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CT Homeless Stats Don’t Tell the Whole Story

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Homelessness in Connecticut has decreased by 25 percent since 2007. (sinzicraciun0/Pixabay)
Homelessness in Connecticut has decreased by 25 percent since 2007. (sinzicraciun0/Pixabay)
 By Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT - Producer, Contact
December 21, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. – A federal report released this week says homelessness increased more than 17 percent in Connecticut this year, but housing advocates say the raw numbers don't tell the whole story.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development report counted almost 4,000 people as being homeless in the state in the 2018 "Point-In-Time" count. But that figure includes almost 600 people evacuated from Puerto Rico to Connecticut by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Hurricane Maria.

According to Richard Cho, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, the number of state residents who are homeless remained about the same as last year.

"While that's not necessarily cause for celebration, the numbers that HUD reported did not break down the families who are being sheltered through this special circumstance from those that would be experiencing homelessness otherwise," says Cho.

He says overall, there has been a 25 percent decrease in homelessness in Connecticut since 2007.

Cho points out that 280 homeless Connecticut families have been housed this month alone, due in part to improvements in the response to homelessness that have evolved in the last several years.

"We've developed a system that is able to identify people who are experiencing homelessness," says Cho. “We put them on a list, and we ensure that there's an accountable plan to help those individuals and families reconnect to housing."

He adds that Connecticut was the first state in the nation to effectively end chronic homelessness among veterans.

But Cho believes that homelessness persists mostly because wages are not keeping up with the rising cost of housing.

"While we can work better to make sure that we can help individual families leave homelessness once they enter it, the challenge is how do we stop that inflow into homelessness in the first place? And to me, we can only do that once we solve this affordable housing crisis," says Cho.

More information about Connecticut's efforts to end homelessness is available online at 'CTcandata.org.'

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