Housing and Homelessness | Connecticut Public Radio
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Housing and Homelessness

Housing issues affect everyone in Connecticut, from those who are searching for a safe place to live, to those who may find it increasingly difficult to afford a place they already call home.

With generous support from the Melville Charitable Trust, WNPR and Susan Campbell are covering Connecticut's housing and homelessness issues in a series that examines how residents are handling the challenges they face. We look at the trends that matter most right now, and tell stories that help bring the issues to light.

Contact Susan by email at slcampbell417 at gmail.com.

Courtesy of South Park Inn

This month, the federal government awarded the state $1.46 million dollars from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and the VA. The grants are known as HUD VASH and they're used to help veterans avoid homelessness.

The housing voucher program has existed for four years. Since then more than 400 vouchers were allocated to housing authorities across the state to help chronically homeless veterans, including women veterans with children.

A vacant 26-story office tower in downtown Hartford may get a new life. A Fairfield developer has plans before the city to turn the old Bank of America building into nearly 300 apartments. The project is in the early stages, and the city says there's no public or private financing committed to it yet. But it's worth noting the ambition -- the building at 777 Main Street has nothing happening inside of it, and developer Bruce Becker has an idea: He wants to build 286 apartments and a bunch of retail space near Hartford's State House Square.

Flickr Creative Commons, stevendamron

Let's say you're married. You have a dog. Your first child is on the way, but it's 2012 and the economy's not doing so hot and you're living in your parent's basement.

You have to get out, that's for sure. So what do you do? Do you buy a house or do you buy a rental?

Low-Income Renters Struggle to Find Housing

Feb 24, 2012

Home values continue to fall, and yet housing is becoming increasingly difficult to afford. As WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, a new study from the Center for Housing Policy shows the situation is particularly dire in Connecticut.

In 2010, nearly a quarter of all working households suffered from what’s called a “severe housing cost burden.” That means more than 50 percent of households' income goes toward housing. The problem is worst for people who are renting. Megan Bolton is a senior research analyst at the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.

Connecting Housing Policy with Education Policy

Feb 20, 2012

As Governor Dannel Malloy prepares for a legislative session focused on education, many say the General Assembly needs to address other inequities, such as housing, in order to truly close the achievement gap. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports.

The General Assembly reconvenes later this week for a session that looks to be jam-packed with issues. The state’s largest business organization says lawmakers will have a difficult balancing act. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

davco9200, creative commons

Courtesy of South Park Inn

After a decade of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, more young veterans are back from combat with nowhere to live. New numbers just released from the federal VA and HUD find in the last year, 13,000 homeless veterans were between the ages of 18 and 30.

They make up nine percent of homeless veterans nationwide but their numbers are only expected to rise as troop drawdowns continue.  In Connecticut, there are anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 veterans who are homeless each day.

A Banking Roundtable

Nov 3, 2011
Chion Wolf

President Obama just unveiled a new plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure...but what other help is out there?

The state of Connecticut is working to help homeowners as well...sponsoring a mortgage assistance event  on Tuesday November 15.  

Harriet Jones

For many people struggling without power, the answer has been to find a hotel room and hunker down. That’s meant a rush for the shoreline hotels and guest houses in Southeastern Connecticut, which was unscathed in the storm. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Courtesy of Friends of Fisher House Connecticut

Most people have heard of Ronald McDonald houses that provide a place for sick children and their families to stay while seeking medical treatment. But chances are you haven't heard of a Fisher House. Now there's an effort to build one in West Haven.

West End, Park-Like Setting, Needs Work

Aug 1, 2011
State of Connecticut

As tempers flare over the contentious vote and revote on a labor concession deal, one of the questions that occasionally pops up on comment boards is this: Is the Malloy Administration really spending money to redecorate the governor's mansion as it is demanding labor givebacks?

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

The city of Dallas has been testing these changes and Jeff Cohen from member station WNPR has this report.

Flickr user Payton Chung

Despite less than six months in office, Governor Dannel Malloy was a crowd favorite at Tuesday's transit forum in Hartford.

One of his fans was Floyd Lapp, director of the Southwestern Regional Planning Agency.

"Here comes another bouquet for former mayor Malloy," Lapp said.

Lapp was one of many at Tuesday's forum who said Governor Malloy’s experience rebuilding the area around Stamford's train station while mayor should serve the state well.

Chion Wolf Photo

An East Granby woman was close to losing her home after falling behind on mortgage payments while she was unemployed.

Joan Wright-Lee found a new job but needed to raise $6000 to keep her home.
That's when her friends stepped in and created a website soliciting donations online. And through the power of Facebook, her story has been shared around the Internet thanks to her Facebook friends who posted her website address on their profile walls.

Wright-Lee spoke to WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil about this unconventional way to avoid foreclosure.

Flickr Creative Commons, vixjohnson

"Street newspapers" are designed, written and sold by the homeless. They are small, usually no more than a few pages, and feature articles, photographs and poetry about what it's like to live in shelters or on the street. They're easy to find in cities like Portland, Oregon or Providence and as WNPR's Patrick Skahill reports, now Hartford has its own street newspaper.

Chion Wolf, WNPR

Recent reports show a 3% increase of people in shelters in Connecticut from 2009 to 2010. Of this population, more than half of all families and 40% of single adults in shelters report being homeless for first time  And in these harsh winter months, even overflow homeless shelters are overflowing. 

(photo: Hartford.gov)

The long-vacant hotel at the center of downtown Hartford's Constitution Plaza may soon have a new use. The city says the hotel commonly known as the Sonesta has sat vacant for at least a decade.  Now, a New York-based development groups says it plans to buy the building this week, invest as much as $20 million dollars, and turn the building into high-end apartments.

Joseph Klaynberg runs Wonder Works Construction and Development.  He says this will be his first investment property in Hartford.

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