Liberty Community Services, Inc., founded in 1987, strives to end homelessness in greater New Haven. We offer services to people who live with HIV/AIDS, mental illness, and addiction and we help people achieve permanent housing in the community.
Liberty Community Services started operating in 1987, when a group of volunteers incorporated the Connecticut AIDS Residence Program (“CARP”) whose mission was to house individuals with AIDS who had no alternative living situation in the community. Over the years, CARP changed its name to Liberty Community Services and expanded its mission and programs. The theme, however, of reaching out to people who are homeless in New Haven in order to help them lead full lives has been a constant element of our organization over the last 28 years.
Liberty Community Services’ programs range from homeless prevention, outreach, case management, assistance with basic needs to a variety of transitional and permanent housing programs. All the programs are intended to empower individuals seeking assistance so that they may be as self-sufficient as possible.
Liberty Community Services has been an innovator in working with people who are the most difficult to serve. In 2005, we opened our Safe Haven housing program which is designed for people who are chronically homeless and we introduced harm reduction housing in New Haven. As a result of Liberty’s leadership efforts and those of similar organizations, New Haven has seen progress in housing people who are chronically homeless and is viewed as one of the most advanced communities in the country in this effort.
Liberty Community Services continues to increase the number of people for whom it provides permanent housing despite funding challenges. We have realigned our funding, created efficiencies, and secured incremental new funding to now provide housing and support for 135 single men and women, which is approximately 20% more people than two years ago. This increase in services has come at a time of minimal increase in grant revenue.
Liberty Community Services has become the leader in New Haven in homeless prevention services. Starting with pilot funds a few years ago, we created an Eviction Prevention program. This program over the years has expanded and helped hundreds of low-income people with good rental histories remain in their apartments after they encountered a financial setback. The program has now also expanded so that Liberty administers the largest Security Deposit program in the region with a combination of State and private funds.
Liberty Community Services has significantly increased the support it provides to its clients in employment assistance. Liberty was part of a national initiative from the federal government on improving employment support for people living with HIV/AIDS. Identifying a gap in services for people with long-term unemployment, last year our organization began a Transitional Employment Program to employ clients to clean streets in lower State St and Union Avenue areas. This expands the downtown Green Team and has resulted in good outcomes of these individuals going on to other permanent employment .
As a medium sized non-profit serving people with high service needs and low-income, we have multiple goals and projects for which we seek support.
Housing: New Haven’s success in securing funding for permanent supportive housing programs now leads our community to develop other programs for people who service needs are not as great but who are homeless. These individuals will mostly move out of homelessness through employment, family support, and affordable housing options. One area that Liberty would like to support is to develop existing housing stock into shared housing for singles where the rent could be more affordable than currently exists. The funding required would be for down payment and rehabilitation of housing in the order of about $60,000.
Employment: Liberty has had success in its Transitional Employment program and would like to secure funding to sustain that program. The work that we have undertaken, cleaning streets, does not have a revenue stream so the funding would allow us to continue the program and build support for its continuation. The funding amount needed is $30,000.
Basic Needs: Liberty provides a free Sunday Brunch in the winter months and has just initiated a breakfast café at a downtown church that provides free breakfast five days per week. These programs are both sustained through private fundraising so ongoing support for these programs is always needed. The annual budget for these two programs is $95,000 per year.
Liberty provides services to over 250 men and women annually and manages a variety of programs. Liberty provides housing for over 120 people annually as well as a Day Program for people living in shelters or on the street, an outreach program for people who are homeless, an HIV testing and outreach program, a Women's Day Program, and a Sunday brunch in the winter months. The program facts are important but they become real when you hear the voices of the people who receive the services. One woman said "When I was on the streets, I didn't care whether I lived or died. I can't describe the feeling the day I entered my own apartment".
Our country is coming through a period of economic hardship which has prompted a discussion as to the role government needs to play in our communities. Our programs are predominantly funded by the government and our success is based upon the conclusion of government that everyone in this country should have access to decent housing. Liberty has always faced obstacles in our work but also found support in the New Haven community. You can be part of our effort to make a better community, one where everybody has housing no matter their circumstances, by donating, volunteering, advocating, voting, and supporting the work we do to help those in our community who are in need.
John BradleyExecutive Director
One of my strongest memories of Liberty was when I had the opportunity to thank a group of volunteers from UnitedHealthcare. Liberty was fortunate to have these volunteers dedicate their work day to us during the summer. I remember hearing their stories of what they had accomplished during the day and what they learned about Liberty and Liberty’s clients. They briefly experienced the important work that Liberty does and the unique way that we fulfill our mission of ending homelessness. I also shared with these volunteers my belief that their work extended beyond their hours at Liberty. The volunteer hours, the donations given and general support of the community help us assist the people of New Haven that have been overlooked and forgotten. When we pay attention to the problems of HIV/AIDS, homelessness and mental illness, we help to build hope that these issues can be overcome even though they seem enormous.
Housing and Support Services for People Living with HIV/AIDS include the following programs:
Transitional Living Program (TLP)
Thirteen slots in shared suites in multi-family houses. TLP is for people living with HIV who are homeless and also dually diagnosed. Maximum time of residence is twenty-four months. Required to commit to substance-free living.
Supportive Living Program (SLP)
Seven units in shared suites in multi-family house. SLP provides permanent housing for homeless people who are living with HIV. Residents must be substance-free for six months and have an income.
Independent Living Program (ILP)
Thirty-five units in private apartments in the community. These two programs provides permanent subsidized housing for homeless people who are living with HIV.
Our short-term measure for the success of these programs consists in the number of individuals that we can help to secure housing. Evidence shows that people with HIV/AIDS are healthier when they have housing so we are trying to reach as many people as possible in the short-term to ensure that their medical, mental health, and housing status improves.
Our long-term success for these programs consists in the number of people who are able to secure and maintain permanent housing. We measure success by the number of individuals who leave transitional housing and move into permanent housing, and by the number of people who remain in permanent housing. We hope that at least 85% of those who enter permanent housing are able to stay there. In order to achieve this outcome, we assist our clients with finding employment, budgeting their resources, and helping them to medical and mental health provisions.
Our program success is monitored through our case management software, which tells us the numbers of clients we have served and their progress in achieving their individual goals. We are audited by multiple supporters of our programs. We also conduct surveys of our clients.
We consistently do well on program audits. Clients who are settled in permanent housing generally stay in such arrangements (approximately 90% remain). The following story exemplifies our success in providing permanent housing for our clients (the client's name has been changed for the sake of confidentiality):
Sam came into Liberty Community Services as a client in our Transitional Living Program (TLP). Sam had been dealing with an addiction for almost two decades and had made a decision to change his life. When he moved into our TLP facility, he exhibited determine, a positive attitude, and acted as a role model to other clients. When our Program Director talked about advocacy, Sam was always ready and eager to help. He spoke to Liberty’s Board about his experiences that brought him into homelessness and how TLP had helped him in recovery. During his time in TLP, Sam was able to obtain a temporary employment position at a Yale University dining hall. That position became permanent part-time and he has been working there steadily for about three years. He hopes to secure a full-time job at the dining hall as openings become available. Also during his time in TLP, Sam encountered a serious medical condition but he faced it with optimism and strength; it did not slow down his drive to move ahead. Sam has now moved out of TLP and into Liberty’s Independent Living Program, where he rents an apartment in the community with the help of a subsidy from Liberty.
Housing and Support Services for People Living with Mental Illness include the following programs:
Open Door Alliance
Our short-term outcome measure for these programs consist of the number of people that we have helped to secure housing. Based on annual counts of people who are homeless, we know that there are hundreds of people in New Haven who are living in shelters or on the street. Our objective is to reach as many people as possible to reduce this number.
(The client's name has been changed for the safe of confidentiality).
Tom had a long history of drug use and selling drugs. His partial paralysis was possibly a result of his drug use, leaving him wheelchair bound. Tom came to Safe Haven excited about the opportunity to be able to have his own apartment. Shortly after moving in, Tom began to reconnect with his daughters. Also, with the support of Liberty staff, he made his dream of opening his own business into a reality. In addition to this, Tom volunteers his time in New Haven schools, where he discusses crime, drugs, and violence in the streets, attempting to steer students in a healthier direction. Tom has also taken steps to begin to walk again and his depression symptoms have decreased. He has not needed mental health services for some time. He has also been able to learn skills in budgeting and is now able to handle his own finances. He takes pride in paying his rent on time every month. Having his own apartment has allowed him the stability he needed to live out his dreams.
Liberty Day Program Includes meals, access to showers, laundry, medical care, and groups for people who are in shelters and need a place to go during the day. Greater New Haven Behavioral Health Collaborative Outreach program for people who are homeless and need treatment. Sunday Brunch Program Safe Haven Sunday Brunch program serves the homeless community in New Haven during the winter months. It serves healthy food to approximately 100-120 people come in from the isolation of the streets on Sundays when all of the public buildings are closed. Liberty Women's Group This year Liberty Community Services is very excited to announce the start of our first agency wide, Women’s Group. The group is regularly held Monday through Thursday from 9-11 next to our Safe Haven building. This group is open to any woman that is receiving services from LCS. Groups include topics ranging from stress management to knitting and sewing.
LCS manages funds from private and public sources intended to prevent evictions and end homelessness through emergency assistance to pay arrearages on rent to those in the process of an eviction that live in New Haven. The program covers both Singles and Families. Certain income requirements apply. Liberty administers the Eviction and Foreclosure Protection State of Ct. Program (EFPP) and the Security Deposit Guaranty (SDGP).
Our short-term measure of success consists in the number of people that we provides services for. We offer access to case management, treatment, and other resources through Safe and Secure and the Day Program.
Our long-term measure of success consists in the number of individuals who are able to access treatment, secure housing, and receive employment.
Our program success is monitored through our case management software, which tells us the numbers of clients we have served and their progress in achieving their individual goals. We are audited by multiple supporters of our programs. We also conduct surveys of our clients. We measure success by increased medical care, mental health care, access to housing, and access to employment.
Jane had been homeless off and on for several months when she first arrived at the Day Program. She was struggling to put her life back together while also trying to stay connected to and provide for her children who did not live with her. Jane had been told by many people that with her mental illness she was incapable of living independently, being a good mother, or even taking care of herself. Yet each day, she came to the program and worked to stay organized and move forward with her life. After a long wait, she moved into a transitional housing program for a few months and then good news arrived—her name had come to the top of the waiting list for a subsidized apartment and she moved in. She continues treatment with a mental health provider and keeps in contact with her children. Jane’s story is an example of how the Day Program can fill the missing pieces in a client’s service network. Stories like Jane’s are great motivation to continue this work.
Michael Hall has been the Program Director at Liberty Safe Haven for five years. He is also the Program Director for the Safe Haven Day Program and for the Greater New Haven Behavioral Health Collaborative. Prior to working at Liberty he was the Project Director for the Community Health Care Van Project at Yale University’s AIDS Program.
Mike Campbell has been the Director of Property Management at Liberty Community Services since 2002. Mike attended Marist College and Quinnipiac University. He played an important role in the construction of our Safe Haven building and maintains leases and tax credit compliance for 210 State Street and manages all property.
Subrena Winfield has been the Director of Program Management at Liberty Community Services, Inc. since 2006. Prior to her arrival at Liberty, she worked as a Research Associate at Yale University for five years. She has spent 12 years in the Human Service field. Subrena received her Bachelors degree and Masters in Human Service Administration from Springfield College. She is also one of the co-authors of Kitchen Table Wisdom: A Freirian Approach to Medication Adherence (J. Assoc. Nurses in AIDS Care, 2005 Jan.-Feb; 16(1): 3-12.
Silvia Moscariello has designed and implemented community based human services for almost 35 years throughout Connecticut. These have included employment (supported employment, occupational training, placement, etc.) housing, and a wide range of supportive services to people with behavioral health concerns, HIV, developmental disabilities, homelessness, youth at risk, children with autism and their families, and families living in unstable housing. Ms. Moscariello holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Post University with a concentration in leadership development.
When a client seeks services from Liberty, our mission is to connect that individual to all the services that are available in the community. Liberty’s Coordinated Access Specialist often makes those connections to other agencies. For example even if a person is presenting with a housing request, we will ask if they have HIV and if they would like a Medical Case Manager to help keep them connected to medical care. The New Haven community has transitioned to Coordinated Access and Liberty has been an integral part of that design.
Liberty also participates with the Community Services Network, which organizes the system of outpatient care and support for people living with mental illness. For the clients that qualify, Liberty works with partner agencies for mental health support, housing support, and employment support. A CSN agency with supportive employment counselors meets regularly with Liberty to support those seeking employment. Liberty has also been funded as part of a program to administer Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program. We subcontract with TEAM, Inc. and CT Department of Housing.
Liberty also participates in a number of other coordinated care efforts, which include:
In terms of specific collaborations, we participate in a program whereby a Peer Advocate paid by Continuum of Care is hosted at one of our programs through the Greater New Haven Behavioral Health Collaborative. She assists with accessing medical care. We also formally collaborate with TEAM, Inc. for the EFFP Program and with Yale University on the mHealth and mCharts programs.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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A strong community not only meets its members’ basic needs but also works to create long-term solutions to their problems. Provide people with affordable housing, enough to eat and access to affordable health care and you enable them to envision a better future for themselves.
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