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Homelessness , State News , Supportive Housing

Partners Gather to Discuss Enhancing Services for Veterans

16 December 2014

Nearly 200 providers and state partners from across Connecticut attended the annual VA CT Healthcare Housing Summit at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Middletown last Tuesday, December 9, focusing on the state’s efforts to end Veteran homelessness. Laurie Harkness, director of the Errera Community Care Center, and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman kicked off the event describing the state’s ambitious goal to end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Harkness stated that “the word homeless and Veteran will no longer go together in Connecticut” and Wyman suggested we “have the biggest party when Connecticut ends Veterans homelessness.”

Presentations by the VA and the CT Heroes Project highlighted the progress Connecticut has made serving Veterans. To date, Veteran homelessness has declined by 20% in Connecticut. The 679 HUD-VASH vouchers already allocated and 54 more on their way will push us towards our goal by providing supportive housing and services to Veterans in need. This is critical since almost 600 Veterans are estimated to enter homelessness during the next year, with approximately one third considered chronically homeless (i.e. have been homeless for a long time and suffer from a disabling mental of physical condition). Fortunately, due to increased collaboration among providers, Veterans experiencing homelessness can access services through many different avenues, including a 24/7 hotline.

Click here to view the photos. 

Greg Behrman, Founder and Executive Director of the CT Heroes Project, summed up the movement nicely by saying, “we have the chance to do something extraordinary and special together” so “when we see obstacles we’re going to need to be creative and treat them as speed bumps.”

The speakers all described how with improved and targeted outreach to Veterans, this number can and will continue to decline. The Summit ended with break out sessions for providers and state partners to discuss ways to increase collaboration across sectors, including partnering with private landlords.

The Summit was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in partnership with:

  • CT Department of Housing
  • Office of the Governor
  • CT Heroes Project
  • Partnership for Strong Communities
  • CT Coalition to End Homelessness