The state granted $5 million for cold weather funding to homelessness service providers this year, and recently notified organizations how much money they’ll receive to offer additional shelter beds so the unhoused population can stay warm through the winter.
Providers have been waiting to learn the amount so they can start fundraising for additional money and plan for the wintertime accommodations.
During the last legislative session, homelessness service providers asked for $50 million for the homeless response system, in part to annualize the cold weather funding. The bill to offer that money wasn’t approved through lawmakers’ budgeting process.
The state determines the allocation for each of the state’s regional networks, called Coordinated Access Networks or CANs, through a formula that looks at the number of people experiencing homelessness in the area. Providers can start to draw down the money Nov. 1, according to a Connecticut Department of Housing spokesperson.
Providers, lawmakers and a Department of Housing official have said the money isn’t going to be enough to meet the rising need this winter.
“This funding will support cold weather support services which will allow the CAN to identify and staff safe seasonal spaces to ensure there is enough warm locations for any homeless citizen that needs access to a warm space during the winter months,” says a late September letter from Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno to providers. “The majority of this funding should be used for staffing, site location and provision of food.”