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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.

Dan Moyle / Creative Commons

A longtime observer of Connecticut’s economy says plans to cut education grants to towns as a way of balancing the state budget could end up damaging the housing market. 

Connecticut lawmakers have overridden Governor Dannel Malloy's veto of a bill that updates a longstanding affordable housing law.

Tony Bacewicz / C-HIT

The scandal around tainted water in Flint, Michigan put the issue of lead poisoning back in the spotlight. Yet lead-based paint remains one of the biggest sources of lead poisoning in the United States, including Connecticut.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

A new type of energy-efficient construction is drawing attention in the U.S. It’s called “passive housing” -- residences built to achieve ultra-low energy use. It’s so efficient that developers can eliminate central heating systems altogether.

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. 

The heat of summer is felt by prospective homeowners in the housing market.

The average price of a single family home in the state has reached $410,000 — up $30,000 from the same time last year.

For many would-be homebuyers, it’s probably a little too hot.

“It’s a little scary the way things fly off the market,” says 34-year-old Katie McGee, a first grade teacher who lives in a small Somerville condo with her 2-year-old daughter and her fiancé, Charlie Linehan, a landscaper in Cambridge.

"I'm afraid to say there are now 79 people that we believe are either dead" or presumed dead in London's Grenfell Tower fire, Metropolitan Police Cmdr. Stuart Cundy said Monday morning, in an update on the huge fire that overtook a 24-story building last week.

"Sadly, for many families, they have lost more than one family member," Cundy said. "This is an incredibly distressing time for all of them."

Comey To Take Center Stage

Jun 8, 2017
Paul Morigi / Brookings Institution

This hour we preview the upcoming Senate Intelligence hearing and the much anticipated testimony of former FBI Director James Comey.

Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal joins us and we dig into the legal repercussions that could follow.

Mary Anne Williams

Homeowners whose houses are suffering from crumbling foundations say their plight must not be forgotten in the midst of the state's budget crisis. About 500 homes, mostly in the east of the state have been identified as suffering from the problem, which stems from a corrosive mineral mixed into the concrete. But tens of thousands of homes may eventually be affected. 

M R / Creative Commons

Nearly 1,400 new cases of lead-poisoned children under age 6 were reported in Connecticut in 2015, a slight drop from the year before, but more children showed higher levels of poisoning.

Bart Everson / Creative Commons

Thousands of Connecticut children have elevated levels of lead in their blood. This is often the result of lead dust in the home or in the soil outside.

Mary Anne Williams

Homeowners whose foundations are crumbling because of faulty concrete pleaded with lawmakers Tuesday for help.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

African Americans are a diverse group of people who live in our cities and our suburbs.

This hour, what does it mean to be black in Connecticut?

There's no way to avoid it. As the cost of college grows, research shows that so does the number of hungry and homeless students at colleges and universities across the country.

Still, many say the problem is invisible to the public.

"It's invisible even to me and I'm looking," says Wick Sloan. He came to Bunker Hill Community College in Boston more than a decade ago to teach English full time. He says it felt like he quickly became a part-time social worker, too.

Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act, but no one knows exactly how.

The uncertainty has one group of people, the homeless, especially concerned. Many received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare; now they're worried it will disappear.

Joseph Funn, homeless for almost 20 years, says his body took a beating while he lived on the street.

Now, he sees nurse practitioner Amber Richert fairly regularly at the Health Care for the Homeless clinic in Baltimore.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Do you give money to panhandlers on the street? It can be an uncomfortable decision, when someone who seems in need asks for a handout and you have cash in your wallet. Now cities around the country are trying to give you an alternative; the donation meter. New Haven is the latest to adopt the system.

Outgoing Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro's office overlooks a stretch of the Washington, D.C., waterfront where several high-rent apartment buildings are being built, in a city where affordable housing is in short supply and homelessness is a big problem.

These are some of the same issues his successor will have to deal with as head of an agency that provides housing aid to 10 million low-income families.

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