On Thursday, Governor Dannel Malloy said Connecticut has ended veteran homelessness in the state.
Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Malloy said the federal Housing and Urban Development Secretary notified him February 17 that the state had met this goal. He credited community partners and the Connecticut Housing department which Malloy said didn't exist before he took office.
"We signed on in 2014 that we would end homelessness among veterans by the end of last year and we did it," Malloy said.
In 2014, advocates estimated there were 500 homeless veterans living in the state. The governor said statewide coordination and additional resources have helped Connecticut solve the problem of homelessness among this population.
"We've committed $1 billion to get housing built, including many, many affordable units. Eleven thousand committed to last year alone; over 16,000 committed to in the last few years; these units are coming online," Malloy said.
Lisa Tepper Bates, Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, said this announcement doesn't mean the state will never see another homeless veteran. "But we will have built a system whereby we can meet their needs, we can get them out of homelessness and back to housing very quickly," she said.
Connecticut is the second state to meet the federal definition of what it means to end veteran homelessness. Virginia was the first.
The designation comes after an extensive review by the Interagency Council on Homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Last August, Connecticut was the first state in the nation certified by federal officials as having eliminated chronic homelessness among disabled veterans who have been homeless for a period of at least one year or have had three or more episodes of homelessness that total one year.