Missed Opportunities: LGBTQ Youth Homelessness in AmericaView
Health & Support
Often it is a combination of factors that push individuals and families into homelessness, with one loss or struggle leading to another—losing a job, a serious illness, family conflict, or just an inability to make enough to afford rising rents.Most people are able to get back on their feet within a short period of time, particularly if there is affordable housing in the community. But for others who are dealing with disabling health issues, mental health struggles, domestic violence, or addiction, finding and keeping a home can be extremely challenging. Our funding is targeted to end the cycle of homelessness for those most at risk.
We support efforts to:
- increase supportive housing units in communities and ensure they are quickly available to people who are highly vulnerable to homelessness
- take advantage of Medicaid reform to help pay for and deliver supportive housing services
Through supportive housing, individuals who once cycled in and out of emergency rooms, detox programs, psychiatric institutions, temporary shelters, and jails, receive the necessary support they need to stay healthy and safely housed.
In supportive housing, housing subsidies to pay for rent are combined with flexible, voluntary support services to help tenants stay housed and healthy. This may be help with managing an illness, getting an education, a job, a doctor’s appointment, or other support to get back on their feet.
Successful supportive housing uses the “Housing First” principle. Housing First prioritizes people most vulnerable to homelessness and moves them immediately from the streets or a shelter to their own home. Individuals receive housing and services without prerequisites or requirements for eligibility, such as being sober or participating in programs. It’s based on the simple notion that someone experiencing homelessness needs housing first and foremost. Learn more about Housing First
Multiple studies have proven that supportive housing is not only a humane and effective solution, it is also the most cost-effective response. Research has found that without supportive housing, each person experiencing chronic homelessness costs local communities $30-50,000 every year in crisis care.
One of the greatest impacts of the Trust’s support has been the significant expansion of supportive housing. In 1991, when we began our work, there were no supportive housing units in the entire state of Connecticut. By 2008, there were 3,500, reaching over 80 communities and by the end of 2012, there were over 5,200 supportive housing units in operation or development, and over 200,000 nationally.
Medicaid can help end homelessness
In 2015, the federal government made a tremendous leap forward in recognizing the relationship between housing and health. Thanks to provisions in the Affordable Care Act, state Medicaid offices across the country were given the green light to use Medicaid dollars—usually reserved for medication and clinical care—to help pay for supportive housing services. This opened up a new source of funds to care for chronically homeless people in housing at lower cost and with better health outcomes. We are excited by this new development and are helping homeless services providers in Connecticut build their capacity to take advantage of this.
We support efforts to improve the ways that local organizations and government work together to address homelessness in their communities.
We are committed to helping bring about an end to homelessness by moving away from traditional emergency responses to homelessness (like solely relying on temporary housing or shelters) and building a system that focuses on long-term and permanent solutions.
While most communities have several dedicated providers that work with individuals experiencing homelessness, those that are most successful at ending homelessness have an organized network of programs to tackle homelessness together: assessing the needs of each person or family, targeting limited resources at the most effective solution for that person, and prioritizing helping those most at risk. An effective response system has a range of levels to meet the needs of individuals who just need short-term support until they can be self-sufficient to those who are facing significant challenges and need a greater level of support.
We support collaborations that break down walls, bring all agencies that work with people experiencing homelessness together, and move communities to action.
Learn more about our long-term involvement in Connecticut's Reaching Home campaign
Even a short spate of homelessness can have a devastating impact on individuals—especially children—and that's why we are especially encouraged by the success of “rapid re-housing” as an intervention.
Rapid re-housing helps families and individuals get back into stable housing as quickly as possible, usually within 30 days, to minimize the trauma that comes with losing a home. Rapid re-housing provides short term financial assistance to cover expenses (rent, security deposits, and utilities) and other supports (housing search and landlord negotiation) to help people move quickly from homelessness into permanent housing.
In Connecticut, we’ve seen exciting results from this strategy. Three years after receiving rapid re-housing, 95% of families and 82% of single residents have stayed housed and not returned to a shelter. In 2015, we launched Secure Jobs Connecticut a pilot program to see if linking rapid re-housing with employment assistance would increase the economic security of families moving from homelessness to housing.