life especially difficult for the roughly 25-hundred people who are chronically homeless in Connecticut.
PHOTO: Three feet of snow made life especially difficult for the roughly 25-hundred people who are chronically homeless in Connecticut.
February 11, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. - Three feet of snow has made life especially difficult for the roughly 2500 people who are chronically homeless in Connecticut, but local advocates say Governor Dan Malloy is addressing the problem.

Fran Martin, who heads the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, applauded Malloy's action in budgeting more than $200 million for the next two years for capital development and improvements, as well as expanded services for the homeless.

She said it's a significant investment in strategies to assist those in need, while saving taxpayers' money.

"Rapid Rehousing that will really be of benefit to families that are homeless, as well as strategies around expanding affordable housing, supportive housing, and continuing the public housing revitalization."

Martin said her group will be working with partner organizations and the homeless population to give state lawmakers timely information on each of these programs.

She said that during these tough winter months, it's especially welcome news to see the governor is proposing additional investment in what's known as Rapid Rehousing.

"That's $500,000 over the two years for short-term financial assistance in housing relocation services, specifically addressed to the needs of families, as we really ramp our efforts to end family homelessness statewide."

Martin also highlighted supportive housing as one of the most cost-effective measures in the governor's proposed budget, $20 million that would help fund 100 units of supportive housing.

"To help individuals who have been homeless for extended periods of time, often because of additional health needs, such as mental illness or substance abuse."

She said people who experience homelessness also rely on safety-net programs to get them back on their feet. She hopes the governor and General Assembly will take those into account as well, in the upcoming budget session.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT