Volunteers help track homeless across Connecticut


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — From the New Haven city green, all across Connecticut and the United States.

It’s much like a census for the homeless.

Every homeless man, woman and child is accounted for.

Seventy volunteers in the Elm City helping to go person to person.

“We aren’t just pointing the finger. ‘Hey, you are homeless do this survey.’ It’s more, we are from the point in time count we are doing this count for this purpose,” said Lisbette Delacruz, Senior Outreach Manager for Columbus House.

The point in time count is required by the Federal Housing and Urban Development Agency.

It’s a snapshot off the homelessness picture and a way to chart progress.

“I expect the numbers to be lower this year,” said Keyonna Black, Program Director at The Connection and the Behavioral Health Department.

One year ago this week, the numbers looked like this in Connecticut: 2,370 people were in emergency shelters in Connecticut, 868 in transitional housing, 683 were unsheltered.

2016 also marked a year vowing to end chronic homelessness in Connecticut.

“That is a remarkable accomplishment,” said Alison Cunningham, CEO of Columbus House.

Every chronically homeless person in the state now has housing available to them.

“We’ve done that because we’ve had leaders in the state who believe in this. Who understand the causes of homelessness but also understand when we can get people housed it actually saves the state money,” said Cunningham.

Work still needs to be done.

Shelters and warming centers in Connecticut remain full.

Open beds are rare.

The point in time count helps gauge financial needs and open relationships to those on the streets to receive the help that is available to them.