Chion Wolf / WNPR

There's a bill in Congress that could expand a unique legal-medical partnership in Connecticut to the rest of the country. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Standing in Hartford’s downtown library, Salvatore Pinna was over the moon. He met a woman. Life could not be sweeter.

The last time we checked on Pinna, he’d just moved into a Hartford apartment after some 20 years on the street – some of that time, literally on the street. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Violet Thomas came out as a transgender woman three months before high school graduation in 2013. She found some respite in her guidance counselor’s office, but things went from bad to worse at home.

So Thomas left, and began moving from couch to couch among friends. But she stayed nowhere very long.

Connecticut VA Healthcare System

The federal government has declared Connecticut the first state in the country to end chronic homelessness among veterans. 

This story is part of Only A Game’sTime Show” which examines how the passage of time influences sports.


When J.R. Richard was scheduled to pitch, batters sometimes came up with suddenly sore arms, headaches, or flu-like symptoms. At the peak of his career in the late ‘70’s, when the 6-foot-8 right-hander was striking out more than 300 batters a season with a fastball that exceeded 100 mph, the Houston Astros pitcher was among the most intimidating figures in baseball.

Eight months after homelessness hit a record in New York City, you can still see the need of the city's most vulnerable in Tompkins Square Park.

"Good morning! Two pieces?" asks Mario Cornejo, as he places slices of frosted banana bread on paper towels for a long line of hungry people.

"It used to be just a small pot before," explains Cornejo, a volunteer with a New York group called Food for Life since 2008. "Now it's a big pot and bigger salad containers, more trays of cake."

Jonathan Olson

Since March, advocates, activists, lawmakers, and service providers have been tirelessly working to advance the goal of ending chronic homelessness in Connecticut. Their efforts were part of statewide 100-Day Challenges led by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and Journey Home of Hartford. 

Connecticut Senate Democrats

One of the bills already signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy targets women who've served in the Armed Forces. The state Department of Veterans Affairs has been tasked with creating a program that reaches more than 16,000 women veterans living in Connecticut.

Susan Campbell

On April 23, after 20 years on the streets, Salvatore Pinna moved into a Hartford apartment. It was his first ever.

Pinna's is one of the success stories for Greater Hartford’s 100-day challenge to greatly reduce chronic homelessness.

GotCredit / Creative Commons

According to a 2014 report, more than 300,000 Connecticut households struggle to pay their energy bills. In fact, the average low-income household owes rougly $2,560 more in annual energy bills than it can actually afford.

Lucy Nalpathanchil

Sean Connolly is the new Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs. He's also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve who says he wants the state to do even more to serve all veterans.

Faced with a state rule that links funding to the admission of people who are actively using drugs or alcohol, a group that runs a homeless shelter in Manchester, Conn., is choosing to close the 40-bed facility. More than half of the shelter's budget reportedly comes from the state.

Sal Pinna Finally Finds a Home

Apr 16, 2015
Susan Campbell / WNPR

I didn’t think the story would end this way.

Sal Pinna has been homeless for 20 years, since he came to Connecticut from his native Long Island to enroll in a substance abuse program. 

Pinna is a 52-year-old man who loves the Mets, Batman, and Dean Martin. He wants a home, but the myriad forms and appointments that are required have proven to be beyond him. Pinna has diabetes, and he’s been diagnosed with depression, and a few years ago, bipolar disorder. 

Heather Brandon / WNPR

A Manchester social service agency will close its 40-bed homeless shelter July 1 rather than comply with a state order to admit homeless people who abuse alcohol and drugs. 

City of Stamford

Earlier this week, Connecticut DOT officials shut down a state-owned parking garage at the Stamford Transportation Center. A chunk of concrete fell from one of the parking decks to the deck below over the weekend. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The garage is almost 30 years old, and has been part of a redevelopment plan of the state’s for a very long time -- a plan that will probably involve replacing the parking garage. But for now, it’s closed for evaluation, and that’s thrown off about a thousand commuters who rely on the rails to get to work.

It points to a bigger question: what will the state do about developing around transit stations? Are we stuck planning primarily for cars? 

