How Connecticut became the first state ever to house all of its chronically homeless vets

Hector Guadalupe is a 55-year-old veteran who lost his home during the Great Recession, right before developing medical issues with his heart and eyes.

“I probably would have been jumping from couch to couch or living in one of those homeless shelters," he told The Wall Street Journal in August 2015.


But, thankfully, he's not.

Photo via iStock.

Thanks to efforts in Connecticut, Guadalupe now has a reliable roof over his head at a veterans housing complex in Newington.

The best part? His story's not a feel-good one-off. Now it's the norm in the Nutmeg State.

The federal government just deemed Connecticut the first U.S. state to end chronic homelessness among its vets.

In other words, every single veteran in Connecticut who'd once been chronically homeless — homeless for at least one year or homeless four times in the past three — now has stable housing or is on the pathway to stable housing.

Although cities like Phoenix and Salt Lake City have done this, too, this is a big deal. Connecticut is the first American state to accomplish the feat.

"Our veterans deserve access to housing, quality health care, education and career opportunities," Gov. Dannel Malloy said at an Aug. 17, 2015, news conference regarding the announcement, the Associated Press reported. "It's our obligation to deliver for them, and that's just what we're doing as a state."

Gov. Malloy at an event in April 2013. Photo by Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images.

Connecticut made strides by investing where it counts.

The state found success by partnering state agencies with community groups focused on providing homeless vets with necessary services. They also effectively invested in affordable housing programs.

Nearly 300 formerly homeless vets in Connecticut have been placed in stable housing during the past two years.

Photo via iStock.

Connecticut didn't get to this place just by being morally responsible, either. The state is being fiscally responsible, too. Even though implementing programs and investing in affordable housing may cost money up front, research has proven (time and time again) that helping the homeless better their circumstances saves taxpayers loads of money in the long run.

After all, when homeless people, say, make frequent visits to the emergency room or are jailed for crimes related to their circumstances (like loitering), taxpayers often foot the bill.

To be clear, this doesn't mean homelessness isn't a thing in Connecticut anymore.

“It's not that there is never going to be a homeless person again," Laurie Harkness told the Wall Street Journal. She's the director of the Errera Community Care Center, which helps vets with mental health and addiction services.

But “when people fall into homelessness, we have the safety net to immediately get them housed," she explained, noting a goal to get them into stable living conditions in 60 days or less.

The milestone isn't celebrating an end to homelessness as much as it's highlighting a system that's working.

Photo via iStock.

Connecticut has cracked the code on helping the people who — arguably more than anybody else — deserve our help and respect.

If the Nutmeg State can do it, the other 49 should take note.

via Jeffrey W / Flickr

A woman named Lisa posted a video on Facebook where she shared "the easiest way to make spaghetti for a crowd" as "you don't have to worry about dishes or a mess." I know there are a lot of people out there who love cooking a large Italian meal for family get-togethers, so it's incredible that Lisa discovered a way to do so without filling the dishwasher with a billion dishes.

It's also pretty amazing that she decided to share it with us.

In the video, Lisa explains that this is how "real Italians" cook for a large family gathering. What's really interesting is that she didn't have to cut corners with her recipe being that it's made for easy clean-up. It truly appears to be made with fresh, authentic Italian ingredients.

She even tops off the recipe with a salad made with Italian-style dressing. So you know it's authentic.

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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