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Holiday campaign to combat homelessness begins in CT

Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness CEO Sarah Fox speaks during a legislative roundtable discussion on what can be down to get more funding for homelessness services.
Tyler Russell
Connecticut Public
Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness CEO Sarah Fox speaks during a legislative roundtable discussion on what can be done to get more funding for homelessness services.

Efforts are underway to assist Connecticut residents who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness this winter.

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) started the Be Homeful for the Holidays campaign in 2015, to raise emergency aid funds for residents threatened with homelessness.

Be Homeful for the Holidays is a winter campaign that is part of the Coalition’s year-round fundraising program, The Be Homeful Project.

Case workers assisting clients referred by the state’s 2-1-1 emergency response line can access the funds to help with one-time expenses, Coalition Chief Executive Officer Sarah Fox said.

“Sometimes diversion funding can go to bus tickets, because someone has a place that they can live in another state or in another town,” Fox said. “Sometimes flexible systems can be used to provide food for a family when they're in need.”

More 2,600 households have received funds through the be homeful project since the beginning of the campaign in 2015.

Demand for such aid has increased dramatically in recent years, Fox said. Since 2020 emergency assistance funding requests, increased 32%, Fox said.

“We're seeing that we're running funds that are being released quicker than ever before. We used to run through about $200,000 in funding over a quarter and now we're running through it in a month,” Fox said.

CCEH began partnering with the CT Realtors Foundation in 2016. For every $25 donation, the Foundation gifts a teddy bear, book or backpack to a child living in a shelter over the holidays. Last year they raised close to $60,000.

“The goal is to make sure all children and families in the state have a place to call home,” Joanne Breen, CT Realtors Foundation Trustee said.

About $3 million has been raised for the Be Homeful project through various organizations and private giving.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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