March 2016

be homeful 

A letter from Lisa Tepper Bates

Hello friends,
These are challenging times in Connecticut, with the state facing unprecedented budget deficits. For those of us seeking to end homelessness, the argument for resources is clear: it costs us more to let homelessness persist than it does to end it! That is the message that you helped us send to our legislators at Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Days, March 2 and 3. Together, we reached over 120 legislators and aides, sharing your stories and successes. 

Those successes are many - including CT's confirmation by the federal government as only the second state to end all veteran homelessness, and the great work of our communities to build momentum toward ending chronic homelessness in our Zero: 2016 effort by the end of this year. 

Despite the challenges, you are doing better work than ever - making every dollar count, coordinating your efforts to avoid duplication, focusing on housing the highest need, most vulnerable and highest cost population. This is an important story to tell, backed up by your data, about the important return on investment for resources to end homelessness. We will keep telling it in Hartford, seeking to defend the resources you need to get the job done. 

Thank you for all you do every day!
Best regards,

Connecticut Ends Veteran Homelessness
Victory for Zero: 2016 Initiative:

Governor Malloy announced Thursday, February 18th at the State Armory that Connecticut has ended homelessness among the state's veteran population. 
The Zero: 2016 initiative is part of a national effort to end veteran homelessness and chronic homelessness, the long-term homelessness of people living with disabilities, by the end of 2016. Connecticut is one of only four states accepted into the effort through its Reaching Home Campaign, the statewide campaign for preventing and ending homelessness in Connecticut.
Connecticut has housed 766 veterans in the last year to reach this milestone. Through extensive efforts to identify and reach out to veterans experiencing homelessness, and expedite the path for each one to appropriate housing, Connecticut has ensured that veterans are able to move from homeless to housed in under 80 days.
"Ending veteran homelessness," as defined by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, means that Connecticut has successfully developed a system whereby every veteran who experiences homelessness will be quickly identified and provided appropriate supports and housing.

To read more, click here. For the CCEH/Reaching Home flier "What it Means to End Homelessness in Connecticut," a tool to help you explain our goals and the system we are building, click here


2016 Homelessness & Housing Advocacy Days at the Legislative Office Building

On March 2nd and 3rd, more than 250 homeless services providers and client advocates  from all over the state came to Hartford to discuss the impact of homelessness on their area and their work to end homelessness in Connecticut. 2016 was the best Advocacy Days yet!  Together, we reached 123 legislators and aides with our message to stay the course and continue to invest in ending homelessness in Connecticut.

Our efforts are working, as the data shows, and cuts to our resources would reverberate across communities -- increasing the burden to hospitals, first responders, and others in these tough fiscal times when they can ill afford higher demand on their services.  
Frontline providers are the heart, soul, and engine of this progress!  Together, we are making dramatic progress, and we are on track through our Zero: 2016 initiative to end chronic homelessness by the end of 20 16.
Thank you to all the providers, advocates, and legislators who took the time to come together in Hartford and discuss Connecticut's efforts to end homelessness.  Together, we are achieving results we could only have hoped for a few years ago -- reducing the total numbers homeless in a year, reducing chronic homelessness, and reducing first-time episodes and returns to homelessness.  
Please look out for advocacy alerts and requests for your help to reach out to legislators to keep sending our message:  efforts to end homelessness in Connecticut are working -- stay the course on state investments -- given the resources we need,  we can get to Zero on chronic homelessness in 2016!

Diversion Training with Ed Boyte

Retooling Connecticut homeless services to embrace Housing First and modernize to end homelessness is not an easy transition. Shelter Diversion is one of the simplest, but most challenging, ways of reducing demand for shelter services and helping people transition to or stay in permanent housing. 

About a hundred city & state employees, shelter providers, managers, directors, and more from across Connecticut came together to attend a one of the two full day training or five day train-the-trainer programs on Diversion taught by Ed Boyte of the Cleveland Mediation Center of Ohio. 

Shelter Diversion is a method of finding cost-effective alternative to homelessness through changing incentives and seeking to resolve conflicts to keep people permanently housed. For some individuals, this can look like utility assistance, for others it could be family mediation to reconnect individuals to their support networks. Diversion emphasizes a strength-based interviewing style, which focuses on the abilities and skills an individual can draw upon to prevent or end their homelessness, as well as active listening by providers to look for ways around clients losing their housing or entering the shelter system. 

