In 2013, homelessness nationwide decreased by four percent. However, Connecticut has seen a seven percent increase since 2012, according to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness.
The federal Housing and Urban Development Department released the nationwide data about the decrease in homelessness last week. Connecticut’s information was reported earlier this year.
The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness coordinates a count of the homeless in Connecticut every year in January and submits those numbers to the Federal Housing and Urban Development Department’s national Point in Time count.
The coalition found that Connecticut had 4,506 homeless individuals as of Jan. 29, 2013. This year, 37 families were without a place to live and since 2010 the number of homeless families has increased by 16 percent. The report also showed that as many as 826 unsheltered adults are living in the state. The data suggests that the state’s homeless numbers are not merely a passing trend.
Connecticut ranks seventh nationwide in the number of chronically homeless individuals. According to a national report there were 430 chronically homeless individuals in the state.
Connecticut also has a significant number of homeless youth ages 18-24. There are 341 homeless individuals in that age group. Of these youth, 39 percent had children of their own and 22 percent of homeless families are headed by a young person ages 18-24.
Although Connecticut has not shared in the nationwide decrease in homelessness, the state has seen a decrease in homeless veterans that is on track with national levels. The country has had an eight percent drop in homeless veterans over the last year, and since 2005 Connecticut has seen its homeless veteran numbers decline by 25 percent. The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness maintain that those numbers also continued to drop throughout 2013.
However, the numbers may not be dropping quick enough to eliminate homelessness among veterans by 2015. That’s the date the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has set as a goal.
In Connecticut this year, there were 340 homeless veterans counted on a single night in January during the Point in Time Count, which the national VA uses to assess the veterans’ homeless population.
This report comes at a time when Connecticut recently awarded $18.3 million in grants and loans for affordable housing measures throughout the state. The National Coalition for the Homeless cites a lack of affordable housing and limited housing assistance programs as two contributors to homelessness.
The $18.3 million will mostly be put to use in Danbury, New London, Westport, and Hartford. Hartford accounts for as much as 17 percent of Connecticut’s homeless population.