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Housing issues affect everyone in Connecticut, from those who are searching for a safe place to live, to those who may find it increasingly difficult to afford a place they already call home.WNPR is covering Connecticut's housing and homelessness issues in a series that examines how residents are handling the challenges they face. We look at the trends that matter most right now, and tell stories that help bring the issues to light.

New Manchester Apartment Complex Opens Doors To Youth At Risk Of Homelessness

Community Health Resources officials and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz celebrate ribbon cutting of Promise House Apartments.
Karoun Charkoudian
/
Community Health Resources
Community Health Resources officials and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz celebrate with a ribbon cutting at Promise House Apartments.

  Promise House Apartments in Manchester celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, offering a new place that aims to give hope to young people at risk of homelessness. 

 

The complex will provide housing to people ages 18 to 25 who are experiencing housing instability, and it will be run by Community Health Resources (CHR), one of the largest behavioral health care agencies in the state. 

While this isn’t CHR’s first supportive housing unit in Manchester -- two others already target homelessness -- it is the first to support youth needs exclusively. And it’s one of a handful of similar programs nationwide. 

 

“As a behavioral health care provider, we deeply appreciate that young adulthood is a pivotal time in life and that young adults’ services are different from other age groups,” Heather Gates, CEO and president of CHR, said at the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We’re trying to create a supportive community in addition to a place to live.”

 

The complex includes 12 fully furnished efficiency apartments free of charge to tenants, thanks in part to a competitive grant from the state Department of Housing. The site aims to mirror the experience of a college dorm, not a group home or clinical facility. 

 

“This is a place for young people to live and get started with their lives,” Gates said. “All tenants will sign leases, learn about their rights and responsibilities as tenants and strive towards moving on and moving forward with their lives.” 

 

Tenants will have access to CHR resources and staff 24/7. By day, case managers will help connect young adults to job training, education and medical and behavioral health care, if needed. And by night, tenants will benefit from the presence of a site adviser who will live in a 13th apartment and provide support and emergency assistance, Gates said. 

Building at newly opened Promise House Apartments, a supportive housing development for youth at risk of homelessness in Connecticut.
Credit Community Health Resources
Building at newly opened Promise House Apartments, a supportive housing development for youth at risk of homelessness in Connecticut.

 

So far, two apartments are occupied, and CHR is looking to fill the rest. Tenants are found through the state’s Coordinated Access Networks (CAN), a system of community providers across the state who work with eligible heads of households and those experiencing homelessness. 

Anyone experiencing homelessness can call 2-1-1 and be connected with a specialist for a possible assessment appointment. The process from assessment to temporary housing could take anywhere from a month to 45 days, Gates said. 

While the leases are not time-restricted, CHR will work with an emphasis on helping tenants move on to the next stage of their lives. 

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz called it a bit of hope for young people who were affected during the pandemic.

“We’re here today to celebrate a place that can help young people who are experiencing homelessness because of mental illness, family violence and substance abuse issues get on a solid life path,” Bysiewicz said. 

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