Building Hope Together (BHT), the New Britain Work Plan to End Homelessness, began through a collaborative process involving New Britain’s municipal, business, civic and philanthropic leaders, and its non-profit service providers under the leadership of former Mayor Tim Stewart. Mayor Erin Stewart has long championed the Plan, serving as the Chair of its Executive Committee when the program was housed at the YWCA.
The City’s Eviction/Foreclosure Mediator has coordinated the program since its inception, while also serving as Co-Chair of the Central Coordinated Access Network (CCAN), a collaborative regional approach to end homelessness. Building Hope Together, which is a part of CCAN, is committed to its goals to identify, reach out to, and provide housing for those verified as chronically homeless, to rapidly re-house those who become homeless, and to prevent others from entering homelessness in the first place. The Building Hope Together initiative is proud to partner with community agencies like the Friendship Center, the Salvation Army, SVDP, and Journey Home to approach ending homelessness regionally, while remaining committed to working on the local level. BHT provides direct service to the most vulnerable residents through its Homelessness Prevention, Fresh Start, Path to Employment, and Bus Pass Programs.
Between 2008 and 2019, BHT’s Homelessness Prevention Programs prevented homelessness for over 300 imminently at-risk households, and rapidly re-housed over forty additional households through the provision of rental payments made directly to landlords. BHT has also brought on over forty new units of decent, affordable housing, and in the spring of 2018, Howey House, a project created by the BHT Housing Committee, opened its doors. This project, operated by the Friendship Service Center, provides permanent supportive housing to 11 chronically homeless individuals.
New Britain Recovers
Building Hope Together is continuing and expanding under the New Britain Recovers umbrella as envisioned by Mayor Erin Stewart. By working in partnership with the City’s Opioid Task Force and Youth Prevention initiatives, Building Hope Together will be better equipped to serve those seeking to avoid or overcome homelessness.
New Britain Recovers is a one-stop-shop of holistic community care, unifying the City's Opioid Task Force, Homelessness Plan, and Local Prevention Council under one umbrella to comprehensively address homelessness, addiction, and youth prevention.
Now under the auspices of the City’s Community Services Department, BHT’s newest Prevention Programs will be vitally important to prevent homelessness for primary earners who were temporarily laid off due to the pandemic. These earners and their families are likely to face homelessness when the state and federal moratoria on evictions ends. The Department of Housing’s COVID Homelessness Prevention Program will be assisting cities throughout our CCAN, which includes Berlin, Bristol, Plainville and Southington, as well as New Britain, but it is important that New Britain have a program specifically for its residents. The New Britain Homelessness Prevention Program will reduce the need for individuals and families to attempt to enter an already strained shelter system and work to prevent further homelessness.