The Zero: 2016 Campaign to End Chronic Homelessness in Connecticut has been operating for almost 11 months now, and in that time new partnerships and collaborations have helped create major systemic changes.

In the past months, the Zero: 2016 Team, a dedicated group of frontline staff, have coordinated several events including a Landlord Recruitment Breakfast to develop new relationships with local landlords, a Document Fair aimed to help those experiencing homelessness collect essential identification documents required for housing. With the campaign under way for nearly a year, we have made huge strides towards housing more of our chronically homeless population. Since October, 2015, when the campaign began, more than 100 chronically homeless households have been housed. With only a few months remaining in the campaign, the team needed to collaborate with all of the staff who are doing the work of finding units, meeting with landlords, and negotiating leases to see where we could improve the process.

On Tuesday, September 27th, housing case managers and program managers from all over the Greater Hartford region met with the Zero: 2016 Team to brainstorm how we can speed up the process for housing chronically homeless clients. Some areas that have been challenging in recent months are locating handicap accessible units, working with households who had high utility bills, assisting with security deposits, and communication between agencies. Some of the successes they highlighted included housing clients extremely quickly, the beginning of the Diversion Center as a one-stop-shop, and new connections with the Polish Embassy, that has helped with obtaining identification documents. The group also highlighted the successes of Journey Home’s work to encourage collaboration. The group plans to begin hosting more regular landlord engagement events and create stronger partnerships with landlords in the efforts to end chronic homelessness.