Five Hartford groups meet throughout the summer and issue a Statement of Intention to establish an Action Program for Human Renewal. Founding organizations included: Hartford Court of Common Council, Hartford Board of Education, the Greater Hartford Labor Council, the Greater Hartford Community Council and the Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and more than 30 companies pledge support for CRT’s work in addressing poverty and barriers to opportunity in Hartford. The Community Renewal Team of Greater Hartford is incorporated, defining its main tasks to include: employment expansion, affordable housing, access to education, improving neighborhoods and increasing available social and community services.
In January, President Lyndon Johnson announces his “War on Poverty” when it was widely reported that the national poverty rate was 19%. In August, the US Economic Opportunity Act passed. Its Title II establishes a national network of Community Action Partners, of which CRT is one of the first.
CRT is chosen to open one of the original national Head Start pilot programs. It enrolls 3-5 year olds for education, summer activities, nutritious meals and health exams. The model is so successful across the country that year-round centers are established with field trips, home visits and a potent parent-community governance model.
Founded in 1965, the Community Action for Greater Middletown establishes a Middletown hub to provide essential services to families and individuals struggling with poverty and basic needs. The organization later merged with CRT in 1999.
CRT opens The Craftery, art gallery with workshops and musical performances free for the public. It offers free training in design, photography, needlework, weaving, jewelry-making and other crafts.
CRT establishes the first Elderly Nutrition Program in Connecticut, serving meals at eight centers in Hartford. The program helps reduce isolation and improve the health of seniors who gather to socialize and eat nutritious meals. Home delivery of meals was added for those unable to come to the centers.
CRT creates the Energy Assistance Program, five years before the federal program is established. Benefits also include furnace repair, home winterization, and emergency energy loans.
CRT founds a citywide rodent control unit, working through Hartford streets, neighborhood by neighborhood.
CRT’s Consumer Education and Counseling provides direct services to 1,665 individuals, including 355 families. It develops and distributes 1,000 copies of a consumer handbook, and conducts workshops throughout the CRT services region.
Bloomfield and Windsor join W. Hartford, E. Hartford and Manchester in the Special Outreach Program which disperses outreach workers that link residents with CRT services. Low income and often isolated individuals in many towns outside of Hartford can now receive fuel assistance, emergency food assistance and employment referrals among other services.
CRT establishes the Hispanic Services Department and launches innovative initiatives to spur employment training and find ways for community members to help themselves. Efforts take people off welfare rolls, connect them with employment opportunities and help hundreds of Spanish-only speakers learn English.
After a homeless man is found frozen to death in a city park, the Stewart B. McKinney Emergency Shelter is established by the City of Hartford, to be operated by CRT. The 88-bed facility offers day respite programming for homeless men with medical issues and also offers case management and referral services.
CRT moves into its Windsor Street location in Hartford, which includes a state-of-the-art, 16,000 square-foot industrial kitchen where thousands of meals for seniors and preschool children are produced daily. By 1995, the entire second floor was opened as an eight-classroom Head Start Center.
Increasing its commitment to community-based services for court-involved individuals, CRT opens Fresh Start, an innovative residential alternative to prison for court-involved women with substance abuse issues. Children under five may live in the residence with their mothers, strengthening the family unit.
The Town of East Hartford contracted CRT to manage the East Hartford Community Shelter, underscoring CRT’s ability to be a reliable partner to local governments and municipalities. The location features a 30-bed facility for single men and families.
Responding to needs in the community, CRT opens the Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program, and prevents 413 evictions in its first year of operation. At the height of the mortgage crisis, CRT’s EFPP was fielding more than 10,000 calls annually and serving residents in 26 cities and towns.
CRT begins offering behavioral health counseling to un- and under-insured individuals and families. CRT took on this service when a hospital-based clinic closed. Today, more than 2,000 unduplicated clients are seen annually at several BHS licensed clinics.
CRT’s Senior Services Division opens The Retreat, an affordable assisted living facility in Hartford for seniors looking to stay connected to the community and active in their golden years. To date The Retreat has served 357 residents and saved Connecticut taxpayers approximately $19 million by providing assisted living for people who might otherwise be forced to stay in costly nursing homes.
The Generations Campus opens in Hartford’s North End, which provides the community an affordable housing development for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren along with wrap-around case management. In 2008 Generations was awarded Best Affordable Housing Development for Families by the Affordable Housing Finance Magazine.
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