Preventing and Ending Homelessness

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In Fairfield County, there are as many as 2,000 homeless individuals at any time, and perhaps more disturbing, 600 children find themselves without a home throughout the year. This homelessness is driven—and exacerbated—by a variety of factors, including poverty, mental illness, abandonment, domestic violence, PTSD, unemployment, disability and, of course, the shortage of affordable housing.

In December 2015,  HUD announced the definition of chronic homelessness.
 
Highlights of the definition include:
•    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; and
•    The final rule establishes record keeping requirements for documenting chronic homelessness.

 

The impact of homelessness and moving from shelter to shelter creates overwhelming problems for families.   Children suffer due to absenteeism which affects their ability to learn and stay on grade level. 

Often referred to as the “Gold Coast”, Fairfield County is known for its lovely communities and  high per capita income  – but not for homelessness.  However, United Way’s ALICE report, based on research from Rutgers University, tells a different story. Visit unitedwaycfc.org/ALICE to learn more. 

There are thousands of families living day-to-day --  barely making ends meet and falling behind  These are the very families that are vulnerable to the possibility of homelessness.


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