McKinney to Lead Efforts to End Homelessness in Connecticut

December 19, 2007

Senator, Homeless Advocates Pledge to Set Example for the Nation to Follow

HARTFORD – Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield), ranking member on the General Assembly’s Select Committee on Housing, today announced the first phase of a coordinated statewide initiative aimed at ending homelessness. Sen. McKinney made the announcement during a visit to Mary Townsend Seymour Apartments, a supportive housing facility in Hartford.

“Our goal is to build and execute a plan that will end homelessness in Connecticut,” said Senator McKinney. “It is a national disgrace for us to allow as many as 3.5 million Americans and more than 30,000 people in Connecticut to experience homelessness each year. Connecticut is already recognized as a leader in supportive housing and other innovative solutions that are reducing homelessness. It is my hope, that the legislature will expand these efforts, so that we can achieve our goal and set an example for the rest of the nation to follow.”

Senator McKinney introduced the following proposals as part of the initial effort to reduce and ultimately end homelessness in Connecticut:

Fund 650 new supportive housing units in 2008 and commit to increasing that in 2009 establishing an active commitment to a development pipeline.

  • Establish a Community Housing Initiatives Team to provide technical assistance to municipalities.
  • Create incentives for municipalities to include affordable and supportive housing in mixed income, mixed use developments that support responsible growth.
  • Create new incentives for developers to include affordable and supportive housing in their developments, thereby increasing the number of units and expanding the reach of permanent supportive housing (PSH) across the state, including in high cost areas.
  • Expand the Housing Tax Credit program—increasing the credit set-aside for PSH units by $3,000,000.
  • Increase the availability of financing for supportive services.

Supportive housing has proven to be one of the most effective ways to help the homeless population and is a key part of Senator McKinney’s plan. Supportive housing provides a permanent, independent and affordable home combined with management support and employment services.

“Homelessness touches nearly every facet of public policy. Investing in a long-term solution to move people out of homelessness and into housing stability will save the state money by helping to lower health care costs, reduce crime and improve student performance,” said Senator McKinney.

“We are delighted to have Senator McKinney’s leadership on this issue,” said Diane Randall, executive director of Partnership for Strong Communities. “We look forward to working with Sen. McKinney to reach our shared goal of ending homelessness in Connecticut through supportive housing.”

Sen. McKinney has been a long time advocate for the homeless. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Operation Hope, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing innovative solutions to homelessness in Fairfield and the surrounding communities; and he and his family help provide housing and care for people with AIDS through the Stewart B. McKinney Foundation, named for Sen. McKinney’s father, the late Congressman Stewart B. McKinney. In 1986, Congressman McKinney helped craft what is now known as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act – the United State’s first coordinated federal response to homelessness. In October, Sen. McKinney testified before Congress in support of reauthorizing the Act.

“Today, our nation has an opportunity that did not seem realistic 20 years ago. We are no longer restricted to simply managing homelessness; today we truly have an opportunity to end homelessness. In Connecticut, we are working to do just that,” said Senator McKinney.