January 8, 2019

Hartford Foundation awards $924K to address homelessness

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo
Hartford's skyline.

Five nonprofit organizations, including several based in Hartford, are splitting more than $924,000 from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Capital City to combat local homelessness.

The foundation, which supports Hartford and 28 nearby communities, on Tuesday said the funding, aimed at providing coordinated services to prevent or eliminate homelessness, will support 1,400-plus individuals and families from Greater Hartford who are homeless or facing homelessness.

Grants were awarded to the Salvation Army's southern New England division ($326,640), My Sisters' Place ($220,000), ImmaCare ($144,000), Hands on Hartford ($111,600) and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness ($30,000). The Salvation Army also received a $92,000 matching grant from the city of Hartford to support "no-freeze efforts."

As part of the grants, individuals will be served through supportive housing, housing subsidies, eviction prevention/landlord negotiation, employment services and other sheltering services provided by ImmaCare, Salvation Army and My Sisters' Place.

A total of 50 homeless men, women and children each night will receive warm shelter, and case management, diversion, and transportation services and referrals to no-freeze warming centers provided by Salvation Army in partnership with the city.

Hands on Hartford will also provide meals and case management to over 100 people per day and distribute toiletries and clothing to at least 60 percent of clients. ImmaCare will also continue providing case management services, meals and emergency shelter to 75 men per day.

Although recent progress has been made addressing homelessness, the foundation says challenges persist.

Homelessness has increased in Greater Hartford, the foundation said, since hundreds of people from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands migrated to the area to flee the wreckage left by Hurricane Irma and Maria in Sept. 2017.

Plus, affordable housing is difficult to find and retain "due in large part to Connecticut's expensive rental market," the foundation said, noting monthly fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Hartford is about $1,200.

A National Low Incoming Housing Coalition (NLIHC) report found that a renter would need to earn almost $25 per hour to afford Hartford's fair market rent. NLIHC said Connecticut has the ninth-highest housing wage in the nation.

"Many families and individuals of modest means are unable to afford current rents or must spend an untenable amount of their income (more than 30 percent) to secure even substandard housing," the foundation said.

According to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, the state currently has more than 4,000 homeless individuals.

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