Moving On Profile: Hartford, CT

In February of 2009, with technical assistance and support from CSH, the Hartford based non-profit organization Journey Home surveyed 7 supportive housing programs throughout the Capitol Region to determine if supportive housing programs were housing tenants who were ready and willing to move to more independent housing in the community. The survey revealed there were 102 supportive housing tenants potentially interested in “moving on” from the supportive housing they were living in to a more independent living arrangement in the community.

Armed with this information and with best practice examples provided by CSH, Journey Home designed and implemented a Moving On initiative that succeeded in moving forty supportive housing tenants on from the Hartford supportive housing portfolio to an affordable apartment of their own in Hartford, thereby making 40 supportive housing units available to long term homeless individuals.

Next Learning in CT Training Series Now Open for Registration

With generous support from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Melville Charitable Trust, CSH recently launched a new series of trainings and events designed for supportive housing providers across Connecticut. Beyond Housing Stability was kicked off on September 13 with an in-person training in Hartford on Eviction Prevention for Single Site Supportive Housing Developments.

The next training on October 30, 2017 from 9:30am-11:30am will feature the Connecticut Legal Rights Project (CLRP) presenting: Navigating the Eviction Process and Accessing Legal Assistance.

This in-person training is designed to teach providers about the eviction process and tenant rights/landlord responsibilities.  Nicole Seawright, with the Connecticut Legal Rights Project (CLRP), will provide participants with strategies they can use with their tenants prior to the landlord filing an eviction, the nuts and bolts of the eviction process once it has started, and when and how to access appropriate legal services. This training will also cover how to identify and address housing discrimination or other problems, accommodations, and modifications in order to secure and sustain housing.

Date:         October 30, 2017

Time:         9:30am-11:30am

Location:  CT Nonprofit Center

Charter Oak/Sheldon Conference Room

 75 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106

Presenter: Nicole Seawright, Connecticut Legal Rights Project (CLRP)

Who should attend: Supervisors and frontline staff from agencies providing supportive housing, interested others

How to register: Click here to register through CSH’s Supportive Housing Training Center. After you click on the link, click on “Request.” From there you’ll be prompted to create an account. If you already have an account through CSH’s Supportive Housing Training Center, scroll down to “login here” and sign in. Please reach out to Jessica Park via email at jessica.park@csh.org if you have any questions.

Sign up for our monthly email alertsfor Connecticut and stay tuned to csh.org for announcements about upcoming events.

New Connecticut Training Series: Beyond Housing Stability

With the generous support of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Melville Charitable Trust, CSH recently launched a new series of trainings and events designed for supportive housing providers across Connecticut. Beyond Housing Stability was kicked off on September 13 with an in-person training in Hartford on Eviction Prevention for Single Site Supportive Housing Developments.

Beyond Housing Stability is tailored to the needs of local providers based on feedback CSH has received from a variety of stakeholders. The overall goal is to give providers the tools they need to help vulnerable residents thrive. These learning opportunities are open to all supportive housing providers and other community partners interested in participating.

Mark your calendars for our next training, October 30, 2017 from 9:30am-11:30am where the Connecticut Legal Rights Project (CLRP) will present on Navigating the Eviction Process and Accessing Legal Assistance. Sign up for our monthly email alerts for Connecticut and stay tuned to csh.org for announcements about upcoming events.

Registration information will be posted soon!

Connecticut BOS Applications for New Supportive Housing

The Connecticut Balance of State Continuum of Care (CT BOS) is seeking applications for new supportive housing and rapid re-housing projects. Projects may be funded through both permanent housing bonus and/or any available reallocation funds. HUD has not yet announced the amount of funds that will be available.

The following types of new projects will be considered:

  • New permanent supportive housing (PSH) projects that will serve 100 percent chronically homeless individuals and families including youth/young adults experiencing chronic homelessness.
  • New rapid rehousing (RRH) projects that will serve homeless individuals and families, including youth, coming directly from the streets or emergency shelters, or meeting the criteria of paragraph (4) of the HUD definition of homeless. (See Project Application Appendix for Definition of Category 4 – fleeing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or other dangerous situations).

Click here to access the CSH CT BOS page, which hosts the application, additional details and instructions on how to apply. Agencies in corrective action are not eligible to apply for new funds; corrective action letters will be sent out next week. Please contact us at ctboscoc@gmail.com if you have questions.

All applications are due by COB on Friday, June 23, 2017 and should be sent to: ctboscoc@gmail.com.

A Tribute to Sharon O’Meara: The Soul of Hartford, Connecticut

Sharon R. O’Meara

We are so fortunate here at CSH to have many wonderful funders and supporters. Our relationships go beyond the contracts, benchmarks, and metrics often associated with grants; we share a common purpose and passion to make our communities better places for the most vulnerable among us. It is not uncommon for us to view the people who work with our foundation-partners as valued advisors and friends. One such person who held our affection and shared more wisdom, commitment and kindness than we can express, Sharon O’Meara of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, passed away last week and our hearts are filled with sadness.

Our staff in Connecticut worked closely with Sharon, who was hands-down one of the biggest champions ever for her beloved City of Hartford. Sharon understood that a great community cares about every neighbor and works together to meet its challenges, leaving no one behind. She chose not to ignore the homeless and impoverished, those desperately in need of being seen, and made their well-being and advancement her mission in life.

When others demurred, Sharon rolled up her sleeves and made good things happen. By serving others so well, she became a role model to be emulated.

She was a thoughtful visionary who loved to laugh. Her warmth filled any room she was in with positive energy and a can-do spirit.

These qualities made Sharon a formidable force in life and honor her memory today.


“I got to know Sharon during my time in Connecticut as CSH Director in New England; she had a real warmth about her and a great sense of humor. Talking to her was always easy and pleasant.  She was clearly deeply committed to bettering Hartford – you could immediately tell that when meeting her.”

Larry Oaks, CSH Managing Director Eastern Region

“I first met Sharon when I was Executive Director of Journey Home, prior to my working at CSH.  New on the Hartford scene, I was immediately drawn to her passion, her creativity and her hunger for new ideas to help the service system work better for the most vulnerable people.  I would love seeing Sharon and knew that a meeting on our latest grant proposal would turn into a larger discussion on how to better coordinate systems in Hartford and work with the state to improve outcomes.”

Sarah Gallagher, CSH Director of Strategic Initiatives (former Director in Connecticut)

“Sharon was a delightful person, with a keen grasp of the complex issues impacting the most vulnerable members of the Hartford community. She was committed to fostering meaningful collaborative partnerships, building on the special strengths of each stakeholder group to achieve collective results far greater than if the groups didn’t work together. Her visionary leadership has been a critical driver in implementing housing solutions for some of the highest-need people with disabilities experiencing homelessness in Connecticut.”

Betsy Branch, CSH Associate Director in Connecticut

Sharon R. O’Meara Obituary

CT Releases NoFA for Supportive Housing for Youth

The Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) recently announced its first round of funding for non-time limited supportive housing for young adults experiencing homelessness, an intervention that CSH and national partners have recommended for youth who face the most significant challenges to a successful transition to adulthood. The funding announcement came after several years of collaborative planning around strengthening the housing continuum for young adults in Connecticut.  youth TAY

Several stakeholders in the state prioritized piloting a viable supportive housing demonstration project for this population after CSH hosted a peer learning exchange with two New York City based housing programs for young adults experiencing homelessness and youth aging out of state care.

Representatives from youth-serving agencies, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), DOH, and the Melville Charitable Trust returned to Connecticut after the CSH-hosted event eager to move from planning to action by investing in an initiative providing the State with an opportunity to test multiple models that effectively meet the housing and service needs of high-risk young adults.

At the same time, several partners, including CSH, ramped up data collection to quantify information on Connecticut’s homeless young adult population. In 2015, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) conducted the first ever statewide enhanced homeless youth count and found that of the 1,342 surveys that were completed, 585 (44 percent) of youth were homeless or in an unstable living situation.

Additionally, Connecticut piloted Dr. Eric Rice’s TAY Triage Tool to better understand the risk factors and vulnerabilities to long-term homelessness that face Connecticut’s young adults. These data helped shed light on the prevalence of homelessness among young people, who often are referred to as an invisible population given their transience and desire to stay “under the radar.”

These enhanced data collection efforts, combined with ongoing opportunities to learn from peers across the country, positioned public state agencies to commit to expanding supportive housing opportunities for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.

The new funding announcement provides approximately $12 million in capital funding from the State DOH as well as annual funding for both services and operating expenses. The initiative is one strategy embraced in a statewide action plan to meet the goal of ending homelessness among youth and young adults by 2020.

New CSH Harm Reduction Institute to Launch in Connecticut

Recognizing that harm reduction is a key element of supportive housing, CSH is launching a Harm Reduction Institute (HRI) for select supportive housing service providers in Connecticut through the generous support of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).  Through six interactive training sessions, the HRI will build capacity among supportive housing providers (leadership, management and direct service staff) to successfully support persons with active substance use and other risky behaviors in maintaining housing stability and wellness.

