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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Flexer Joins CCADV, CCEH to Announce National Model for Collaboratively Housing Domestic Violence Survivors Facing Homelessness

photo of Senator Flexer.

With Connecticut domestic violence shelters operating at 122 percent capacity statewide and a critical need for solutions, Sen. Mae Flexer (D-Danielson) joined the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) Thursday to announce the success of their unique and innovative partnership to house survivors of domestic violence facing homelessness.

Through this groundbreaking approach, recognized as a national model of collaboration, 73 households, including 28 single adults and 45 families, have been housed or begun the process of securing permanent housing during the first 18 months of the program.

“The national collaborative housing model established by CCADV and CCEH is a critical step in promoting safety and stability for domestic violence survivors,” said Sen. Flexer. “Survivors face numerous obstacles; equitable access to homeless housing resources should not be one of them. I applaud CCADV and CCEH for their efforts to address systemic barriers and improve outcomes for survivors and their families.”

“Rather than competing for resources, we’ve combined our forces to serve clients in need of housing resources—including those who have survived domestic violence,” said Lisa Tepper Bates, chief executive officer and executive director, CCEH. “This collaborative approach allows us to serve more clients in need, more effectively.”

“We’re proud to have created a model that other states look to as a way to safely and confidentially house domestic violence survivors and their children, offering needed stability at an often volatile time,” said Karen Jarmoc, chief executive officer, CCADV. “Access to safe, affordable housing remains one of the biggest challenges facing survivors, but we’re showing here in Connecticut that meaningful collaborations can assist in removing barriers.” The National Network to End Domestic Violence and the National Alliance to End Homelessness have highlighted the Connecticut system as a promising approach, and a model for other states to follow.

“Having pioneered a nationally recognized system that is proven to both prevent and end homelessness, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. DOH will continue to partner with domestic violence agencies across the state,” said Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne M. Klein. “The victims of domestic violence deserve access to support systems that will not only keep them safe, but also stably housed. Today’s announcement shows that we are making meaningful strides to address this issue head on —which is a testament to all we can achieve when we work together.”

Launched in January 2017 following consultation with state and federal funders, the protocol developed by CCADV and CCEH creates equitable access to federal and state homeless housing resources for domestic violence survivors in Connecticut. Homeless and domestic violence providers work together through the use of a de-identified form to confidentially add survivors to housing resource registries maintained in Connecticut’s Housing Management Information System (HMIS), the database required for use by all programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Competing federal mandates regarding the use of HMIS, which requires identifiable information, by HUD, and confidentiality requirements for all domestic violence survivors, under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), have traditionally prevented equitable access to homeless housing resources for domestic violence survivors. However, through the development of this innovative partnership and clear, consistent communication, homeless and domestic violence providers in Connecticut are now working together more efficiently and effectively to meet the needs of all Connecticut residents facing homelessness.

Domestic violence survivors are entered into housing registries and offered housing resources consistent with the prioritization of resources adopted by Connecticut’s coordinated homelessness response system. Survivors are treated equitably with homeless clients. Housing providers expedite placement if a domestic violence survivor is deemed to be a “high risk priority” following a risk assessment.

From the launch of this collaborative approach, domestic violence providers have referred 135 households to the homeless system for housing resources, including 60 single adults and 75 families with children. To date, providers have housed or matched to a resource and put on a path to permanent housing 73 households, including 28 single adults and 45 families.

This partnership offers a model for how domestic violence and homeless providers can and should work together. State and federal organizations including HUD, U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, CT Department of Housing, CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence provided support in the development of this model.

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