Advocates cautiously optimistic about plan to end veteran homelessness

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HARTFORD--On Wednesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy celebrated a step forward in his initiative to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.

Malloy announced a new partnership with Zero: 2016, a national movement to end chronic homelessness within the next two years.

"Connecticut has been selected as one of only six states, a total of seventy communities across the country, to participate in the zero 2016 campaign," Malloy told a group of advocates for the homeless.

He also announced an expansion of subsidies for permanent housing.

Some advocates for veterans are cautiously optimistic about the governor's plan.

"I don't feel that we're doing enough on the front line to really get out there and reach veterans. And, we need to have the housing available but we need to help the veteran where they're at," veteran outreach coordinator for the South Park Inn, Aaron Jones, said.

The South Park Inn is a homeless shelter in Hartford which holds a weekly veteran drop-in center and sets aside beds just for veterans. It is that kind of outreach that the shelter's assistant director, Brian Baker, says is fundamental to ending homelessness. Right now, he argues, his shelter needs more funding.

"We've been flat funded for a long, long time...Our funding is in question now. We get no funding for our veteran drop in center. It's a struggle."

More than 950 veterans do not have homes, according to the organization Homes for the Brave. Last year, the South Park Inn served well over 100 homeless veterans.

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