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.

Black And Puerto Rican Caucus 'Agenda For Equity' Includes More Than Police Reforms

Jul 7, 2020
State Rep. Brandon McGee announces the agenda crafted by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.
Connecticut House Democrats

Members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus added their voices Tuesday to the growing calls for systemic reforms that would make life safer and more equitable for Connecticut’s residents of color.

Ali Warshavsky / Connecticut Public Radio

Real estate agents say the fight over homes on the market in Fairfield County is heating up as millennials who lived in New York City want out due to COVID-19.

Cloe Poisson / CT Mirror

This article was produced in partnership with the Propublica Local Reporting Network.

On a recent Sunday, protesters marched through the center of Weston, a small, wealthy town in southwest Connecticut. They chanted “no justice, no peace” and raised handwritten signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence.” 

Somewhere in the crowd, Brian Murray hoisted his own message.

“Fact check: Weston, CT. No Black teachers. No Black police officers. No Black board members. No Black town of Weston government office members.”

David McBee / Pexels

Protests against police brutality have put systemic racism in the spotlight. But how do the written and unwritten rules in communities perpetuate racial inequality?

Dennis Carr / Flickr

The beginning of the month means the rent is due. But what if you lost your job during the COVID-19 pandemic?

This hour, we talk to a housing advocate about what protections exist for Connecticut residents who can’t afford housing costs right now. And we learn about the lasting consequences for residents who are at risk for eviction if the state and federal governments don’t provide additional protections.

Branimir Balogović / Pexels.com

You remember what the mother of Mr. Rogers said: Always look for the helpers.

Turns out, they're everywhere. Sometimes they're livestreaming themselves doing great work on social media, sometimes they're in a photo, smiling behind a mask as part of a group of volunteers (spaced six feet apart, of course), and sometimes you never even know they're there.

Joey Zanotti / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s Holy Week for many Americans, a heightened time of prayer and meditation and looking inward. But it doesn’t matter what your religion is, or if you don’t feel compelled to engage with religion at all. It seems like every one of us has been looking inward in the past month or so.

This hour, Rev. Dr. Shelley Best on how she, as a faith leader, is making sense of all this. What does this pain and death mean - if anything at all? How is she reconnecting with her communities, and how is she finding comfort for herself?

South Park Inn
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

As state and local governments grapple with how to keep people safe, the threat of coronavirus looms larger for people in vulnerable situations.

Perhaps none more so than people who are experiencing homelessness, who -- by definition -- cannot “stay safe; stay home,” as Gov. Ned Lamont’s new slogan has it.

Cases Of Lead-Poisoned Children Drop 17% In Connecticut

Feb 15, 2020

A total of 1,665 Connecticut children under age 6 had lead poisoning in 2017, a drop of almost 17% from the year before and the largest one-year decrease in five years, according to a just-released report from the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

Carl Jordan Castro / C-HIT

The repercussions of being homeless as a child younger than 6 can be lifelong, and the strain often shows in their speech, behavior, development and health, according to child-care workers and experts.

They may be nonverbal, or act out. They’re often sick, but may not have a pediatrician. They may not even know how to brush their teeth.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

State officials are pursuing a new way to hold accountable landlords who endanger residents with unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, starting with the former owner of the Clay Arsenal Renaissance Apartments in the North End of Hartford. 

The State of Connecticut

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduced a new initiative, the Opportunity Zones Program, to spur investment in the nation’s most distressed communities. The state of Connecticut is home to 72 Opportunity Zones. What efforts are being made to attract investors to these regions? This hour, we find out, and we also hear from you. Do you live in or near an Opportunity Zone? 

Daniel Case / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s major cities have some of the highest eviction rates in the nation, and one lawmaker says it’s time to take action on the issue. 

A 2016 study by The Eviction Lab at Princeton University lists the top 100 evicting cities in the United States. Four out of the five cities listed in the Northeast are in Connecticut -- Waterbury, Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Five Connecticut women returning from prison just got a big gift in time for the holiday season -- a new home.

Denise Gordon / Cuatro Puntos

The Music Moves Hartford Street Choir is a musical group with a difference. The choir members are all part of the downtown homeless community.

The project is a collaboration between Hartford’s Christ Church Cathedral and arts organization Cuatro Puntos.

M R / CREATIVE COMMONS

The New Haven Board of Alders unanimously passed an amendment to a city ordinance Monday night that requires the Health Department to take action when a child under 6 years old has a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter or greater.

