WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced on Friday that he has invited Regina Moller to be his guest for the State of the Union address. Regina is the executive director of Noank Community Support Services (NCSS), a non-profit organization in Groton that provides behavioral health services to southeastern Connecticut. NCSS has been affected by the Trump administration’s immigration policies and the recent government shutdown. NCSS provides shelter and services to unaccompanied minors who were separated from their family at the border. Additionally, NCSS relies on grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) to provide housing services for homeless young adults. Due to the partial government shutdown, which lasted 35 days, NCSS did not receive federal funding and instead relied on its own limited funds to run its youth homelessness shelter.
President Donald Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 9:00pm.
“Regina and her team at Noank Community Support Services are heroes. I'm so glad she is joining me at the State of the Union to shed light on how President Trump's border policies are traumatizing a generation of children and how the recent government shutdown affected Connecticut. Regina's organization takes care of child refugees, kids who are feeling the violence and trauma of places like Ecuador and Guatemala and see the United States as a country that can save their lives. These kids aren't threats to our security, they are our future leaders, and I hope my colleagues will realize this as Regina tells these children's stories when she comes to Washington,” said Murphy.
“I’m proud to join Senator Murphy at the State of the Union to shed a light on what we’re doing in Connecticut to help our most vulnerable residents. The recent shutdown had a trickledown effect that put our homeless shelter for young adults at risk of closure. The young men and women have experienced much trauma already in their lives, and depend on the stable provision of services. We are now trying to get back on track and hope there will be no further shutdowns that impact these critical community services. These youth deserve better,” said Regina Moller, Executive Director of NCSS. “Additionally, our shelter for unaccompanied refugee children has also been impacted by governmental changes. Changes to rules in the Department of Homeland Security have led to fewer sponsors willing to step forward out of fear. Since walls will never stop desperation, we would like to see more efforts at getting to the root cause of the migration.”
Earlier this week, Murphy and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote a letter to HUD secretary Ben Carson expressing the effects the government shutdown had on NCSS and other programs in Connecticut, and asked that organizations that receive grant money from HUD be fully reimbursed for any non-grant funds that were used during the government shutdown.
Noank Community Support Services, Inc. is a small 501c non-profit organization that has been providing behavioral health services to the Southeastern Connecticut community for 48 years. Their services include: a shelter for unaccompanied immigrant children ages 0-17; the only shelter in the region specifically for homeless young adults ages 18-24; services for LGBTQ youth; a gender-responsive group home for adolescent girls in state custody; and an array of community-based services for youth and adults of all ages that have chronic mental health needs. All services are trauma-informed and culturally-sensitive. Their mission is dedicated to improving lives by providing specialized and individualized services, the development of healthy relationships, access to resources, connection to the larger community, and hope for the future.