Through a partnership with the Women and Family Life Center in Guilford and the United Way of Greater New Haven, the Beth-El Center in Milford will now be providing shelter diversion services along the Connecticut shoreline from Milford to Madison.

Through its newly-formed shoreline diversion specialist staff position, Beth-El Center will be streamlining its efforts to prevent homelessness by identifying and supporting individuals and families throughout the shoreline area who are housing unstable and at the brink of homelessness. The diversion specialist will be assisting those who are at high risk for homelessness by identifying alternate housing arrangements and connecting them with services to help them return to permanent housing without entering into the emergency homeless response system.

“The collective impact of our three agencies working together to help vulnerable populations is significant,” said Jenn Paradis, executive director of Beth-El Center. “Homelessness knows no geographic boundaries so coordination and partnerships like this are important for the greater Milford community.”

This new position, which will be based at Women and Family Life Center in Guilford starting in mid-August, is funded through Connecticut’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, also known as the Small Cities Program, which the town of Guilford helped facilitate.

“We could not be more excited and proud to partner with Beth El Center on bringing the housing navigator position to our Shoreline community,” said Meghan Scanlon, executive director of Women & Family Life Center. “If there is one thing this uncertain time has shown us it is that in order to tackle big problems like housing insecurity, we need to be creative and collaborative. Now, more than ever, families are facing very difficult choices between rent and food. This is not a new problem, but the pandemic has made it worse. To the extent we can avoid them entering the shelter system, we want to, which is why this position is so critical right now.”

The shoreline diversion specialist will be mobile throughout the region, engaging and collaborating with various community partners and targeting specific sites where vulnerable populations might found such as soup kitchens. Helping to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring and providing case management services is the goal.

“The long term effects of housing insecurity from this pandemic and other factors are our focus and this position is one piece of the puzzle in the larger fight to end homelessness,” said Scanlon.

For more information about Beth-El Center and its services, visit http://www.bethelmilford.org or call 203-876-0747.