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.

WNPR is 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.

CT House Votes To Provide Attorneys For Tenants Facing Eviction

17 hours ago
Alice Prael, of New Haven, left, and Adam, who didn't want to give his last name, protest an impending eviction in Stratford this winter.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

With an anticipated tsunami of evictions when the pandemic-inspired moratoriums are lifted, the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to provide attorneys for low-income tenants facing displacement.

If passed in the Senate and signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont, Connecticut will become one of the first states to provide those facing eviction with the right to counsel. Washington adopted the change earlier this year, and a similar bill awaits the governor’s signature in Maryland.

Courtesy: Keller & Williams

If you’re looking for a shoreline rental, agents say you might have a hard time finding one unless you’re willing to pay over $30,000 a month.

The Pandemic’s Effect On The Housing Market Helped Some — But Others Are Left Behind.

Apr 5, 2021
The housing crisis that faces many other communities has reached this well-off, mostly white community. Since the pandemic began, 30 households have faced eviction in Westport, compared to 775 a few miles away in Bridgeport.
Monica Jorge / CTMirror.org

Last November, Nicolas Rodriguez and his wife, Carmen, had to scale back their hours at the medical equipment factory where they have worked for 21 years.

 

He never fully recovered his lung capacity after catching COVID-19 in the fall, and coughing and gasping for breath keeps him up most nights. His wife has been sick for months and needs another surgery on her gallbladder, but the high deductible for her first surgery, along with the mortgage on their Hamden home, drained their savings.

Bills On Affordable Housing Move Out Of Committee, But Not Without Changes

Mar 31, 2021

A key committee of the General Assembly moved forward legislation that would require municipalities to open more affordable housing — or face consequences — and gutted a key component of another controversial bill that would have allowed multifamily housing to be developed around certain train stations and municipalities’ main streets without needing special approval from local officials.

Frank Franklin II / AP Photo

Affordable housing is the subject of a number of bills before Connecticut lawmakers. But what do we really mean when we talk about “affordable housing”? 

JMSuarez / Wikimedia Commons

In the pandemic, some residents have been working paycheck to paycheck to pay their bills, many have lost jobs and not everyone has a place to live.

This hour, we talk about the state of homelessness in Connecticut and across the country. Many community organizations have been working on new and innovative solutions to reduce  homelessness. 

A group of people protest outside the Hartford apartment of a woman facing eviction during a snowstorm Feb. 18. She had an attorney and the decision was delayed while a settlement is being negotiated.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

Facing eviction this winter, Alice attempted to email to Hartford Housing Court the documents needed to qualify for the eviction moratorium program established by the federal government during the pandemic, but her paperwork didn’t arrive.

Connecticut Touts Real Estate Boom Stemming From Pandemic

Feb 23, 2021
Fuse / Thinkstock

Thousands of new residents have come to Connecticut during the coronavirus pandemic with workers in New York, Boston and elsewhere looking to relocate as they work from home, the state’s economic development officials said.

Barbour Garden Apartments in Hartford was affordable housing but tenants say their health and access to opportunity was impacted by the housing. Connecticut lawmakers are, once again, tackling the issue of affordable housing this session
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public Radio

Most elected officials agree that Connecticut needs more affordable housing. The Housing Committee held a hearing Thursday that offered a preview of how lawmakers intend to address the issue this session. 

The bills introduced take a statewide approach to increase affordable housing.

Developer AA Denorfia Building & Development wants to bring more affordable housing to Woodbridge. Its application has the backing of Open Communities Alliance, a nonprofit that works on housing equity, and the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. But the proposal also has drawn opposition, dominating the town’s planning and zoning meetings for the last two months.

Nicolas Boullosa / Creative Commons

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic has been a resurgence of interest in motels and RV life from a diverse group of millennials who want safe and less expensive options to travel and work during a pandemic.

And motels and RV companies are trying to meet the demand with upgrades and amenities like flat-screen TVs, memory-foam mattresses, and free Wi-Fi.

Some are turning to RV life permanently to travel, live, and work from where they want instead of being tethered to a desk and real estate. The pandemic has shown us that millennials who have never known the security of stable jobs or home ownership feel more "at home" outside traditional places.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

A small team of nurses and support staff set up tables and medical supplies inside the Open Hearth homeless shelter for men in Hartford.

Shelter clients and employees, all masked, lined up to register at a check-in table. Geriann Gallagher, an advanced practice registered nurse, brought clients over one at a time to her vaccination station. Austin Anglin, 67, sat down. 

