The Beth-El Center in Milford recently entered into a partnership with the Women and Family Life Center in Guilford and the United Way of Greater New Haven with the intention of creating a 'shoreline diversion specialist' position, providing support from Milford to Madison.
The diversion specialist will operate throughout the Greater New Haven region, working with various agencies and other venues like soup kitchens where vulnerable communities can be connected with. The goal is to assist those at high risk for homelessness in identifying alternate housing arrangements to connect them to services that can help them find or remain stably housed without needing to enter the homeless response system. This effort to divert those vulnerable to the experience of homelessness will begin in mid-August, after the Women and Family Life Center was awarded funds for the project through the Guilford's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.
This is especially important in response to the COVID pandemic. As the effort to move people from hotels and shelter settings into permanent housing placements continues, ensuring that those who are not experiencing immediate need, or who may just need support in creative problem-solving to find a secure and safe place to be, can find those solutions before they are without a place to stay.
"If there is one thing this uncertain time has shown us it is that in order to tackle big problems like housing insecurity, we need to be creative and collaborative. Now, more than ever, families are facing very difficult choices between rent and food. This is not a new problem, but the pandemic has made it worse. To the extent we can avoid them entering the shelter system, we want to, which is why this position is so critical right now."
- Meghan Scanlon, Executive Director, Women and Family Life Center
As we stare down the barrel of a looming eviction crisis and high levels of unemployment in the state, making sure people can secure housing before they are homeless will help in A) continuing to monitor and reduce the spread of the coronavirus, B) ensuring the homeless response system has the capacity to support those facing immediate crises, and C) continuing efforts to work towards our collective goal of making experiences of homelessness rare, brief and one-time for all in CT.