One Point of Entry

SHW led the process for developing, launching and implementing the Coordinated Access Network system in Fairfield County setting the path to transform the shelter system into a true crisis response process.


Providing the backbone support in operationalizing the system and providing strategic course correction, a platform for easy access to housing was advanced. The Fairfield County CAN system ensures that anyone experiencing a housing crisis can easily access services through a defined point of entry: United Way 2-1-1. All households that call 2-1-1 speak with a housing specialist who provides appropriate referrals to prevent people from entering the homeless system. If no alternatives can be identified, 211 Call Specialists direct households to locally designated CAN sites, where specially trained staff triage and assess each individual’s housing crisis and exhaust all opportunities for resolution.


Currently, SHW is taking the lead to create a coordinated community response for preventing and ending youth homelessness by 2020.


For more information on CAN click here.

Exit to Housing

An important charge of SHW is ensuring an effective exit from homelessness by targeting the appropriate housing intervention based on the level of services needed to ensure stable housing.


Work in creating an effective exit system advanced in 2010, when SHW broadened its approach to ending homelessness by spearheading a responsive service infrastructure known as Bridgeport Housing First (BHF). Leveraging funding and staff from key providers, this Collaborative built in evidence based practices that included Critical Time Intervention. Combined with Housing Choice Vouchers that allowed time-limited services, BHF resulted in a dramatic decrease in chronic homelessness for the Bridgeport area. By expanding the Housing First Collaboratives throughout Fairfield County, a platform was created to house all chronically homeless households. Click here for more info.


In 2014, SHW hired a Rapid Exit Manager to ensure the exit system was optimized to significantly increase the number and range of homeless households that could be placed. Key to this effort is the convening of Housing Placement Teams to ensure rapid housing of clients in the agreed priority order across the range of housing programs. The Rapid Exit Manager also assists housing programs to expedite placement including troubleshooting and re-engineering programs to meet performance benchmarks as well as identifying opportunities for efficiencies and program improvement.

Fairfield County CAN Rapid Rehousing Program

SHW is the regional administrator for the Fairfield County CAN Rapid Re-Housing Program, a state-wide initiative funded by the Connecticut Department of Housing. CT RRP is designed to assist homeless households as they quickly move out of homelessness and into permanent housing through the provision of time-limited housing supports and strategies with the ultimate goal of housing stability. Contracting with four regional homeless providers: Operation Hope (Greater Bridgeport Area), Homes With Hope (Greater Norwalk Area) and Inspirica (Greater Stamford Area), Association of Religious Communities (Greater Danbury Area), SHW ensures that rapid re-housing services are seamlessly implemented throughout the CAN area. Incorporated into the Rapid Rehousing Program is the Secure Jobs Program that works with families to increase household income. Click Here for more info.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)

SHW promotes cross sector collaboration between the region’s Workforce Development Board (The WorkPlace Inc.) and the area’s prominent homeless providers that include Alpha Community Services/Central CT Coast YMCA, Bridgeport, and New Haven Home Recovery, New Haven. The goal of the SSVF program is to help Veteran families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness quickly regain stability in permanent housing. Identifying housing opportunities and providing technical assistance on evidence based practices that include housing first, critical time intervention, motivational interviewing and person-centered planning, SHW ensures successful implementation of this Employment/Housing Model that services two workforce investment areas in Connecticut’s Southwest and South Central regions.