More than 1,200 Greater Hartford individuals and families who are homeless or facing homelessness will receive much needed help thanks to the work of three area nonprofit agencies and funding of more than $782,000 from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Grants were awarded to ImmaCare ($144,000); My Sisters’ Place ($220,000); and the Salvation Army of Southern New England Division ($326,500) to provide a range of coordinated services designed to prevent or eliminate homelessness. In addition, the Salvation Army of Southern New England Division received a $92,000 matching a grant from the City of Hartford to support no-freeze efforts in the Capitol Region.
While there has been significant progress in addressing homelessness, there are also continuing challenges, particularly for youth and families. Part of the difficulty in finding and keeping affordable permanent housing is due in large part to Connecticut’s expensive rental market, the eighth highest in the nation. The fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Hartford is $1,212. Many families and individuals of modest means are unable to afford current rents or must spend an untenable amount of their income (more than 30 percent) to secure even substandard housing.
The varied and unique needs of homeless families and young people experiencing homelessness require a different range of interventions. According to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness’s (CCEH) 2017 Point-in-Time Count, statewide, the number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness has decreased 60 percent since 2014. Families experiencing homelessness also decreased by 11 percent from last year; however, the size of homeless families tends to be much larger than in years past. Homelessness among unaccompanied youth continues to rise, with an estimated 4,396 youth under age 25 reporting as being homeless or living in unstable housing. CCEH found more than 40 percent of youth indicated having no permanent place to live for over a year.
“Through coordinated efforts, service providers are working more effectively together through a centralized response system that is flexible, data-driven and adequately resourced to continue to move towards ending homelessness,” said Hartford Foundation Community Investments officer Dawn Grant. “These grant proposals reflect interconnected strategies ranging from sheltering to diversion, demonstrating the continuum of approaches that are solving homelessness. Solving homelessness aligns with all of the Foundation’s strategic priorities, including early childhood and educational priorities, as children who are homeless face many educational challenges and barriers.”
Some of the expected outcomes of these grants include:
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $680 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.