The overall learning objectives for the HRI are to help participants understand: what harm reduction really is, the prevalence of active substance use and other risky behaviors, harm reduction through a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive lens, legal ramifications of HR interventions, and how to integrate and apply HR concepts and interventions into a recovery focused approach.

To bring the Harm Reduction Institute to your community, contact our Supportive Housing Training Center at training@csh.org.

Celebrating SIF Success in CT

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L-R: John Merz, Executive Director, AIDS-CT; Dannel Malloy, Governor, State of Connecticut; Sarah Gallagher, Director of Strategic Initiatives, CSH; Damian Thorman, Social Innovation Fund Director, CNCS; and Larry Oaks, New England Director, CSH

The successes and impact of the CSH Social Innovation Fund (SIF) initiative were highlighted during the Connecticut Integrated Healthcare and Housing Networks (CIHHN) Awards Dinner and Celebration held at the end of March in Hartford. Honored guests at the Dinner were Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, Director Damian Thorman of the Corporation for National and Community Service Social Innovation Fund, Richard Cho of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, SIF participants, and the four providers receiving awards for their work on SIF: Journey Home, Columbus House, Supportive Housing Works and New London Homeless Hospitality Center.After being introduced by Master of Ceremonies and Executive Director of AIDS-CT John Merz, CSH Director of Strategic Initiatives Sarah Gallagher welcomed everyone and spoke about the progress of SIF in Connecticut and nationally. Calling housing “a crucial piece of the healthcare puzzle,” she summed up SIF by saying it “brings together the best of what we know works in ending homelessness—data driven targeting and a housing first approach to supportive housing—with some of the most innovative solutions for improving health outcomes— care coordination, patient navigation, and direct linkages to integrated primary and behavioral health care.”

Sarah cited impressive outcomes to spotlight SIF’s progress to date:

  • SIF participants have a 92% retention rate in supportive housing.
  • 90% are actively connected to a primary health care provider.
  • 91% are actively connected to mental health care.
  • 89% to specialty care.
  • As a result, hospital emergency department use as the main source of care is decreasing for SIF participants and other service utilization patterns are trending in a positive direction.
  • Overnight hospitalizations dropped from 8.5 before housing to 2.7 in the 12 months post supportive housing placements.
  • Emergency department visits decreased from 13 pre-housing to just 5 in the 12 months post supportive housing.

In addition to positive individual outcomes, SIF’s cross-systems work has been cited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as helping to advance the direction of federal policy.

Sarah also introduced a new video featuring partners, providers, funders and participants in Connecticut’s SIF initiative.

Governor Malloy praised SIF in his address, noting that without housing and access to primary healthcare services, individuals are forced to cycle through various high-cost and crisis-care public systems, costing government significant amounts of money without any improvements in personal well-being. He reiterated his Administration’s commitment to ending homelessness and said SIF is contributing to his goals of helping the chronically homeless and those veterans in need of a home and support services.

Governor Malloy said there is now a vibrant safety net in place to quickly access housing and services for any vulnerable veteran lacking a place to live.

He also pointed out the infrastructure created through SIF will ensure that when Connecticut ends chronic homelessness, the state will already have in place new models replacing the costly and ineffective ways of addressing homelessness with newer ones that provide ongoing, coordinated, and multi-disciplinary care with the appropriate housing.

Recognizing the progress SIF has made bridging gaps between housing and healthcare, Governor Malloy acknowledged that stakeholders around other vulnerable populations need to be brought together to think about the role of housing in improving outcomes through cost-effective interventions.

L-R: Sarah Gallagher, Director of Strategic Initiatives, CSH; Damian Thorman, Social Innovation Fund Director, CNCS; Alicia Woodsby, Executive Director, Partnership for Strong Communities; and Janice Elliott, Executive Director, Melville Charitable Trust

Corporation for National and Community Service SIF Director Thorman spoke to the group about how their work is fostering greater collaboration and cooperation amongst public and private providers, breaking down the “silos” that usually exist when different agencies and levels of government focus exclusively on their own goals. He noted “SIF is reducing risks and increasing the impact of government resources by using data to drive progress…all while improving people’s lives.”

Director Thorman concluded by saying that “without SIF… programs wouldn’t be making the impact they are today.”

In addition to the remarks offered by Sarah, Governor Malloy and Director Thorman, two panel discussions, one comprised of just SIF participants and the other of general stakeholders, were incorporated into the evening. The stakeholder panel was moderated by CSH Director in New England, Larry Oaks, and included: Alicia Woodsby, Executive Director, Partnership for Strong Communities; Janice Elliott, Executive Director, Melville Charitable Trust; Steve DiLella, Director of Individual and Family Support Program Unit, Connecticut Department of Housing; and Nancy Navarretta, Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services.

