Legislative Priorities

 

The Partnership for Strong Communities, on behalf of the Reaching Home Campaign, has published the Opening Doors-CT legislative recommendations for the 2018 legislative session. These include recommendations to: preserve funding for critical housing and homelessness services and supports. 

The legislative recommendations, created in collaboration with community providers, state agencies, Opening Doors-CT Work Groups, the Reaching Home Coordinating Committee, and the Reaching Home Steering Committee, are as follows:

Preserve Housing Supports and Services at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services at $23.3M

Supportive housing continues to be the most effective housing model to assist people experiencing chronic homelessness and is proven to cut public system costs by up to 70%1. We must maintain the necessary housing stabilization support and wraparound services that keep highly vulnerable people stable in their housing.

Preserve Homeless Services at the Department of Housing – Housing and Homeless Services Line Item ($78.6M), Homeless Youth Line Item ($2.3M), and Community Investment Act (CIA) funds

Continued investment in the state’s rental assistance for supportive housing, housing assistance for homeless youth, and the Coordinated Access Networks (CAN) system (including emergency shelters, rapid re-housing, the 211-housing unit, and community-level coordination) is critical to maintain our progress. 

Reduce Barriers to Child Care for Families with Children Experiencing Homelessness

Families with young children under five years old experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable and represent nearly half of children in homeless shelters. Homelessness can have lasting effects, including traumatization, developmental delays, and decreased future success. These parents need immediate access to child care to secure housing, find employment, and achieve stability for their children. Providing a 90-day grace period for child health documentation (i.e., immunizations and health form) required by child care licensing regulations would allow for immediate enrollment of homeless children in a licensed child care setting.

Identify and Educate Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Education is a key foundational component to keeping youth out of homelessness and preventing future episodes of homelessness. By improving identification and affirming protections that allow homeless students to stay in school, we can move the needle toward our goal of ending youth homelessness by the end of 2020. Ensuring school staff are aware of these protections is critical. This can be accomplished through multiple channels including affirming in state law existing requirements for school districts to train staff about the legal protections for homeless students (including immediate enrollment provisions under federal law), working together with the State Department of Education to directly educate schools and key community partners, and connecting them with available resources to help meet the needs of these vulnerable students.

End homelessness among Families with Children by the end of 2020

The Reaching Home Campaign is committed to ending family homelessness by the end of 2020. Our goals are to help families obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible and to ensure that they have access to services that enable them to remain housed and become self-sufficient. The economic hardship, trauma, and stress related to family homelessness frequently leads to increased costs for healthcare, criminal justice, child welfare, and special education systems. Many studies have shown the significant costs incurred when a family does not have stable housing. Rental subsidies are the best known proven solution for resolving homelessness among families.

What it will take to meet our goal of ending youth and family homelessness

Connecticut will need to invest in a continuum of housing support services for families and youth, target deeply subsidized affordable units, expand rapid rehousing, and strengthen efforts to divert families and youth facing homelessness to housing solutions.

A more in-depth explanation of the Reaching Home’s recommendations can be accessed here