New CT state budget provides relief for homeless people / Public press service

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness’ one-time tally shows about 300 homeless households less in January 2021 than in January 2020. The coalition says this is in part the result of federal aid that is still needed to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. (Adobe Stock)

By Michayla Savitt – Producer, Contact

May 21, 2021

HARTFORD, Connecticut – A coalition of homeless service providers in Connecticut is calling on state lawmakers and Governor Ned Lamont not to ignore their needs as they allocate funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA.

Funding from previous CARES law will expire at the end of December, and service providers fear losing the aid that enabled them to tackle the increased need during the pandemic.

Sonya Jelks, Connecticut director for the Corporation for Supportive Housing, said she understands the weight of rebuilding the economy, but tackling the impacts of homelessness must be a priority.

“Housing is one of the biggest determinants of a person’s health and well-being,” Jelks said. “And if you don’t have a place to live, none of the other efforts they’re planning to use with the recovery funds, that’s going to leave out a number of people who might be vulnerable.”

Jelks said they are still working to find out why these services were excluded from the state budget.

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness is asking for 1% of the state’s ARPA money to continue funding services such as short- to medium-term housing subsidies and the Intervention System. housing emergency.

The coalition reports that $ 20 million in funding from the CARES Act has helped providers reduce overcrowding in shelters and move approximately 3,000 families to housing. Jelks said Connecticut needs more help to stay proactive in the fight against homelessness.

“It was a temporary bandage to help us get through the difficult part of the pandemic,” Jelks said. “But he didn’t address the long-standing underfunding of homeless and homeless services that has sadly been historic in Connecticut, and probably in most places.”

Earlier this week, the coalition and its supporters appealed to state Capitol lawmakers. Jelks said she hoped the group could arrange a meeting with legislative leaders to look into the concerns.

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