Mae Flexer

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Deputy President Pro Tempore & Federal Relations Liaison

An Advocate for Us

September 14, 2018

Flexer Joins Murphy to Laud Approval of Funding for CT Veteran Housing Vouchers

HARTFORD, CT—Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson), the General Assembly’s Veteran Committee co-chair, welcomed funding for 50 new housing vouchers for homeless veterans—announced earlier today by Senator Murphy and the rest of Connecticut’s congressional delegation.

Connecticut will receive $470,893 through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) for housing authorities throughout the state. Sen. Flexer applauded the efforts during a press conference in Hartford Friday with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, Steve DiLella, Director of Individual and Family Support Programs at the Connecticut Department of Housing, and Kiley Gosselin, director of the Hartford Development Office.

“As a daughter of a veteran who once faced homelessness, I know how important it is to have programs like this in place. Veterans put their lives on the line to project our country and they deserve a roof over their head they return home,” Sen Flexer said. “I am proud to live in one of two states to have ended veteran homelessness. I want to thank our congressional delegation for securing this funding that will help us continue to ensure that all Connecticut veterans and their families have a safe place to call home.”

The funding for HUD-VASH vouchers will be used to help 50 homeless veterans access affordable housing along with necessary support services from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The HUD-VASH program helps local VA facilities identify veterans in need of housing assistance. Through this program, veterans are connected with VA case managers who can help them obtain mental health and substance abuse treatment, identify and negotiate housing opportunities, as well as access counselling, job training, and education services.

“This funding is a step in the right direction towards ending the scourge of veterans homelessness,” said Sen. Murphy. “As we applaud 50 new HUD-VASH vouchers to provide housing and critical support services for veterans across the state, we recognize that the work is far from over. We owe it to the brave men and women who serve our country to ensure that no veteran is left without a safe, affordable place to live once they return home.”

State of Connecticut Ending Chronic Homelessness in 2015
The state of Connecticut became the second state to “end” chronic homelessness for veterans in 2015.

Source: United State Interagency Council on Homelessness

While this is a notable achievement, the proclamation was not without controversy because it hinges on the definition of chronic homelessness. A “chronically homeless veteran” is defined by state and federal officials as a veteran who has a disability and has been homeless for a year, or three times in a four-year period. Moreover, the state must be able to “quickly” find permanent housing for any future homeless veteran (i.e. within 90 days), and the state must have more veterans exiting homelessness, at any point, than the number entering homelessness. The only exceptions are veterans who have been offered housing and have refused it.

The goal is to make future instances of homelessness “rare, brief, and non-recurring.”

“In order to rehouse veterans and keep up with demand, the federal government needs to maintain and increase its support for these critical VASH vouchers. Last year, at a meeting with the Trump administration at the White House I and other state veterans leaders emphasized how critical this funding is to keeping veterans safely housed. Hopefully, we will continue to see this level of support thanks to the work of Senator Murphy and our whole delegation,” said Flexer.