December 2015

A Letter from Lisa Tepper Bates

Dear friends,

In this season of gratitude, CCEH thanks you for your work.  

The providers across the state who work every day with our neighbors experiencing homelessness are heroes.  You are frontline workers at the shelters and soup kitchens serving those in urgent need with the basics.  You are the outreach workers finding those who are not able to come in and offering help and support.  You are the case managers finding housing and helping re-build stability for those exiting homelessness.  You are the executive directors planning our new way forward as we build new, coordinated systems to better serve those in need.  All of you work hard, putting your whole heart into the effort, in tough circumstances.  

Together, we are making a difference.  

Every day we at CCEH hear of ways that clients in need in one community or another are benefiting from our new, coordinated systems. Until we end all homelessness, we know we have work to do.  But we are making progress and we are learning how to make our systems better, how to help more people exit homelessness and return to housing.  A journey of 1,000 miles starts with one step.  We have not yet reached a finish line, but we have taken many more steps than just one, thanks to your efforts!

We at CCEH wish you a wonderful holiday season.  And we thank you for all you do, every day!


Best regards,

 
Executive Director
Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness
 

Upcoming Training Schedule
 
Best Practices of Emergency Shelters and Crisis Services

December 8 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
United Way of Greater New Haven
370 James St., Suite 403
New Haven, CT 06513
 

December 9 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Community Health Center
Community Room
675 Main St. 
Middletown, CT 06457



On Decembe r 8th and 9th, CCEH, in partnership with the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the Department of Housing, will offer trainings on "Best Practices of Emergency Shelters and Crisis Services in an Effective Crisis Response System." The goal is to offer guidance on how to provide housing-focused, low-barrier, and safe shelter, crisis, and diversion services with the goal of quickly exiting clients to permanent housing solutions.  

Training is directed  toward  agency  directors , program management, and front-line staff.  

Administering the VI-SPDAT 2.0

January 5 @ 11:00 am -12:00 pm
United Way of Greater New Haven
370 James St., Suite 402
New Haven, CT 06513
 
January 7 @ 11:00 am -12:00 pm
Community Health Center
Community Room
675 Main St. 
Middletown, CT 06457

 
The new and improved VI-SPDAT 2.0 is coming out and organizations across Connecticut will be adopting these changes for their service intake. This training will prepare providers and organizations to adapt to the changes and improve use of this prioritization and data collection tool. 

The new VI-SPDAT 2.0, Vulnerability Index - Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool, was developed by OrgCode and Community Solutions and will be incorporated into CT HMIS this January.  CCEH will host a one-hour training, offered two times this January, to help assure that the tool is administered consistently across the system. 



Volunteers Needed: Upcoming Point-In-Time Count

The 2016 Connecticut  Point-in-Time (PIT) count will take place on the evening of  Tuesday, January 26th.

The PIT count is an important, annual effort to gather data on the number of homeless. It is used as a basis for service and resource planning, and to raise public awareness about homelessness. 

Volunteers are essential to this process!
If you are interested in volunteering, opportunities available all over the state. Experience is not necessary. Anyone over the age of 18 is qualified to volunteer. For more information, please contact Jackie Janosko at jjanosko@cceh.org or (860) 721-7876 X 111.

Every volunteer counts! Join us in helping make a difference in the lives of those in our community!



A dvocacy Action Alert: 
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assi stance Program

As an update, the funding process to determine spending levels for housing and homelessness programs has continued to move very quickly and is expected to be finalized by December 11th. We are in the final federal advocacy stretch as the FY16 omnibus spending bill will be passed very soon. Until then, we are counting on advocates to contact Members of Congress to push for the inclusion of $2.480 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance program in the final bill. This is our chance to convince Congress to put federal level resources on the table to end chronic homelessness by 2017 and make national progress on ending family and youth homelessness by 2020.

Senator Murphy in particular has shown a special interest in ending homelessness in the past. He will play a key role in getting this funding included in the final appropriations bill. Please reach out to his office to convey the importance of this.

We ask that in the next two weeks you contact and follow up with your congressional offices requesting this funding as a top priority.

Here's What You Can Do:
 
1.  Email your congressional offices and  Senator Murphy! 
~Email the key housing staff at each office this week with these letters attached. You can also link to these  one-pagers  in the body of your email.
 
2.  Call your congressional offices to follow up to the emails! You can find the contact information for your congressional offices here .
~You can use these talking points to help you get the key messages across!
 
3.  Spread the word about this national grassroots effort to  your colleagues and community partners!
 
4.  Let us know which offices you emailed and called, and what responses you receive! This is extremely important for our work with these offices and tracking purposes! 

  
  
Sentencing Commission Continues Review of CT Sex Offender Registry

The CT Sentencing Commission's Special Co mmittee on Sex Offenders   met on November 18 to continue the process of reviewing the current sex offender registry system. The Committee heard from Ivan Kuzyk, OPM Criminal Justice Policy & Planning Division, who shared the details of a study completed for the state on recidivism rates among those convicted of sex offenses.  (You can view the November 18th meeting of the committee here .) 

CT has over 6,000 people on the state's offense-based registry. An individual's presence on the registry is often a permanent impediment to their ability to secure housing or employment.  The Special Committee's review of the CT system will include a review of data about effective sex offender management that has been developed since the CT registry -- one of the nation's first -- was set into law.  CCEH Executive Director Lisa Tepper Bates is a member of the Special Committee, giving voice to the challenges that homeless providers face given their role in this complex issue. 