The ceremony commending the four providers receiving awards was moderated by Susan Lampley of the Melville Charitable Trust. Read the introductions of the four award winners by clicking here.

CSH & Partners Work to Strengthen Housing Continuum for Young Adults in CT

Connecticut providers from across the housing continuum joined CSH in early December for a statewide convening that included a focus on tailoring the supportive housing model for young adults and transition-aged youth (TAY) to promote positive youth development and facilitate a young person’s transition to adulthood.

Policymakers from the State Department of Housing (DOH), Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Young Adult Services (YAS) division of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) engaged statewide intermediaries and providers on efforts to fill gaps along the housing continuum for TAY. Kathleen Durand from DOH announced her Commissioner’s decision to move forward with a competitive capital round of between $ 5 and 8 million dollars for young adult supportive housing in 2016 that could potentially include rental subsidies. This major commitment was reinforced when Amy Marracino from DMHAS YAS and Kim Somaroo-Rodriguez from DCF shared information on new endeavors to create more drop-in centers for youth as well as new crisis response services across the state.

The good news of a competitive capital round for young adult supportive housing set the stage for Dr. Eric Rice of the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work to share learnings from CT’s implementation of a pilot to identify homeless youth in Connecticut at most risk for long-term homelessness, and for CSH New England program staff to provide an overview on their work to assess the state of supportive housing for young adults in the state.

Dr. Rice’s presentation summarized the results of the Connecticut TAY Triage Tool pilot and provided recommendations to stakeholders on assessing youth and young adults for housing options and supportive services. The TAY Triage Tool is a youth-specific set of non-invasive questions that can be quickly delivered to determine whether a homeless young person is on a trajectory to experiencing five or more years of homelessness. The tool consists of a six point scale, with the recommendation that homeless youth with a score of 4 or higher should be prioritized for supportive housing.

For Connecticut, the tool provides a mechanism for collecting targeted data to inform how the state will prioritize young adults for new supportive housing projects that will come on-line in the future. To implement the tool in Connecticut, Dr. Rice suggested utilizing Orgcode’s Next Step Tool, which includes the six items which constitute the TAY Triage Tool. Additionally, the pilot found that youth and young adults who score higher on the TAY Triage Tool report higher levels of trauma and depression, meaning that mental health and possibly substance abuse interventions may be needed for youth and young adults who are placed into housing. Click here for a full summary of Connecticut’s TAY Triage Tool Pilot.

From enhanced data collection efforts to new commitments for permanent housing options for TAY, the state is uniquely positioned to develop and operate supportive housing for young adults in Connecticut that implement a youth framework and promote positive youth development without the traditional time limitations that exist in other housing interventions that currently exist for Connecticut’s young people.

With support from the Melville Charitable Trust, CSH has developed a general service model that is more youth-specific for Connecticut’s supportive housing providers that are serving young adults in the traditional model. CSH will continue to work with providers and other stakeholders to pilot viable demonstration projects, including developing a finance model, provide recommendations on staffing structures, and creating a learning community for providers with an interest in serving young adults in supportive housing.

The event provided CSH the opportunity to re-assemble a learning community of supportive housing providers serving young adults in traditional supportive housing and connect them not only to providers along the housing continuum, but also with Opening Doors-CT, a statewide initiative that aims to serve runaway and “unaccompanied” minors as well as young adults (18+) experiencing homelessness and housing instability. The event took place almost a year after Opening Doors-CT launched a statewide action plan to address the unique needs of youth and young adults who are precariously housed and at higher risk for exploitation, offering a day of reflection on work that’s unraveled over the past eight months and where the state has yet to go to serve these young people.

In early 2016, CSH will release a comprehensive report that assesses the current supportive housing landscape for Connecticut’s young adults and provides recommendations on next steps.

Ending Youth Homelessness in CT

CSH is leading a day-long convening today on the issue of homeless youth in Connecticut (CT). Participants are meeting at the offices of The Connection, a leading homelessness group in the state. Pictured below on the first panel of the day are (from left to right) Amy Marracino from The CT Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Svcs; April Morrison from CSH; Kim Somaroo Rodriguez from the CT Dept. of Children and Families; Mimi Haley from the CT Coalition to End Homelessness; Katie Durand from the CT Dept. of Housing, and Stacy Violante Cote (moderator) from the Center for Children’s advocacy.

CT