Alison Cunningham has been working with Columbus House since it was first built in the ’80s. Nineteen years later, she now has a reputable position at the top of this non-profit that aids the end of homelessness.
When Columbus House was started they were their own non-profit without help from the surrounding areas. Over time, they began to seek collaboration with the outside world, food stamps, hospitals, drug administrations to help those who needed it. By integrating these mainstream programs, they are able to meet once a month as part of a non-profit fellowship with CT Mental Health Center.
They also meet with other homeless service providers across the state to help each other coordinate. “Collective voices have a lot more power at the state level,” said Cunningham. This will come in handy with the new administration, as they are unsure as to what will happen to their budget in the New Year.
Columbus House has 81 beds and serves as an overnight shelter for single adults. They also provide recuperative care.
The greatest services they provide to those who are facing chronic homelessness are setting them up with a case manager. This manager will help clients get identification, income, housing, and work on job skills, health issues, and anything else that could be causing problems in locating a home for them.
Columbus House has successfully housed 1200 people who are chronically homeless in the last 18 months.
By Nikki Iannace