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Bob Adelman / Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America’s Most Exclusive Shoreline

This Memorial Day weekend, Connecticut residents will flock to the shoreline, raising umbrellas and spreading towels along the state's beaches.

Yet, behind this sunny imagery hides a somber history -- a story of coastal ownership and exclusivity.

This hour, University of Virginia professor and Free the Beaches author Andrew Kahrl joins us. We reflect on the impact of Connecticut’s private and restricted beaches and learn about a 20th-century crusade to unlock the state’s coast. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

An estimated 13,000 Puerto Ricans came to Connecticut after Hurricane Maria, according to The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College.

The Connecticut House of Representatives has approved a $12 annual surcharge on the insurance policies of every residential homeowner in the state. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 97 to 42 during a rare weekend session on Saturday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will keep paying for temporary housing until the end of June for hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico. But it says it's the last extension it will offer. 

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson wants Americans living on housing assistance to put more of their income toward rent and he wants to give public housing authorities the ability to impose work requirements on tenants.

Under current law, most tenants who get federal housing assistance pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent, and the government kicks in the rest up to a certain amount.

Mary Anne Williams

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are pushing two separate federal bills to secure the same goal: at least $100 million in federal aid for state residents that are affected by crumbling foundations.

Mary Anne Williams

Three-quarters of the federal cash that was recently allocated to help families in Eastern Connecticut with crumbling foundations has been diverted by state officials for other needs.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Six months after Hurricane Maria, evacuees from Puerto Rico are still looking for affordable places to live. And they’re looking to the government for help, particularly through available public housing, but they’re not getting it.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

A two-bedroom unit at Brick Hollow in Hartford comes with a refrigerator, a stove, and a washer and dryer.

Maribel Perez has five people that live with her and no money to stock her new apartment with basic furniture.

A real estate venture formerly run by Jared Kushner falsified construction permits for dozens of apartment buildings it owned in New York City, allowing the company to push out rent-controlled tenants and boost profits when it later sold the properties, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The memory of Hurricane Maria still lives with Carmen Cotto.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Brian Rivera was finishing breakfast in the lobby of the Red Room Inn in downtown Hartford. He’s been living there with his wife and two toddlers since December. And he didn’t know yet if he’d have to move out soon.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Valle Hill is a neighborhood in Puerto Rico that shouldn’t exist.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Members of Hartford’s Puerto Rican community held a rally and a candlelight vigil Friday night in front of the hotel where dozens of hurricane evacuees from the island have been living since Hurricane Maria.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Only days after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would pay for dozens of hurricane evacuees to stay in a Harford hotel until mid-February, state officials were told by FEMA on Thursday there had been an error, and that several of the families had to vacate their temporary housing. 

Multiculturalism / Creative Commons

Race is a myth; racism is not. I'm stealing this line from Gene Seymour, one of our guests on our show today. 

Mary Anne Williams

The IRS has clarified that Connecticut homeowners who have already incurred expenses to repair crumbling foundations will be able to deduct existing losses from their federal taxes. 

About half of New England’s households are on septic systems. That’s the highest proportion in the country. 

On one of the coldest nights this winter in New York City, a fire tore through an apartment building in the city's Bronx borough. At least 12 people were killed, four people were critically injured and two others sustained non-life-threatening injuries, city officials say.

The dead include five children, New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in an update from the scene late Friday morning.

"This fire started in the kitchen on the first floor," Nigro said. "It started from a young boy, 3 1/2 years old, playing with the burners on the stove."

Mary Anne Williams

State residents whose homes have crumbling foundations are among those who'll be out of luck under the new federal tax overhaul.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

As well as providing an opportunity to mark the holidays, Saturday’s “Esparanza de Parranda” in Hartford highlighted an important need for those displaced by Hurricane Maria.

With lawmakers in the House and Senate announcing that they've reached a deal, affordable housing advocates are anxiously waiting to see which version of the bill wins out with regard to housing. They say the House bill has a poison pill in it.

"The effect would be devastating," says Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "It would mean a loss of around 800,000 affordable rental homes over the next 10 years."

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Marlene Hernandez shuffled through winter coats with her cousin Kaliel Diaz at a hurricane relief center in Hartford. Diaz arrived from Puerto Rico with three other family members just days before.

Caroline Lester

At 130,000 residents, New Haven, Connecticut is a small city, which makes its recent building boom especially notable. Over half-a-dozen luxury apartments have been built in under a decade, with more to come. Until now, the apartments were built on parking lots or old commercial space. But with the renovation of an old downtown hotel, New Haven will trade in affordable housing for high-end visitors.

Mark Moz / Flickr

Across the country, teachers are being shut out of some housing markets due to their low wages. That's according to a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality. But the outlook in Connecticut is a little better.

Jon Kalish / NENC

In the small town of Warren, Vermont a so-called “net zero” house is being built that will not use any fossil fuel. The house has solar panels on the roof to generate electricity and pipes in the ground to capture geothermal energy for heating. It won’t be using power from the grid that was generated with fossil fuel.

David Bruce / WNPR

A recent study called “Out Of Reach” finds that someone working full-time, earning the federal minimum wage, would be unable to rent a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in this country. But a new partnership in New Haven is trying to address the problem, one house at a time.

Office of Governor Dannel Malloy / Creative Commons

The catastrophic flooding happening in Texas is highlighting the importance of coastal resiliency. Researchers at the University of Connecticut say a lot of climate science currently focuses on biology and ecology, overlooking something else very important: the humans who own the land.

Disasters like the flooding that has followed Hurricane Harvey, displacing thousands of people, always create a tremendous need for help — and a tremendous desire to provide that help.

But those who have dealt with disasters before say people need to be careful about how they contribute to disaster relief, and when. Cash donations are almost always preferred over items — such as blankets, clothing and stuffed animals — often sent into overwhelmed disaster areas by well-meaning donors.

Ryan Caron King / NENC

For the past six months, Chastity Kerr has lived at a 27-bed family shelter in Hartford, Conn., with her three children, ages 14, 11, and 8.

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