Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) Commissioner Evonne M. Klein recently announced that the state of Connecticut will launch a new initiative to focus on building supportive housing for homeless youths between the ages of 18 to 24.

The initiative also corresponds to National Homeless Youth Awareness Month in November.

A 2015 statewide youth homelessness count estimated that 3,000 unaccompanied youth under the age of 25 are experiencing homelessness in the Nutmeg State. The creation of supportive housing specifically targeted for this demographic aims to help fill a gap in the housing continuum.

“Homeless youth are a segment of the population considered to be particularly vulnerable, and even though they are legally classified as adults, their needs are incredibly different as they continue developing,” Malloy said in a statement. “By targeting some of our housing efforts specifically for this population, we can focus services for young adults at a time in their lives when every choice they make may determine their future. This is a proactive step for us to ensure that this population can lead productive, successful lives and become active members of our communities and our economy.”

The state has allocated approximately $12 million through bond authorizations within DOH for the creation of housing for this initiative, in addition to approximately $3 million to pay for 10 years of operating expenses at these youth developments. Additionally, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and DOH has made $175,000 per year in service funding available for the next 10 years for the developments.

“We are fortunate in Connecticut to have the ability to rapidly identify and implement new and innovative ways we can end homelessness in our state,” Klein said in a statement. “I’m proud to say we have come together as agencies and providers to take the lead on ending homelessness among Connecticut’s youth. This innovative funding round is the next step towards ending homelessness. The state of Connecticut is a recognized, national leader in this effort and we received that distinction, because of our proactive and collaborative approach.”

The launch of this new housing initiative for youths is intended contribute to the state’s goal of ending homelessness by 2020.