housing | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

housing

Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

August saw a big boost in home sales in Connecticut, with 2,893 homes sold that month. It's the highest number of single family homes sold for that month in six years, up ten percent from the same month in 2012.

As with so many other types of economic activity, the government shutdown is causing more fear than actual harm in the housing market thus far.

But that doesn't mean things won't start going wrong in the very near future.

Various federal agencies play greater or lesser roles in real estate transactions. With most of them sidelined, simple matters such as closing on mortgages are becoming more complicated.

The Partnership for Strong Communities wants to know if you can find an affordable apartment in expensive Connecticut. Their new video game, Rent Roulette, allows you to role play. "Maybe you'll land a job that allows you to live where you want," they say. "But maybe, you’ll be like so many in our expensive state, and have to settle for something less." The game was designed by Ed Hogan of Manchester Community College, and includes real-time housing and labor data for Connecticut.

Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis

Economists at the University of Connecticut are calling on the state to use bonds that have been approved by the legislature but never issued. The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis forecast reports that if the state relies only on traditional drivers like the housing market to grow the economy, it could begin to lose jobs again in 2014.

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it was suing Bank of America for allegedly lying to investors about the riskiness of about $850 million worth of mortgage-backed securities back in 2008.

According to a press release by the Justice Department, the action is part of efforts of the Obama administration's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force's RMBS Working Group.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

It's been more than a half century since the state built two big public housing developments in Hartford -- nestled in neighborhoods that now include middle-class housing, the University of Hartford, and expensive single family homes. The housing developments are called Westbrook Village and Bowles Park. Over time, the units have grown too old and expensive to repair.

Marcin Wichary/flickr creative commons

Caroline Rob Zaleski’s research on the work of key figures in 2oth-century architecture, the relatively unknown aspects of their production, and their associations with clients, artists, and politicians chronicles a rich and little-known array of architecture on Long Island, a hotbed of modernism from the 1930s on. Zaleski documents the development of exurbia and the rise of visionary structures: residences for commuters and weekenders, public housing, houses of worship, universities, shopping centers, and office complexes, and she is our guest.

claudiasimsphotography

June is Homeownership Month and part of peak real estate season. The housing market across the nation is finally showing signs of improvement with signs up across the nation. But it is not the market it was before the 2008 crash.

Some real estate experts say the market hit bottom at 2011 and has been slowly climbing back. This means jobs in construction and other parts of the housing sector.

Still, some 40,000 people are delinquent on their mortgages across the state. And others simply cannot afford any of the options.

Back in the early 2000s, a group of mostly low-income African- American families took the city of New Haven to court. They were fighting to stay in their homes which were slated for demolition in order to build a new school complex. A documentary film airing tonight on CPTV tells their story.

"My house is paid for. I’ll never have to pay another mortgage no more in life. It's not much, but its mine."

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. The Connecticut Fair Housing Center claimed the landlord, Paul Rosow, discriminated against people who received disability checks and housing assistance.

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.

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 / Connecticut Public Radio

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.”  

JeffreyTurner, Creative Commons

The housing crisis that has cost millions of Americans their homes.  In fact, banks have foreclosed on more than 4 million homes since the crisis began in 2007. Almost 6 million are still in danger of foreclosure, and some analysts say 2012 could be the worst year yet.

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.

Pages