Sen. McKinney Calls for 650 New Units of Supportive Housing

March 4, 2008

Housing Committee Unanimously Passes SB142

HARTFORD, CT – Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) today addressed more than 300 individuals who have experienced homelessness, supportive housing tenants, service providers, advocates and legislators to express his support for legislation funding 650 new units of supportive housing and to renew his call for a statewide plan to end homelessness.

“Having a place to call home is the stabilizing factor in most of our lives, yet more than 30,000 of our neighbors here in Connecticut will experience homelessness in this year alone,” said Senator McKinney. “For too long, efforts to reduce homelessness have been invested in emergency shelters and other programs that simply maintain the problem. Today we know there is a better solution. We know that we can end homelessness with permanent supportive housing and related services that help people out of poverty and distress and into housing stability.”

Senator McKinney was a guest speaker at Supportive Housing Day, an event sponsored by the Connecticut Aids Resource Coalition, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the Keep the Promise Coalition, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Reaching Home Campaign. The event’s goal is to get the legislature to fund 650 new units of supportive housing this year.

Following the event, the General Assembly’s Select Committee on Housing unanimously passed Senate Bill 142, legislation supported by Senator McKinney that would fund the 650 new units. The bill now moves on to the Planning and Development committee.

“The Reaching Home campaign sees this bill as a critical step in getting to our statewide goal of creating 10,000 new units of supportive housing by 2014,” said Kate Kelly, Reaching Home Campaign Manager, Partnership for Strong Communities.

In December, 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.

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 2007, Sen. McKinney testified before Congress in support of reauthorizing the Act.