Basic Needs

The Community Foundation supports services that target immediate basic needs as well as efforts that seek long term solutions. Organizations completing recent grant transformed the delivery of shelter services to the homeless and provided food to the hungry.

Collaborating to end homlessness

The New Haven Coordinated Access Network (CAN) -- a homeless referral and services system within the region, has standardized the assessment, referral, and placement of homeless individuals and families and improved collaboration, efficiency, and transparency among service providers. The Community Foundation grants to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and New Reach helped launch and implement CAN. Read more about the regional collaboration to end homelessness.

Youth Continuum works to address youth homelessness. Youth in crisis are connected with mental health and substance abuse assessment, counseling or case management, full or part-time employment opportunities and assistance with educational/vocational placement, meals, housing, and baby and hygiene supplies.

Youth Continuum recently increased its capacity to serve additional youth through the launching of its Permanent Supported Housing program and construction of new housing units.

Students from SCSU's School of Nursing and Community Health Workers from Project Access participate in Know Your Numbers, a partnership that provides screenings, referrals, and patient navigation in the form of follow-ups. DESK is the first agency in New Haven to pilot the program, as a partnership with Yale New Haven Health and CARE.

More than a meal

Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry help people make connections

Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK) serves 50,000 hot dinners and an additional 80,000 meals through take-home groceries every year. With so many people in need walking through its doors, the emergency food provider takes the opportunity to help connect people to other resources. Representatives from Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, Columbus House, the Women & Families Center, and other providers are onsite during evening meals to help people with health, housing, employment and other needs.

During a three-year general operating support grant from The Foundation, DESK saw its programs provide a “determinable positive influence on its clients’ overall wellbeing beyond caloric intake.”

Similarly, the Jewish Family Services of Greater New Haven offers social services at its Food Pantry and Nutritional Clinic. Read more about this program.

During its recent grant term, the food pantry program also provided nutritional counseling, benefits assistance, financial counseling, and health screenings.

Two other grantees, Beth-El Center and CitySeed, not only provide meals and access to healthy foods. They also educate individuals on healthy lifestyles and ways of selecting and preparing foods that can optimize health and budgets.

Dive Into The Issues

Serving the Homebound Community »


Each month, volunteers for FISH of Greater New Haven deliver food to over 1,100 homebound individuals in Greater New Haven.

Action and Advocacy for a Prosperous Community »


Community Action Agency of New Haven is collaborating with other agencies in our community and advocating for support statewide.

Helping Greater New Haven’s Hungry »


Jewish Family Services has been providing social services to residents of all faiths and backgrounds in New Haven County and throughout Connecticut since 1881.

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Recent Grant Awards

  • Aid for Orphans Relief Foundation - $12,000 to support a comprehensive weekend food assistance program for food insecure children and their families attending the John C. Daniels Magnet School of International Communication in New Haven.
  • Columbus House, Inc. - $164,000 to provide general operating support to serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing shelter/housing, and fostering personal growth and independence.
  • CitySeed Inc. - $7,500 to improve service delivery by upgrading data management software systems.
  • Community Soup Kitchen - $40,000 to provide general operating support for the provision of free, nutritious meals to New Haven residents in need.
  • Connecticut Food Bank - $20,000 to support the Mobile Pantry program that removes transportation barriers that make it difficult for food-insecure households in Greater New Haven to obtain the adequate nutrition they need.
  • Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen - $70,000 to provide general operating support for free, nutritious meals for homeless individuals and families, and the working and non-working poor of the Greater New Haven area.
  • New Reach - $45,000 to support a strategic planning process.
  • Ronald McDonald House of CT, Inc. - $8,500 to support lodging and accompanying services to Sponsor A Stay families from Greater New Haven while their children are receiving life-saving treatments at nearby hospitals.