About Homelessness in the United States

  • Ending homelessness is one of the most compelling needs in our nation.  A national census of homelessness conducted by HUD in 2009 determined that there were 643,067 sheltered and unsheltered individuals who were homeless nationwide. Of those, approximately 111,000 (17%) met the criteria for “chronically homeless.”
  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness report shows some progress nationwide but still there are families and individuals who need our help.

About Homelessness in Connecticut

  • The most recent census conducted by the CT Coalition to End Homelessness conducted in 2011 found 4,465 individuals homeless in Connecticut and 331 of those individuals were counted in lower Fairfield County in the Stamford-Greenwich area (there are another 400+ individuals living in state hospitals).
  • According to research provided by the Connecticut Partnership for Strong Communities, an estimated 33,000 people in Connecticut — including 13,000 children — experience homelessness at some point each year.
  • Further analysis shows that more than two-thirds (69%) of those counted were adults without children and nearly 40 counted (18%) met the criteria for chronic homelessness.

What is “Chronic Homelessness”?

  • As defined through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, “Chronic Homelessness” describes the status of a homeless individual who lives or resides in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter and has experienced homelessness continuously for at least one year or on at least four separate occasions in the last three years.

Why focus on chronic homelessness?

  • Chronic homelessness has a high priority due to its particularly tragic and costly impact on the individual, family and community. While this cohort is relatively small compared to the larger homeless population, those experiencing chronic homelessness represent not only the neediest clients served by the Shelter and the wider service system but also the most problematic in terms of resource utilization and associated costs as these clients often have multiple health, co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues, histories of unemployment, hospitalization, criminal backgrounds and legal issues. As a whole, this segment of the homeless population historically tends to utilize a disproportionate share of services and resource and, if housing placement does occur, placement outcomes are typically negative.

The Role of “Affordable Housing”

  • There are few, if any, affordable housing options available for those who are ready to move on and away from a life of homelessness. The lack of affordable housing is not a problem that is unique to Fairfield County, but one that is amplified by the county's extreme income disparities and disproportionately higher housing costs. Moreover, for those trying to cope with mental illness and/or recover from addiction, or earn a second chance out of a criminal past, the challenge of affordable housing becomes insurmountable without supportive services to ensure successful transitions into permanent housing arrangements. 

Profile of Homelessness...