Columbus House, Inc. (New Haven, CT)


  • Name:John Brooks
  • Title:Director of Development & Public Relations

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Columbus House, Inc.
  • Address:586 Ella T. Grasso Blvd.
    New Haven, CT 06519
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:2034014400
  • Main fax:2037731430

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • The mission of Columbus House is to serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing shelter and housing and by fostering their personal growth and independence.

  • Overview:
  • Columbus House is a shelter and housing agency that provides services to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The organization is based in New Haven, Connecticut, but provides services across four counties (New Haven, Middlesex, Hartford, and New London). Columbus House employs a staff of more than 160, who serve over 3,000 adults, families with children, and Veterans each year through 33 programs and services in a dozen facilities. Together with partners and government agencies, we are striving to end chronic homelessness in Connecticut by the end of 2016. With a strong network of volunteers, businesses, civic groups, and religious congregations, Columbus House is implementing bold and creative strategies designed to move people who are homeless directly into their own homes and give them the tools they need to stay in that home indefinitely. In short, we do not merely provide relief; we provide solutions.

    Columbus House’s programs and services break down into five categories:

    (1) Outreach Programs: Street engagement and case management in the field provide a first step especially for those who are chronically homeless. The Outreach staff also operate a program to help men transitioning out of prison and back into the community, as well as a transportation service for clients in substance abuse treatment.

    (2) Shelter & Services: For many years, shelter formed the backbone of homeless services nationwide. Today, our 81-bed shelter that houses our administrative offices and a full kitchen and dining room bears little resemblance to its 1982 counterpart, based out of an old church. In addition to the case management services offered onsite, there are additional specialized services (see below) offered in the adjacent building. Also, under Shelter & Services is our Middlesex Family Shelter program in Middletown, Connecticut, as well as our Medical Respite program and our community-based “Abraham’s Tent” program, which provides overflow shelter in local religious congregations during the winter

    (3) Transitional Living Programs: Columbus House offers two programs that allow clients to access employment services and income assistance while building credibility as a tenant for up to 24 months. The Harkness House Transitional Living Program in New Haven is specifically designed for Veterans exiting homelessness, while our “On the Move” program serves adult clients coming out of the shelter.

    (4) Housing: Columbus House provides case management to over 400 clients who are in supportive housing or who have been housed through our Rapid Re-Housing program. By providing housing and support services to remain housed, Columbus House offers a real, long-term solution to ending homelessness. (See below for additional details.)

    (5) Income Security: Columbus House offers a number of programs designed to help clients attain and maintain housing over the long term by stabilizing their income. Through our “Pathways to Independence” program (PTI), clients work with employment specialists and benefits counselors to identify potential sources of individual income. PTI clients also address mental health and substance abuse issues in order to deal with the underlying issues that led to poverty and homelessness in their lives. Through our “Supportive Services for Veterans Families” program (SSVF), Columbus House employs military Veterans as peer counselors to address similar income and wellness issues.

  • History:
  • Between the 1930s and 1970s, chronic, long-term homelessness was rare in America. Soup kitchens catered to the urban poor, but the clientele were mostly housed, albeit in poverty. The situation changed when state mental health facilities began closing in the 1960s. The economic downturn in the late ‘70s exacerbated the situation. By the time federal funding for the “social safety net” programs dried up in the early 1980s, homelessness was apparent on the streets of nearly every city in the country.

    Enter Columbus House. In 1982, we opened as a shelter on Columbus Avenue in New Haven to provide humanitarian relief for a rapidly growing population of homeless men and women. In those days, shelters were expected to simply manage the homeless, and for the first 15 years, that’s what we did. Then, in the mid-1990s, Columbus House began shifting its focus away from treating homelessness as an issue to be managed and toward seeing it as a problem to be solved. First, we added a transitional living program, in which clients could stay for up to two years while they sought employment, addressed substance abuse, and established credit as renters. A few years later, we worked with the state to explore a new form of assistance for the homeless: permanent supportive housing. Moving chronically homeless people directly into subsidized housing with ongoing case management was a bold step, and we really didn’t know if it would work. In 1998, we opened our first “congregate site” in New Haven, housing 25 individuals. Now, almost twenty years later, many of those original clients are still in those apartments—housed and healthy.

