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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Help us end homelessness in our region! Join the 100,000 Homes Campaign! Volunteer!

We need your help! Greater New Haven Opening Doors is part of a nationwide campaign, called the 100,000 Homes Campaign (, to survey homeless individuals and prioritize them for available housing based on vulnerability. Our goal is to house 75 percent of the region's chronically homeless population — approximately 107 people — into apartments of their own, by July 30. To do that we need you help! 

Join us as a volunteer for the Greater New Haven Region Registry Week, May 12-16, 2014! This will be a community effort to actively go into the community to interview individuals experiencing homelessness in our region in order to better understand their health and housing needs. Registry Week includes a walking canvass May 12 -14th (4 - 8 am) and a data entry project on May 15-16th (9 am - 4 pm). T-shirts and training will be provided.  Please use the link below to commit to specific times, dates and activities.

For more information or to sign-up use the link below or contact Jan McCray at or (203) 691-4216.

I've invited you to fill out the form Greater New Haven Opening Doors: Registry Week Volunteer Sign Up . To fill it out, visit: 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Connect to 100,000 Homes Campaign

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100K Homes Connect

100,000 Homes Campaign - Housing First


Housing First

The only lasting solution to homelessness is permanent housing. Far too often, however, we attempt to treat the symptoms of homelessness instead of its root cause.

For years, homeless service providers worked to offer medical and mental health care, addiction counseling, job training and countless other services to people living on the streets. Most homeless people were told they had to earn their way to permanent housing by checking these supplementary boxes.
While the intentions behind this approach were good, the unfortunate result was that very few people ever escaped the streets.

100,000 Homes communities believe this traditional approach is backwards, and the data agrees with them. Countless studies have now shown that we must offer housing first, not last, if we want to help people out of homelessness. An immediate connection to permanent supportive housing can ensure that over 80% of homeless individuals remain housed, even among clients with severe substance abuse and mental health conditions.
The bottom line is that it is just too difficult to battle addiction, take care of serious physical and mental health conditions or find steady employment while simultaneously battling homelessness. Contrary to popular opinion, these things are not precursors to housing. Instead, they stem from the safety and stability that comes from having a permanent home in the first place. That’s why all 100,000 Homes communities adopt a “Housing First” approach.
Housing First is a simple philosophy that dictates that the most vulnerable and chronic people experiencing homelessness be offered the choice to move into permanent housing combined with available supportive services ("permanent supportive housing") right away. It discourages imposing conditions on permanent housing, whether related to health, employment or sobriety. This approach has a documented track record of ending people’s homelessness while often encouraging them to make their own choices to get healthy, quit drugs and alcohol, and find employment when possible.
Studies also show that Housing First approaches involving permanent supportive housing tend to be much cheaper for taxpayers than allowing people to remain homeless. As homeless individuals with the highest health and service needs benefit from the stability of housing, they are better able to tend to their needs in productive, self-driven and long-term ways. As a result, they make less frequent use of expensive, publicly funded services like emergency rooms, shelters and jails.
Ultimately, Housing First is based on the simple idea that a homeless individual will be most successful when able to make his or her own informed decisions about housing and health. Housing and services are made available when a homeless individual chooses them, not as a requirement or mandatory condition. This breeds a sense of independence and self-efficacy that is often instrumental in helping individuals remain safe, healthy and housed.
- See more at:

New Haven Region Joins 100K Homes Campaign - Registry Week Scheduled for May 12th through May 16th!!


Know Who's Out There

We cannot end homelessness in America until every homeless person on our streets is known by name by someone who has carefully assessed their health and housing needs.

Person-specific data is the key to ending homelessness for our most vulnerable (and often anonymous) homeless neighbors.