For many families, a one-time and low-investment solution can prevent them from ever becoming homeless. While a minority of those seeking immediate access to emergency shelter can be diverted, typically between 20 and 30 percent, those who are diverted do not become homeless again. And some 80 percent or more do not return to the shelter system. 

You can learn more about shelter diversion and how you can make this strategy part of your shelter or services by clicking here. Information on further trainings in diversion techniques and implementation will also be available shortly. 

If you are interested in being part of or hosting a diversion training for your area, please contact Sarah Chess, Training and Communications Coordinator, at

New Haven:
April 4th @ 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
United Way of Greater New Haven

The new and improved VI-SPDAT 2.0 is out and organizations across Connecticut have
 been  adopting these changes for their service intake. If you missed out on the previous trainings, This training will prepare providers and organizations to adapt to the changes and improve the use of this prioritization and data collection tool. 

The new VI-SPDAT 2.0, Vulnerability Index - Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool, was developed by OrgCode and Community Solutions and was incorporated into CT HMIS last January.  CCEH will host this training to help assure that the tool is administered consistently across the system. 

2016 Annual Training Institute:
"Ready for Zero: Innovative and Sustainable Solutions for Housing"

Thursday, May 12, 2016
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness is pleased to announce our 1
4thAnnual Training Institute (ATI). This event is the premier capacity-building event for organizations working across Connecticut to end homelessness.
With a focus on "Getting to Zero," participants will hear from top experts and innovators about the most effective strategies to build and maintain the momentum towards ending homelessness for good.

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Ho
Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor for Housing and Services at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be the keynote speaker for the CCEH 2016 Annual Training Institute. Ms. Ho will provide a view from the highest level of the campaign across the nation to end homelessness and the progress to date under the Obama Administration, and will also reflect on Connecticut's efforts, as a recognized national leader in the effort.

For additional guidelines and information, please click here . For Questions, please contact Katie Kenney, Programs Development Coordinator at or (860) 721-7876, ext 101

NAEH Annual Conference on "Ending Family & Youth Homelessness" in Oakland

T he National Alliance to End Homelessness hosted its annual  conference "Ending Family & Youth Homelessness" this February in Oakland, California. The event featured a variety of speakers who presented on innovative housing and intervention strategies from communities across the country. 

Attendees from Connecticut, including CCEH's Deputy Director Mary Ann Haley and representatives from many CT providers, experienced a wonderful round of applause as Nan Roman, Executive Director of the NAEH, announced CT's achievement in ending veteran homelessness to the hundreds of participants. Another note of pride was the number of CT panelists at the conference - among these were Samantha Stewart of Supportive Housing Works who presented on landlord recruitment and Stacey Violante Cote, chair of the Reaching Home Youth and Young Adult workgroup, who shared our state's plan to end youth homelessness. Kellyann Day, Executive Director of New Reach, spoke about the Secure Jobs pilot in Greater New Haven and Kara Capone, also of New Reach, presented an "Introduction to Client-Centered Practice".
One of the most prominent topics was Rapid Re-Housing, with workshops offered on how to make it work for youth, vulnerable families, and high barrier clients.  Also featured was how to improve rapid re-housing efforts through the use of Critical Time Interventions, employment strategies, and creative landlord recruitment.  These presentations and much more can be found here.

We are so proud of the Connecticut service providers and leaders who represented our efforts at the conference in Oakland. Connecticut is truly a leader in ending homelessness and our accomplishments are recognized and applauded by the national community. Thank you for being a part of Connecticut's momentum, progress, and leadership. 

Be Homeful: Shelter Diversion Crowdrise
An Opportunity for Volunteers, Families, and CANs  to Engage in Ending Homelessness

CCEH is looking for kids, families, and  communities to sign up to hold drives for their CANs on the Help End Homelessness with Paddington crowdfunding page ! Funds raised as part of the CAN drives on the site will be set aside for exclusive use of your local community or CAN region. Signing up to hold a drive for your community, family, or CAN is simple. 

This is a tool that communities can use to raise shelter diversion funds for families. CCEH's goal is to support communities in leveraging this tool to ensure that adequate resources are available for emergency assistance as part of shelter diversions during the CAN assessment. 

We were thrilled by the enthusiasm for the site and welcome the opportunity to work with any CANs interested in utilizing the site.  While the site is intuitive to many people (especially the littlest ones!) we realize that sometimes people need a helping hand to navigate the site. 

Please contact Madeline Ravich at if you have any questions about how to use the site. We are happy to help in any way we can!

Last month's coverage on homelessness and housing related stories.

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