HUD Rolls Out New Definition of Chronic Homelessness

On December 4 HUD published the the Final Rule on Defining "Chronically Homeless" in the Federal Register, with an effective date of January 15, 2016.

Among the most notable revisions:
 
~To be considered chronically homeless, a person must have a disability and have been living in a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter, or a safe haven for the last 12 months continuously or on at least four occasions in the last three years where those occasions cumulatively total at least 12 months;
 
~Occasions are defined by a break of at least seven days not residing in an emergency shelter, safe haven, or residing in a place meant for human habitation;
 
~Stays in institutions of fewer than 90 days do not constitute a break and count toward total time homeless.
 
This new definition will have an important impact on eligibility for Permanent Supportive Housing.  HUD has committed to provide multiple webinars over the coming weeks  to ensure that all Continuums of Care (CoCs), recipients of CoC Program-funded PSH, and other stakeholders have the opportunity to hear more about the definition and what HUD expects.

Read the HUD brief here
 




The LGBTQ Community, Safe Shelter, & Fair Housing

Understanding the current policies and laws regarding the LGBTQ community in today's social services and homeless outreach landscape is essential to not only maintaining funding, but also providing quality care to clients across Connecticut. The CT Coalition to end homelessness is running a series of trainings on these issues, including New Haven, Norwich, Manchester, Norwalk, and Middletown, and would be happy to host one with you and your team of service providers.
Please contact CCEH to step up a training with you and your staff. Let's work together to bring all organizations in Connecticut under compliance of Fair Housing policies and provide the best possible services to the LGBTQ community across Connecticut. You can also learn more on the CCEH LGBTQ Resources Page.



Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce Honors Belt, Zall for Work on Homelessness

The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut awarded Reverend Michel Belt and Reverend Catherine Zall with the 2015 William Crawford Distinguished Service Award. They were honored together at a joint celebration Thursday, November 12 at Foxwoods Resort Casino.  The Crawford Award is periodically presented to outstanding individuals who exemplify the spirit of service to one's neighbors, and who have contributed to improving the quality of life in eastern Connecticut.  The Chamber asked CCEH Executive Director Lisa Tepper Bates to speak about the importance of their work and to introduce Cathy Zall at the event.
 
Together, Belt and Zall organized and raised funds to purchase and convert the former St. Peter & Paul Polish National Catholic Church as a new home for the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, a 50-bed homeless shelter and support facility.  Under Zall's direction, New London Homeless Hospitality Center has provided a safe and welcoming space for countless people experiencing homelessness. The Center also supports veterans, and focuses on developing housing options for all those served.

Congratulations Reverends Belt and Zall, and thank you for your work!



David Pascua Joins CCEH and Continues Decades of Impact on Housing in CT

David Pascua comes to CCEH with 36 years of state service with the Connecticut Department of Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).  His deep rooted experience in mental health dates back to 1979 when he was employed at Norwich State Hospital.  In 1991 he transferred to the Southeastern Mental Health Authority (SMHA) where he served as Acting Team Leader of the Community Integration Program and established the SMHA Network Housing Office. In his role as Housing Director David overseen the local administration of numerous state and HUD funded housing programs, daily operations of the housing office, and has been highly active in a wide range of CoC housing related activities and initiatives throughout the Southeastern CT region.

Moving forward, David will serve as CCEH Community Impact Coordinator of Southeastern Connecticut managing the Coordinated Access Network, and helping advance community capacity building efforts to end homelessness. 

We're very fortunate to have Mr. Pascua join the CCEH team and look forward to the many great things to come!






Be Homeful for the Holidays

You can make a difference for a family facing homelessness. There are 1,300 families facing homelessness in Connecticut, including over 2,400 children. Thanks to donations from supporters like you, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and its members are able to help families with young children avoid the trauma of homelessness by helping with one-time needs such as a car repair or a single month's rent. The average cost of keeping a family from becoming homeless is just $1,000.

Inspire others by creating a campaign to sponsor a family and prevent them from becoming homeless. Host a marmalade drive in your local church, library, or school or go online and join or set up your own fundraiser for you and your friends here.

For questions about be homeful   information on how to set up a marmalade drive,  to share a story about your marmalade drive,  or if you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with the be homeful project,  please contact Madeline Ravich at   mravich@cceh.org or check out the be homeful website .



Year-End Contributions to CCEH

Don't forget to make your year-end gift to CCEH! Contributions from supporters like you have already done so much to help our state meet its ambitious goals of ending chronic veteran homelessness in 2015 and make strides through the 100-day challenges communities around the state have held in the past year. A gift of any amount does more than you can imagine to enhance our ability to support our providers and will be especially critical as we march towards our goal of ending chronic homelessness in 2016. Make your gift today at cceh.org/donate. Thank you for your support!


CCEH Data Updates
 
If you haven't subscribed to the CCEH data newsletter, you are missing out on a monthly dose of everything data-related that is coming from CCEH! You can click here to sign up , and never miss out on exciting data related releases like the Coordinated Entry Reports , Regional PIT Reports , or the upcoming supplemental youth count data report.