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.

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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'Merry Christmas' on YouTube.

The world must have been—mostly—good this year. Because Elton John and Ed Sheeran have teamed up to gift us all with a brand new Christmas single.

The song, aptly named “Merry Christmas,” is a perfect blend of silly and sweet that’s cheery, bright and just a touch bizarre.

Created with the holiday spirit in every way, it has whimsical snowball fights, snow angels (basically all the snow things), festive sweaters, iconic throwbacks and twinkling lights galore. Plus all profits from the tune are dedicated to two charities: the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

I personally don’t know which is more of a highlight: Ed Sheeran channeling his inner-Mariah, performing a faux sexy dance in a leg revealing Santa outfit, or him flying through the air with a giant Frosty the Snowman … who seems to be sporting glasses similar to Elton’s. Are we meant to believe that Elton is the Snowman? This music video even has mystery.
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