NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — An important census is taking place across Connecticut on Wednesday. This one is assessing the number of homeless people in the state.
Braving the bitter cold, a group of volunteers spanned out across New Haven looking for anyone who doesn’t have a place to live.
“It’s a hard thing to think about. It’s hard to face the fact that people are experiencing homelessness right now,” said Madeline Ravich, with the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness.
The CCEH is taking part in the annual Point-in-Time count, which was going on across the country. Allowing communities to get a handle on the number of people who live on the streets.
“It’s so important for us to be the boots on the ground, making the contact and really connecting individuals to resources,” said Jasmin Noel, Director of Case Management at Malta House in Norwalk.
News 8’s Brian Spyros was going with one of the groups, as they search some of New Haven’s downtown neighborhoods. They looked down alleyways, in dumpsters and even staircases. Basically anywhere someone would be trying to stay warm.
These volunteers were hearing and seeing scenarios that can happen to anyone.
“Due to the opioid epidemic, he lost his job in investment banking and now he’s living in his truck,” said Kara Capobianco, with the Connecticut Department of Housing.
The people they came across are counted. The numbers will then be entered into a database and submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the end, it secures funding for programs to help those in need.
“Really it ties back to resources so that we have enough to help everyone,” explains Capobianco.
In 2019, the point-in-time count estimated slightly over 3,000 homeless people in Connecticut. Of that amount, 577 of them are children.
However, there is some good news — since 2007 the number of homeless people has dropped by 25% in the state.
“So we’ve seen this decline. A lot of different parts of the country are looking to us saying what are you doing, because it really seems like it’s working,” said Ravich.
In the coming days another census will be done to look at youth homelessness and the number of young people in Connecticut who don’t have a place to live.