Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - November 17, 2017 


The Keystone oil pipeline spills big time in South Dakota; a look at the GOP tax plan and it’s impact on the most vulnerable Americans; and renewed hope for Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters national monument.

Daily Newscasts

Budget Impasse Raises Concerns for Homeless Services

Chronic homelessness in Connecticut has decreased almost 60 percent in three years. (fantareis/Pixabay)
Chronic homelessness in Connecticut has decreased almost 60 percent in three years. (fantareis/Pixabay)
August 18, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Advocates for the homeless are worried that cuts in Connecticut's budget, now almost seven weeks overdue, could roll back progress.

The January census of homelessness showed a third straight year of declining numbers in the Nutmeg State, a 24-percent reduction from 2014 and the lowest count on record.

But according to Lisa Tepper Bates, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, the budget impasse already has brought funding cuts to service providers working with individuals still living on the streets.

"As this drags on, there is the very real possibility of the funds not being available to allow for the rental subsidies that have helped some very high-need individuals exit homelessness to stable housing," she explains.

The state is attempting to close a $1.6 billion deficit for the current fiscal year through cuts, with few increases in tax revenue.

Bates says proposals that have been made so far include cutting services for high-needs people, such as those with mental illness, once they have been housed, and eliminating the Department of Housing through consolidation with another government agency.

"Having that stand-alone Department of Housing has been central to a real housing policy that includes ending homelessness, and a substantial increase in the stock of affordable housing," she says.

Bates adds that cuts on the state level would not only jeopardize the substantial decrease in the state's homeless population but also would shift some of the burden to local communities.

"That decrease in homelessness is saving lives and saving our communities resources that in these tight times they cannot afford to squander," adds Tepper Bates.

National studies have shown that housing the chronically homeless with appropriate services can decrease costs to communities by up to 70 percent.

Advocates for the homeless are worried that cuts in Connecticut's budget, now almost seven weeks overdue, could roll back progress. Andrea Sears reports.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT