The Connection's mission is Building Safe, Healthy, Caring Communities and Inspiring People to Reach Their Full Potential as Productive and Valued Citizens. We carry out our mission by providing programs in three primary service areas: Behavioral Health, Family Support Services, and Community Justice. Each month 6,000 Connecticut residents are assisted through The Connection. Our services increase the health and wellness of our clients and our communities, as well as save valuable taxpayer dollars.
The Connection was one of Connecticut's first agencies to initiate community-based treatment programs. We have found repeatedly, and research has shown, that services provided in the community are especially effective – helping the person or family in need, as well as contributing to the well-being of the community. We strive to offer the community a chance to recognize the power and benefits of caring for people and supporting their ability to grow.
We embrace the “housing first” model of care, based on the concept that a homeless individual or household's first and primary need is to obtain stable housing, and that other issues that may affect the household can and should be addressed once housing is obtained. Our efforts with clients in every program area are focused on securing stable housing and acquiring the entitlements; skills; and educational, vocational, and community supports needed to maintain that housing.
A central element of the programs and services we provide is securing safe, affordable housing that is of a standard we would expect for anyone in our family. The “bricks and mortar” component of The Connection, The Connection Fund, was incorporated in 1989 by the Board of Directors of The Connection, Inc., to develop affordable housing and community facilities.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve on The Connection Board since 1976. During this time I have watched it grow a single program established for adults struggling to overcome addictions to a $44 million agency that provides programs in three distinct program areas: Family Support Services, Behavioral Health, and Community Justice. From our beginnings, The Connection’s vision has been to be the best possible provider of services to vulnerable populations in each of our service areas. Through the years we have invested considerable time and resources in diversifying our services and our funding sources to ensure our survival. Today we are funded by five State agencies: The Department of Children and Families, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Department of Correction, Court Support Services Division, and the Department of Social Services; three Federal agencies: Housing and Urban Development, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Administration for Children and Families; and many private funders including the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and the United Way.
This diversity in programming and funding has provided stability and opportunity and has made it possible for us to launch The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice, which offers collaborative research, advocacy and smart public policy for vulnerable populations, along with training in best practices and non-profit development. The Institute collaborates with leading universities including Wesleyan University, University of New Haven, Yale Program on Recovery and Community Health, Central Connecticut State University, and the University of Connecticut to implement research practices that guide the quality of our services.
Challenges we face include hiring and keeping highly qualified staff and the move toward fee for service funding strategies which not only require more data but also require higher levels of training and expertise among staff. Ensuring that our many facilities are of a standard that we would expect for anyone in our family poses a considerable challenge in the face of rising costs and flat funding.
High unemployment rates pose a considerable challenge for many our clients because maintaining stable employment is a critical component of their recovery and community reintegration. When our clients are discharged from our programs without stable employment, their risk for relapse and recidivism skyrockets. The increased risk for relapse has a negative emotional impact on staff, which impacts their ability to provide quality care.
Moving forward we will continue to seek to broaden our funding base by identifying underserved populations and areas of critical need and seeking to become the best, most innovative provider of services in these identified areas. We will also continue to seek to diversify our funding base through private fundraising from individuals, corporations, and foundations, as well as through state and federal governments and through national grantmaking organizations. And we will seek to contain costs wherever possible.
Park Street Inn (PSI), is a 15-bed Residential Living Center designed to meet the needs of adult individuals who have histories of multiple or prolonged hospitalizations due to mental illness, and who face complex challenges that complicate their recovery. PSI is operational 7 days a week, 24 hours per day, with a staff to resident ratio of 1 to 8. PSI is an innovative, multidisciplinary collaboration between The Connection, Fellowship Place, Yale Program For Recovery and Community Health, and Hill Health Corporation. The program provides a therapeutic, homelike atmosphere, where residents can safely address their individual needs. Through a high-structure, low demand community setting, the PSI program provides residents with a period of transition designed to assist them in gaining the skills they need to live more independently in the community.
The Park Street Inn program is designed to meet the needs of persons who require a high level of support to assist them in developing fundamental skills that will allow them to return to their community of origin or community of choice. Education of the resident is an integral part of helping them learn the skills necessary to maintain independence in the community. PSI focuses on those skills that a person would use in their daily activities to live and function independently. A number of PSI program graduates, previously institutionalized for decades, have been living independently in the community for several years. Clinical and psychiatric services are provided on-site. The medical needs are addressed by on-site nursing from the Hill Health Corporation. The Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH) provides staff training and consultation as the philosophical commitment to supporting an individualized process of recovery is put into day-to-day practice.
The Outreach and Engagement Project is an interagency endeavor that includes Columbus House, Inc., Hill Health Corporation, and Marrakech Behavioral Health Services. This multi-agency team provides a range of community-based services to homeless adults, ages 18 years and older, with serious mental illness and/or chronic substance abuse who are currently not engaged in treatment and other services, or who have a history of being discharged from treatment for non-compliance. The services are provided along a continuum, from case finding and engagement to transition to traditional treatment and services. Outreach/Case Finding is conducted in small teams at regularly scheduled times Monday through Friday. Outreach sites include designated street and highway bridges, soup kitchens, shelters, and public locations such as the public library, the New Haven Green, and the train station. Outreach activities serve to identify potential clients and screen for program eligibility.
In the short-term, Outreach & Engagement Team Members focus on procuring basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and access to acute medical care. Efforts are made to reduce potential harm to the individual from such causes as both imminent and chronic exposure; untreated medical conditions; persistent substance abuse; and risky sexual behavior. In the longer-term, referrals and linkages to various needed services, including Entitlements; Behavioral and medical treatment and care; Supportive/supported housing, shelter, sober house or drop-in center; Vocational and educational services; and Specialized services for seniors. Services are also provided to individuals with ABI, developmental disabilities, HIV, or in need of residential or nursing home care. Coordination of services with other providers and transition of services to new providers is is also provided.
There is a strong emphasis on building a therapeutic rapport, especially with those whose illness, addiction, or prior experiences have left them distrustful of service systems. The goal is to increase the acceptance of treatment and services, leading to improved quality of life and stability in the community. Services at Outreach and Engagement are designed and implemented to support recovery, health and well-being; enhance the quality of life; reduce symptoms and hospitalization; increase resilience; restore and/or improve level of functioning and support the integration of the person served back into his/her community of choice. Securing basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, access to medical care, is the first step, with the ultimate goal of transferring a client to traditional, long-term services and/or natural supports.
The CREST Center, a partnership between The Connection, Fellowship Place, and the Connecticut Mental Health Center is a community-based day reporting program that serves individuals involved in the Criminal Justice System who exhibit moderate impairment from a psychiatric condition, mental illness, or co-occurring disorder of a sub-acute or chronic nature. Clients are referred by criminal justice agents as an alternative to incarceration and CREST staff work closely with the court/probation and parole/DOC agencies in an effort to provide a comprehensive and coordinated supervision plan that addresses the behavioral health needs of clients and meets community safety needs. The objectives of CREST are to offer offenders with chronic and complex behavioral health needs a positive sense of direction, to empower them to behave as law abiding citizens, and to coordinate a continuum of integrated services which inspire people to reach their fullest potential.
Elm City Women and Children's Program, located at 48 Howe Street in New Haven, is a licensed community justice and residential treatment program for pregnant or parenting, substance abusing women ages sixteen and older, who are facing incarceration, and their young children. Children in their custody under the age of five can reside with Elm City clients and participate in selected activities. The mission of Elm City Women and Children's Center is to provide our clients with warmth, safety and structure in order to empower the rebuilding of the human spirit. We encourage our clients to sustain wellness and live a productive future with their children, free from abuse, crime and neglect. Clients typically graduate into supported housing in the community. Program services include: substance abuse prevention education; vocational and educational skills development, assistance with finding housing, parenting skills development, and legal assistance.
Successful completion of educational programs and classes, continued participation in recovery and therapeutic groups, achieving GED, diploma or other degree or certification, successful graduation from program, successful re-integration into community and ability to maintain independence, finding and keeping a job.
Counselor notes, client self-report, active participation in therapeutic and recovery groups, successful completion of educational programs. TCI also utilizes consumer satisfaction surveys, required by our state funding agencies, that help to evaluate all services and provide information for service planning on an annual basis.
Lisa DeMatteis was appointed Chief of Staff for The Connection in 2013. Lisa joined The Connection in 1991 and was instrumental in developing The Connection’s statewide Women"s and Children's, as well as our innovative Supportive Housing for Families® program. Immediately prior to being appointed Chief of Staff, Lisa oversaw The Connection's operations, agencywide service divisions, and was the Co-Director of The Connection's Institute for Innovative Practice, and served as Director of Advocacy for The Institute. Before joining The Connection staff, Lisa was a Counselor and Senior Counselor at several Connecticut non-profit agencies. She holds a BA in Community/Child Care psychology from Albertus Magnus College, and is a certified pre-school teacher.
Member, South Central Behavioral Health Network, & Community Services NetworkFounding member, Greater New Haven Alliance to End Homelessness The Outreach and Engagement project for homeless adults is a collaboration between TCI, Columbus House, Marrakech, and Hill Health Corp. Supportive Housing for Families Program collaborates with agencies statewide. In New Haven we collaborate with BH Services. Recovery House, a collaboration with Advanced Behavioral HealthCommunity Reporting Engagement Support and Training (CREST) Center, a community-based day reporting program a partnership between TCI, Fellowship Place, and the Connecticut Mental Health Center.* Ruoppolo Manor Support Services program and the Robert T. Wolfe Apartments provided in collaboration with the Housing Authority of New Haven.* The SAMHSA and DMHAS-funded West Village program, to help end chronic homelessness, a collaboration between the TCI, Alpha Community Services and Community Builders.
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.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
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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