Rosie O'Beirne / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness announced Thursday it will receive a $2.5 million grant from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Day 1 Families Fund. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

At the Urban Hope Refuge Church in the North End of Hartford, residents and activists celebrated the city’s new housing codes, which they hope will hold landlords and owners more accountable.

“The new code will not only prevent slumlords from continuing to make money off horrendous and inhumane living conditions they create for residents,” said Joshua Serrano, “but also lift the corporate veil, of which many slumlords hide.” 

Phil Warren / Creative Commons

On the need for new affordable housing, some Connecticut municipalities say "not in my backyard." But why this NIMBY approach?

This hour, we take an in-depth look with the author of a ProPublica-Connecticut Mirror investigation into local housing policies. We also check in with a town in southwest Connecticut, and with the policy director for the nonprofit Partnership for Strong Communities. 

The State of Connecticut

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduced a new initiative, the Opportunity Zones Program, to spur investment in the nation’s most distressed communities. The state of Connecticut is home to 72 Opportunity Zones. What efforts are being made to attract investors to these regions? This hour, we find out, and we also hear from you. Do you live in or near an Opportunity Zone? 

Mary Anne Williams

Dozens of Connecticut homes have been hoisted off the ground as the state helps pay homeowners to repair ruined concrete foundations. 

This hour, we check in on the crumbling foundations crisis that is impacting homes and homeowners. We talk with the Hartford Courant journalist behind a yearlong series on Connecticut’s ruined concrete foundations

nathanmac87 / Flickr Creative Commons

Cities and towns have laws to keep people from engaging in behavior that may disturb others, like sleeping on park benches, drinking in public, or just plain “loitering”.

What does it mean when just hanging out in a public space puts you in violation of these laws?

Magicpiano / Wikimedia Commons

Abandoned factories tagged with graffiti. Vacant properties marked by broken windows and overgrown lawns. This hour, we consider the impact of urban blight on communities and hear how some local municipalities are working to improve quality of life.

We check in with the cities of Waterbury and Hartford, where significant strides have been made to survey and address blight.

We also talk with Laura Bliss of CityLab and with a housing official in Baltimore. How effective has the Maryland city’s Vacants to Value program been at reducing the number of vacant, blighted properties? We find out. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A group of Connecticut residents, advocates and state leaders in Hartford are demanding systematic change in public housing assistance, in the wake of several scandals over shocking conditions at public housing complexes. Many say the help available to tenants from the federal government is inadequate.

Puerto Rican evacuee Rita Rivera addressed reporters inside the Catholic Charities, Institute For The Hispanic Family in Hartford Tuesday July 30, 2019 about problems evacuees face nearly two years after Hurricane Maria leveled Puerto Rico.
Jade Allen / Connecticut Public Radio

Money that almost went back to the state is now in the hands of survivors of Hurricane Maria.

Favarh

In the Farmington Valley, a nonprofit organization aims to break down silos and build bridges in the community through apartment housing. This hour, we learn about Favarh and its unique initiative to build a more integrated living experience for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Plus, at Quinnipiac University, students can apply to live not in a dorm but with residents at a Masonicare assisted living facility. We learn about the Students in Residence program, and we also hear from you. 

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and Community Services Administrator Dakibu Muley at a city hall press conference announcing lead mitigation plan.
Lori Mack / Connecticut Public Radio

New Haven is about to get tougher on its lead poisoning standards. The mayor outlined a plan Monday following multiple lawsuits against the city for not enforcing existing lead laws.

DSNDR-Videolar / Pixabay

What efforts are underway -- both locally and nationally -- to help improve individuals’ access to housing?

This hour, we listen back to a panel moderated by Lucy Nalpathanchil in Hartford recently for the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. We hear from policy and advocacy experts.

Later, we also learn about a "Net Zero" affordable housing proposal in the town of Norfolk.

AP Photo

It's been a half-century since the torture and eventual murder of wrongly suspected FBI informant Alex Rackney by members of the Black Panther Party. The racial tensions in New Haven that followed when party leaders were put on trial for Rackney's death led to the National Guard patrolling its streets.

In some ways, the city has changed a lot since then. But many of the social problems that provoked New Haven's angst during that period--injustices by police, substandard housing, gentrificaton, and racial disparity--remain unsolved.

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