WNPR

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.

Fair housing advocates are celebrating a victory. They recently won a settlement from a Hartford-area landlord who allegedly denied apartments to people using public assistance to pay their rent. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. The Connecticut Fair Housing Center claimed the landlord, Paul Rosow, discriminated against people who received disability checks and housing assistance.

Susan Campbell

The Hartford Homeless Outreach Team heads out every Thursday to check-in on Hartford's homeless population and hand out lunches. They go out early before the homeless leave their makeshift abodes for the day.

UI/Energize Connecticut

Global Jet, Creative Commons

Driving through downtown Hartford, you’ll see a lot of empty storefronts, plenty of parking garages, and some impressive high rises. And while the city has a hard time getting businesses to fill the office space - now at 26% vacancy -- developers can’t build housing fast enough to meet demand.

In fact, several of those old office buildings are being retrofitted for new housing. So people are voting for downtown housing with their dollars, but is there enough retail to keep feet on the street?

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

It's been five months since 16 homeless veterans moved into permanent supportive housing thanks to the American Legion Post in southeastern Connecticut. The Jewett City Post renovated its own building to create the apartments. The project was funding by the federal VA with help from private donations, Second district Congressman Joe Courtney, and the state of Connecticut.

This past summer, WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil introduced us to one of the new tenants, an Army veteran. She visited him recently as he prepares for his first Christmas inside his own place.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

The last of Hartford's post-war, barracks style federal public housing has come down.  And now, the city's housing authority is building something new in its place. 

A few years back, the Hartford Housing Authority started relocating the people who lived at Nelton Court. Then, last year, the authority started knocking the place down.  The housing authority says Nelton Court was beyond its useful life.  And it housed too many people in too small a place.  

Harriet Jones

There are widespread reports of the resurrection of the housing market. National data due out this week are expected to show a bump in sales of both existing and new homes. But for the small businesses supported by the industry, it’s been a long slow journey out of the deepest housing slump in a generation. 

This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans will finally have a place to call their own, thanks to the American Legion.

The organization's post in a small Connecticut town has been working for a decade on a unique project to create not transitional but permanent supportive housing in their rural community.

For 55-year-old Army veteran Jeff MacDonald, the new facility in Jewett City, Conn., was like "winning the lottery."

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Originally aired on NPR's "All Things Considered"

This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans will finally have a place to call their own thanks to the American Legion. A local Post in a small Connecticut town has been working for a decade on a unique project to create not transitional, but permanent supportive housing in their rural community. 

Neena Satija

Developers are taking advantage of a down economy to build more affordable housing. It’s happening even in the small-town suburbs of Connecticut, where people are forgoing the big country home for smaller, more energy-efficient houses or rental apartments. In the small Danbury suburb of Ridgefield,  not everyone is happy about the changes.

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

An American Legion post in Jewett City has dedicated the last decade to raising money so it could help homeless veterans. On Monday, hundreds of Griswold residents turned out to celebrate the project's completion. Post 15 renovated its building so to provide 18 apartments to veterans who need housing.

Fighting Urban Blight

Jun 12, 2012
Diane Orson

Urban blight can have an insidious impact on a local community - socially, economically and environmentally. New Haven has just acquired its first vacant property under an anti-blight ordinance.

"It's been a place for people to go and get high, a place for people who don’t have anywhere to live to sleep."

Joanne Kelly is walking back to her home, a few houses away from an abandoned property on Clay Street in the Fair Haven section of New Haven.

Former alderman Joe Rodriguez says city workers came here early this morning to clean the place up.

U.S. Army photo bt Sgt. Jerry Saslav, Massachusetts National Gua

We come to rely on our communities being a certain way. A disaster can change all that.

It can take the form of a tornado. That’s what happened one year ago in Joplin Missouri - a city that was nearly wiped out - with 160 of its residents killed.

Lauren Wellicome, Creative Commons

Fair housing advocates say that “integrated” communities with various racial, ethnic and economic groups are the key to prosperity.  

In fact, administration officials says that President Obama has the “desire to see a fully integrated society.”  

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