Mr_Incognito_ / Pixabay

Last January, an estimated 2,500 young people experienced homelessness in Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Coalition To End Homelessness annual Youth Count. And that was before the pandemic that overturned so many lives.

Connecticut had made a goal to end youth homelessness by 2020. So what gaps remain? We hear from advocates, providers, and a young person about how the state can help youth at risk of housing insecurity and homelessness.

Have you or someone you know experienced housing insecurity or homelessness?

Roman Eugeniusz / Wikimedia Commons

With the ongoing pandemic, what do municipalities need to do to stay afloat?  This hour, we look at neighborhoods and towns in Connecticut working to keep their residents connected and businesses thriving during this pandemic. We hear from residents in Westville, a small thriving community in New Haven. We also hear from New London - a city looking to revitalize and create more resiliency. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont extended a moratorium on evictions last week until Feb. 9 -- good news for local tenants.

But housing advocates want more.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

As the days grow colder, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness has launched a statewide campaign to help house those who need it during a time when shelter capacity is challenged.

Tenants at Barbour Garden Apartments in Hartford experienced unsafe conditions including mold, mice, and leaky ceilings. The lawsuit claims that tenants experienced housing discrimination in their search for better living conditions.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public Radio

A group of former residents from Hartford’s North End is taking on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Center for Leadership and Justice filed suit on their behalf Wednesday, claiming that HUD failed to reduce segregation when giving them options for new housing.

Civil Rights Attorneys Take Aim At Single-Family Zoning Using Woodbridge As Test Case

Sep 29, 2020
From left, Anika Singh Lemar, Erin Boggs, Connie Royster and Karen Anderson pose for a portrait at the Woodbridge Town Hall.
YEHYUN KIM / CTMirror.org

Woodbridge — It was 2009 when the country club in this affluent New Haven suburb started sliding into bankruptcy.

Fearful that the 150-acre property would be scooped up by a developer looking to build affordable or multi-family housing, Woodbridge officials purchased the property that spring for $7 million.

Nicolas Boullosa / Creative Commons

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic has been a resurgence of interest in motels and RV life from a diverse group of millennials who want safe and less expensive options to travel and work during a pandemic.

And motels and RV companies are trying to meet the demand with upgrades and amenities like flat-screen TVs, memory-foam mattresses, and free Wi-Fi.

Some are turning to RV life permanently to travel, live, and work from where they want instead of being tethered to a desk and real estate. The pandemic has shown us that millennials who have never known the security of stable jobs or home ownership feel more "at home" outside traditional places.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Despite New England's progressive reputation, residential segregation still exists in communities throughout the region. 

In this second episode of a special radio series on "Racism In New England," we look at how housing laws and discrimination influence where we live — from the predominantly white states of northern New England to cities and suburbs in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Cloe Poisson / CT Mirror

Only two families have received aid in the five months since state officials established a program to help those struggling to pay rent during the pandemic, leaving a backlog of nearly 7,400 applications and growing frustration about the slow pace of the approval process.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Howard K. Hill wants to bring the economic, social and cultural vibrancy back to Hartford’s Barbour Street. On a hot summer day, the funeral home owner may have been the only person dressed in a full suit strolling down a street peppered with closed businesses, dilapidated housing and streets in need of a serious cleanup.

Pandemic Worsens 'Already Fragile' Situation for Homeless Youth, Young Adults

Aug 18, 2020
Residents of Malta House in Norwalk gather and play with their children.
Malta House Handout Photo

Johanna Vasquez, 19, and her 4-month-old baby ended up at Malta House in Norwalk as a result of an abusive relationship. Vasquez’s boyfriend hit her, she said, because he was home without a job and “was stressed.”

Kin Mun Lee / Creative Commons

In July, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker wrote an op-ed in which he suggests penalizing Connecticut towns that fail to meet the threshold of making 10% of their housing supply affordable. If they don’t comply, he said, they should be taxed.  

As our pandemic-induced recession marches on, a lot of people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own now face the scary prospect of losing their homes. A moratorium on evictions is slated to end soon. In anticipation of this, the Connecticut Department of Housing has announced two relief programs for renters and homeowners. 

Lamont, Legislators Agree On July Agenda. It Doesn't Include Housing Segregation

Jul 15, 2020
Yehyun Kim / CT Mirror

A broadening coalition of affordable-housing advocates gathered outside the State Capitol on Tuesday to insist that the time has come to tackle housing segregation in Connecticut. But that time will not be this month.

Martin Vorel / Libreshot

COVID 19 cases have dropped in Connecticut, but it’s still important for residents to stay home when possible to slow the spread of the disease. But what about residents who don’t have a home?

This hour, we look at homelessness during the pandemic.

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