    Those early successes led Columbus House to open six more congregate sites over the years in New Haven, New Britain, and Hartford. We also began housing people in “scattered site” locations, that is, individual apartments owned by private landlords. Today, we provide case management and support services to 375 people in supportive housing.

    New research emerged in the late 2000s that underscored the importance of stability in dealing with behavioral health issues and establishing income. In other words, clients staying in the shelter typically cannot address substance abuse and mental health disorders adequately or maintain employment. As a result, Columbus House adopted the federally-backed “housing first” model, which prioritizes housing. In 2011, we began offering Rapid Re-Housing, a program that places people in their own, independent apartment DIRECTLY from homelessness and without a subsidy. In the last four years, the program has proved exceedingly successful in reducing recidivism and keeping people housed in the long term.

    Columbus House also began offering population-specific services in order to provide the most appropriate care for our clients. Today, we offer transitional and supportive housing for Veterans, and permanent supportive housing for women, seniors, and people living HIV/AIDS. In 2011, we took over operations at the Middlesex Family Shelter in Middletown, where parents and children can get the care they need from specially-trained staff. In the last few years, Columbus House has supported the “housing as healthcare” model by opening the first Medical Respite program in the state for homeless individuals exiting the hospital and in need of recuperative care. Perhaps our fastest growing program is our employment and benefits counseling services which help people increase their income. We believe fiercely that each of our clients deserves his or her own home; and it is our job to ensure that they have the tools they need to stay in that home indefinitely.

    Columbus House has changed dramatically in 33 years. From a small shelter with fewer than a dozen staff to a statewide agency with over 160 staff and over 30 programs and services, our growth and ambition reflect our philosophy. Today, we stand on the precipice of ending chronic homelessness in Connecticut. By the end of 2016, the systems will be in place to ensure that no one experiences long-term homelessness in our state. Through supportive housing, temporary financial assistance, and income security programs, we are rebuilding those safety nets through which so many in our community fell.

  • Year established:1982
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:14
  • Advisory board size:0
  • Staff size:163

Board and Executive Names

  • Board Members / Trustees:
    Robert McGuire, M.A., Chairperson
    Jeanne Steiner, D.O., Vice Chair
    Marley A. Williams, C.F.A., Secretary
    Greg DeStefano, C.P.A., Treasurer
    Kyle Lynne Ballou, Esq.
    Jim Barra, M.B.A.
    Skip Borgerson
    Kellie Byrd Danso, M.Ed.
    Peggy Dillinger
    Mohammad Elahee, M.B.A., Ph.D.
    Amy Eppler-Epstein, Esq.
    Charisse E. Hutton
    Kia Levey, M.S.W.
    Althea Marshall Brooks, M.S., M.Div.
    Margaret Middleton, J.D.
    Rafael Ramos
    Catherine Velez
    Ken Warren
    Rudy A. Zimmermann

  • Executive Director / President:
  • Alison Cunningham, Executive Director


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID:22-2511873

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:222511873
  • Organization Name:COLUMBUS HOUSE
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:
  • Organization Address:586 ELLA GRASSO BLVD
  • Organization City:NEW HAVEN
  • Organization State:CT
  • Organization Zip:06519-1806
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:May, 1985
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):560
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):Supplying money, goods or services to the poor
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:June, 2017
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:June
  • NTEE Code:L410
  • Asset Amount:$12,626,712
  • Asset Code:8 ($10,000,000 - $49,999,999)
  • Income Amount:$11,741,134
  • Income Code:8 ($10,000,000 - $49,999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$11,657,915
  • Last Updated:3/21/2018 7:26:52 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.