Outcome Area:

Basic Human Needs

As part of our efforts to dismantle structural racism and advance equity in social and economic mobility in Greater Hartford's Black and Latine communities, the Hartford Foundation supports basic human needs in our region, applying an equity lens to the systems and programs that address food and housing, physical and mental health and the digital divide.

Our desired outcomes

  • Increased food security of Greater Hartford residents
  • Reduced homelessness among Greater Hartford residents
  • Increased uptake of mental, physical health, and substance abuse supports by Greater Hartford residents
  • Increased stability, strength, and coordination of basic needs providers and networks in the ecosystem
  • Increased accountability and responsiveness of state and local agencies and systems

Why this is a priority

Addressing the basic human needs of our region is critical to achieving success in all other outcome areas. We want all our residents to thrive, and that can’t happen when people are experiencing hunger, homelessness, domestic violence, mental health challenges and lack of access to other necessities.

Rising costs for housing, food, energy, medical needs and transportation exacerbate the ability of many low-income residents to cover their basic human needs. Each year, too many of our residents fall further behind. Individuals and families with small children have to make hard decisions – they’re forced into choosing between rent and other necessities, buying food that is less healthy, or forgoing health care or childcare.

The Hartford Foundation’s Basic Human Needs Program focuses on providing a safety net and improving the lives of residents in Greater Hartford. We support nonprofits as they do vital on-the-ground work and prevent residents from losing their jobs, falling into homelessness or facing another day without food. Our support for basic human needs provides a necessary foundation for all of our other work to be successful.

What does the data tell us?

  • 27% of Latinx residents and 22% of Black residents of Connecticut experienced food insecurity at some point in 2020, compared to 9% of white residents.
  • Pre-COVID, Hartford was among the four cities with the highest eviction rates in CT.
  • 1 in 5 Black residents of our region lost a family member of friend to COVID-19. Black residents are nearly 2x as likely to have lost a loved one or friend to COVID-19 compared to white residents. 
  • Pre-COVID, the chronic absenteeism rate for CT was ~10% for several years, with Hartford averaging 24%. In October 2020, students learning remotely missed 2x as many days as those learning in-person.

What we're doing

Current or recent activities that support this outcome area:

Hartford Family Center Network (HFCN): A $820K grant enables the HFCN to enhance the network to provide interconnected supports informed by client, program and network-level data that strengthen families and the environment in which children grow. The grant seeks to further develop HFCN as part of the broader Stronger Families, Stronger Futures network offering an array of interconnected supports using a coordinated “no wrong door” approach.

Ensuring Free, Safe Learning Sites for Hartford Public Students During Remote Learning: To support working families as Hartford Public Schools moved to hybrid learning during the pandemic, the Foundation co-invested with the City of Hartford to support in-person care and learning sites for approximately 330 kindergarten through third grade students with working parents or caregivers impacted by in-person school closures.

See more of our Basic Human Needs work

Who will benefit?

Low income residents, Black and Latine residents, unstably housed residents in Greater Hartford, families with children, students in region’s Alliance Districts.