Homelessness is a national problem with local origins. And Litchfield County, Connecticut, is not immune. More than 33,000 people, including 13,000 children, experience homelessness over the course of a year in Connecticut. The chronically homeless, those who have experienced homelessness four or more times in the past three years, make up about 10 percent of Connecticut’s homeless population. In our Northwest corner, 30 percent of those experiencing homelessness are chronically homeless. Many more experience less frequent episodes of homelessness. At last count, there were 189 homeless people living in Litchfield, including families with young children.
On December 12, 2013, The Community Foundation, New Beginnings of Northwest Hills Litchfield County, and over ten local and regional nonprofits along with the Office of the Mayor held a press conference announcing a comprehensive plan to end homelessness in Northwest Connecticut.
The Purpose of the Plan is fourfold:
• to dispel misconceptions and myths surrounding homelessness
• to educate the public about all of the consequences of homelessness. While the Plan is primarily a humanitarian effort, there are economic consequences to homelessness for communities in terms of emergency medical services, public safety and law enforcement, shelters and treatment facilities and the overall attractiveness of commercial centers
• to optimize the potential for funding, particularly at the federal and state level as many of these grants now require a plan to be in place for grant eligibility
• to create a roadmap for an integrated and strategic approach to ending homelessness, systematically by creating a series of goals and objectives that address prevention, housing, services and employment