Results from a recent statewide count on homelessness show a 21% increase in the number of families staying in Connecticut shelters.
In January, volunteers and service providers fanned out across the state to survey individuals and families living in shelters and transitional housing, as well as in places like cars, parks, and abandoned buildings. Many of the families surveyed point to high housing costs as the reason for their homelessness.
Carol Walter, Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness says this year's count is likely more accurate than last year's, but Walter stresses that the homeless population can be difficult to track.
"There's cause for concern and there's cause for hope. The cause for concern is that we've seen this increase in families. The cause for hope is that we know we can end homelessness in CT. We know because permanent supportive housing has been effective in holding down the numbers of homeless individuals and we know that there are other solutions that we're working on in CT to end family homelessness."
There are currently 3,500 supportive housing units in Connecticut--which provide permanent affordable housing for at-risk families. Advocates say they'll ask the state to expand funding for this initiative in the next year, ultimately pushing for 10,000 units by 2014.