The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) are asking municipal CEOs across the state to organize volunteers in their communities to execute the upcoming annual counts of individuals experiencing homelessness in Connecticut. The Point-in-Time Count will take place on the evening of Jan. 21 or the morning of Jan. 22. A separate count for youth experiencing homelessness will be conducted during the days of Jan. 22-28.

CCM recently established a Homelessness Prevention Task Force, created with the vision that municipalities have been and continue to be on the forefront of this issue. Task force chairs, Mayor Ben Blake of Milford and Mayor Erin Stewart of New Britain, are leading the work at CCM to develop the best practices and coordinated actions municipalities can take to combat homelessness. An accurate count of the state’s homeless population is one critical component.

Following is the complete text of the letter sent by Mayor Blake and Mayor Stewart on Monday, Jan. 13 to Connecticut’s 169 chief elected officials:

Dear Municipal CEO,

In October of 2019 CCM established our Homelessness Prevention Task Force. CCM’s Homelessness Prevention Task Force is a coordinated effort between municipal leaders, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and Sustainable CT.

The collective mission of the task force is to prevent homelessness in Connecticut by providing municipalities with a menu of coordinated, voluntary actions, to continually become better equipped to address homelessness; to provide best practices; to provide communities with the tools to prevent homelessness; and to certify and recognize municipalities for their ongoing achievements and efforts to address homelessness.

The task force relies on the unique experience of local municipal officials and the subject matter expertise of advocates to address homelessness at the local level through leadership, advocacy, and building the capacity of members to respond to the challenges of providing assistance to the homeless.

As Co-Chairs of CCM’s Homelessness Prevention Task Force we are proud to extend this important volunteer opportunity to your residents and staff.

CCM’s Task Force to Prevent Homelessness and The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness are looking for volunteers to participate in this year’s Point-in-Time Count and the Youth Count and Outreach Project.

The annual Point-in-Time Count (PIT) takes place the night of Jan. 21 in most cities and towns, but some municipalities do it early in the morning on Jan. 22. It is the annual census of those experiencing homelessness. The PIT takes place throughout the country, intentionally on one of the coldest nights of the year. HUD uses PIT data to inform policy and funding decisions, which makes the quality of our data especially important.

The Youth Count was established in 2015 to capture data on homeless and housing-unstable youth that was not being accurately captured by the PIT. Instead of canvasing youth during the PIT, volunteers canvas during 2-3 hour intervals taking place during the days of Jan. 22-28. Volunteers participate in a short web training in advance and then hit the streets in teams, scouting locations where homeless youth are known to congregate.

Volunteers convene at a location not too far from where they live or work for a short training and hit the ground in teams of 3-5, each led by a seasoned worker from Connecticut’s homeless crisis response system. Volunteer teams are each assigned a census block to canvas together, entering data in the PIT app. Volunteers will attend a brief training before hitting the streets in teams to identify how many people are living in emergency shelters or in places not meant for habitation. To learn more, visit cceh.org/volunteer or contact Madeline Ravich, Development Advisor for CCEH at 773-339-3600.

We ask that you share this information with your staff and residents and consider encouraging them to volunteer.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Blake, Mayor of Milford

Erin Stewart, Mayor of New Britain

Each year, the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count surveys adults and families with children on one-night and is followed by the Youth Outreach & Count, a weeklong count of youth. These counts provide two sources of data that are used to measure the extent of homelessness in the state and enables a comparison of how homelessness is trending from year-to-year. Like all states and communities, Connecticut is also required to report this data to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, who use it to compile the Annual Assessment of Homelessness Report to Congress.

How many people are homeless on any given day/night in Connecticut? As reported in the last, most recent Point-in-Time Count by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH), there are 3,033 people who were homeless in shelters, sleeping outside or other places not meant for human habitation on a single night in Connecticut. The coalition reports a 32 percent reduction in homelessness based on this one-night census measure since 2007 (the year of the first count).

CCM’s Task Force to Prevent Homelessness is a coordinated effort between municipal leaders, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and Sustainable CT. The collective mission of the task force is to prevent homelessness in Connecticut by providing municipalities with a menu of coordinated, voluntary actions, to continually become better equipped to address homelessness; to provide best practices to provide communities with the tools to prevent homelessness; and to certify and recognize municipalities for their ongoing achievements and efforts to address homelessness, as part of the Sustainable CT initiative. The task force relies on the unique experience of local municipal officials and the subject matter expertise of advocates to address homelessness at the local level through leadership, advocacy, and building the capacity of members to respond to the challenges of providing assistance to the homeless.

CCM task force members include:

Ben Blake, Mayor of Milford

Erin Stewart, Mayor of New Britain

Velma George, Homelessness Prevention Coordinator, City of New Haven

Marcia LeClerc, Mayor of East Hartford

Gary Evans, Town Manager of Wethersfield

Neil O’Leary, Mayor of Waterbury

Luke Bronin, Mayor of Hartford

Jessica Carrero, Assistant to the Mayor of East Hartford

Jeff Weiser, Executive Director for Homes with Hope, Westport appointment

Lynn Stoddard, Executive Director for Sustainable CT

Erica Texiera, Assistant Director of Social and Youth Services in Wethersfield

Mackenzie DeMac, Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Waterbury

Jennifer Paradis, Executive Director for Milford Beth El Center

Richard Cho, Executive Director for Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness

Madeline Ravich, Development Advisor and Director of the BE HOMEFUL Project

David Fink, Consultant, Partnership for Strong Communities

Stacy Butkuss, Principal, H.C. Wilcox Technical High School, Connecticut Association of Schools appointment