100,000 Homes communities identify their homeless neighbors by name through an event called a Registry Week, the organizing backbone of the 100,000 Homes Campaign. The Registry Week process is based on a simple idea: communities should work to identify their most vulnerable or at-risk homeless residents and prioritize them for permanent housing. Medical research published in highly regarded, peer-reviewed journals highlights several health and social conditions that make people more likely to die on the streets. We’ve created a survey tool, the Vulnerability Index, that screens for those conditions and helps communities identify the most vulnerable people in their midst.
After an extensive volunteer training, Registry Week volunteers comb the streets of their communities block by block to ask as many people as possible to complete the Vulnerability Index questionnaire. This process occurs early in the morning, usually between the hours of 4 and 7 a.m. to ensure that those surveyed are among the unsheltered homeless population. Unsheltered individuals and families tend to reflect those who are not seeking or engaging with local service systems independently, and thus, those who are most likely to remain unhoused without proactive assistance.
Once volunteers return to local Registry Week headquarters with their completed surveys, additional volunteers begin entering results into our national database. As of today, this database contains over 40,000 surveys with homeless people across the country. Roughly 44 percent of those surveyed have at least one condition that spikes their risk of death and identifies them as “vulnerable.” Data entry is a critical task because communities can’t prioritize their most vulnerable homeless neighbors until each person surveyed is in the system. Once communities have a full list of the most vulnerable people on their streets, they can begin targeting their resources in a way that saves lives and maximizes public dollars saved.
Each Registry Week ends with an open community briefing and press conference. Think of it as a chance for the whole community to focus on homelessness for an afternoon. A Campaign staffer or a local partner leads the briefing and shares, among other things, the results of the surveying efforts. Community members are often moved by learning how many veterans are on their streets, or how many of their homeless neighbors are living with cancer. The combination of these humanizing portraits with clear data about the state of local homeless populations is powerful, transforming homelessness from an abstract problem into an urgent moral crisis. Often, people who have never worked with homeless people before become committed advocates after attending a Registry Week community briefing.
Finally, the work of housing begins. The data gathered during Registry Week helps communities identify the federal and local housing resources and services for which various members of their homeless population are eligible, dramatically accelerating the housing placement process. Communities are typically eager to put the data and resources gathered during Registry Week to use as they start housing their most vulnerable homeless residents. In some places, local leaders have even moved people into permanent housing within days of completing their surveying efforts. This is what the Campaign is about—connecting vulnerable people to the homes and support they need to thrive.
Increasingly, communities are using federally mandated, biannual Point-in-Time (PIT) counts of their homeless population as a chance to conduct more extensive and local useful Registry Week efforts. Combining PIT counts with the use of the Vulnerability Index helps communities meet federal requirements while simultaneously gathering detailed, person-specific data about their local homeless neighbors that service providers can then use to expedite housing. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has acknowledged the value in this process and currently permits communities to satisfy their PIT requirements by conducting modified Registry Weeks. Click here for a simple toolkit to help your community accomplish these combined efforts.
- See more at:

100 Day Rapid Results Institute Kick Off

The New Haven community has taken on an ambitious challenge to make significant inroads toward ending homelessness in this region.

The New Haven Independent featured an article about the Kick-Off:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Leeway, Inc. Accepting Applications for Leeway Putnam Supportive Housing Wait List - Deadline is 4/18/14

Applications may be picked up at either of the following locations:

Front Desk 
Leeway, Inc. 
40 Albert Street, New Haven, CT  


Leeway Putnam
451 Putnam Avenue
Hamden, CT


If you have questions, please call Erma Benedetto at 203-865-0068 x3042

Leeway Accepting Applications Until Friday 4/11/14 for HIV Supportive Housing

Applications may be picked up at the front desk at:

Leeway, Inc. 

40 Albert Street, New Haven, CT.

Completed Applications have to be in by 4/11/14

Feel free to call Erma Benedetto at 203-865-0068 x3042 if you have any questions.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Haven Shelter Plus Care Opportunity



March 31, 2014

Greater New Haven Opening Doors:

Re:      New Haven Shelter Plus Care Safe Haven Opening

Dear Steering Committee:

New Haven Shelter Plus Care currently has one opening for a unit at Liberty Community Services’ Safe Haven project.  These are efficiency units with all utilities included in the rent. 

Priority for these certificates will be based on the time and date the application is received.   A waitlist will not be kept for these certificates.  Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
To be eligible for this unit, the following criteria must be met:

-          Must be chronically homeless (See definition below)
-          Documented Axis I diagnosis
-          Documented HIV/AIDS diagnosis
-          Must be a documented citizen or in compliance with INS
-          Must be 18 years or older
-          Exclusion:  Criminal histories of second degree assault, arson or sex offenses requiring being on SOR.

Chronic Homelessness
Applicants will need to provide a detailed homeless history identifying that they meet the definition of chronic homelessness.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines “Chronic Homelessnessas:
“A person is an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition, or a family with at least one adult member who has a disabling condition, who has been either continuously homeless for a year or more OR has had at least four (4) episodes of homelessness in the past three (3) years.  An episode of homelessness is a separate, distinct, and sustained stay in a place not meant for human habitation, on the streets, in an emergency homeless shelter and/or in a HUD-defined Safe Haven.  A chronically homeless person must be disabled during each episode.”  

The Greater New Haven Screening and Referral Form for Permanent Supportive Housing Programs can be found on the following websites:


A complete application should have:

·         Original, signed Screening and Referral Form (revised date 10/28/13)
·         Disability Verification form signed by licensed mental health or substance abuse professional (psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, social worker, etc.) or medical doctor.  The form must be completed even if additional clinical information is provided.  The form must include the provider’s license number.
·         Homeless Verification form with an accompanying letter from shelter or outreach staff describing the applicant’s homeless history and currently living situation.

Complete applications can be hand-delivered or mailed to:

                        New Haven Shelter Plus Care
                        319 Peck Street
                        Building #1
                        New Haven, CT  06513

The referring provider will be notified by fax if an application is accepted, ineligible, or incomplete.  Since the applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis, it is exceptionally important to ensure that applications are fully complete. 

Please disseminate this information to those in your organization who work with chronically homeless individuals and who have a qualifying disability.  Please contact Lauren Castiglioni at 203-764-6334 if you have questions or to make a referral.


Leigh Shields-Church, LCSW
New Haven Shelter Plus Care