Office of Richard Blumenthal

A Vietnam veteran from New Haven has filed a lawsuit that seeks to force the government to quickly decide veterans' appeals for disability compensation. 

DVIDSHUB / Creative Commons

New patterns of extreme weather have insurance companies thinking more seriously about climate change. As storms intensify and damages increase, many are looking at new ways to predict losses from climate related risks. 

How Do You Get an ID When You Have No Home?

Apr 1, 2015
Susan Campbell / WNPR

It was a bitter cold Friday in March, and Sal Pinna was heading into the wind on Main Street in Hartford.

"Cold enough, but I don't feel a thing," Pinna said. "I guess I’m used to it."

Pinna, a Long Island native, has been homeless for 20 years in Connecticut, but he wants very much to get an apartment. He has in his backpack a xeroxed copy of his birth certificate – but that’s not good enough for official paperwork. Without proper identification, Pinna is stuck in shelters, or worse.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy's working group that's examining how to improve the Connecticut Veterans Home has hired an architect.

The advisory group has met almost monthly since October to evaluate the programs and services given to veterans at the sprawling campus in Rocky Hill. 

Homelessness in Greater Hartford: Meet Sal Pinna

Feb 20, 2015
Susan Campbell / WNPR

Salvatore Pinna, 52, grew up on Long Island and came to Connecticut 20 years ago. In official parlance, Pinna is chronically homeless, which is how the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development describes someone who has been homeless for a year or more, or who has had at least four incidences of homelessness in three years, and has a disability. 

Pinna more than fits the description. He has effectively been homeless since he came to Connecticut in the '90s. Some of that time he spent living on the streets and sleeping under bridges. 

Chion Wolf

Salvatore Pinna moved to Connecticut 20 years ago. The 52-year-old has been living on the streets and under bridges since he moved here. He's one of many chronically homeless people in the state.

This hour, we meet Sal and hear the first of a series of stories about homelessness in Greater Hartford, where the 100-Day Challenge is about to begin, an initiative to try to to eliminate barriers and connect stakeholders -- to create a plan to end chronic homelessness -- in 100 days.


Starting Wednesday, legal advocates will be driving around Hartford to connect with homeless youth. The Center for Children's Advocacy has purchased a van to create a mobile legal aid office.

D.C.'s new mayor Muriel E. Bowser surprised advocates for the homeless in the district when she filed an emergency motion late Thursday, hoping to end a mandatory demand to provide all homeless families a private room when temperatures drop below freezing.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

Before this winter storm, the state activated its severe cold weather protocol. It’s an effort to make sure no resident is without shelter during a weather emergency.

Aundreá Murray / WNPR

State officials gathered at the capital city on Wednesday to announce a new initiative aimed at ending homelessness among veterans and the disabled within the next two years.

The mayor of Springfield is calling on the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to end a practice by the past administration of placing homeless families in congregate housing.

An angry Mayor Domenic Sarno said de-facto group homes for homeless families have been created in apartment buildings concentrated in a handful of city neighborhoods since last fall with city inspectors finding in some cases 3-4 families living in a single apartment.

" This is absolute BS," said Sarno at a city hall news conference.

State of Connecticut

The Connecticut Veterans' Home in Rocky Hill includes a nursing home and a domiciliary that gives shelter and food to many veterans who were formerly homeless. A recent study of the facility points to a need for dramatic improvements. 

Chion Wolf

There's 13 months to go in the federal VA's five year plan to end veteran homelessness.

VA staff and community partners in Connecticut met this week at a summit to discuss how they plan to reach the goal by the end of 2015.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has told New Britain officials he'll do what he can to help the city find money for an emergency winter shelter for the homeless. But soon after the meeting Thursday, he said the city would likely have to rely on a "cobbled together" plan for funding. 

Few people know about the lives of homeless people.

So, in honor of his late uncle who battled schizophrenia and was homeless on and off for 30 years, Kevin Adler started the Homeless GoPro Project to capture the stories of 100 homeless people across the country.

Adler tells Here & Nows Robin Young how technology and connections with homeless service providers can help dispel myths the general public have about homeless people.