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.

With generous support from the Melville Charitable Trust, WNPR and Susan Campbell are 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.

Contact Susan by email at slcampbell417 at gmail.com.

Jimmy Crespo of Hartford received a new pair of Wolverine boots as part of a winter charity effort put together by Footwear With Care. That nonprofit held a 'Winter Boot Party' in Hartford Saturday, December 8, 2018.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A local nonprofit outfitted about 400 people with a brand new pair of boots and a fresh pair of socks at an event called the “Winter Boot Party” at the Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford Saturday.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

When CVS agreed to acquire Aetna, they halted a plan to move the Hartford-based company’s headquarters to New York City. Connecticut has been breathing a sigh of relief that one of the capital’s largest employers isn’t ditching the state.

Since last Thursday, the House of Mercy has been busier than usual. The part shelter/part church/part donations center is among the places people affected by the Merrimack Valley gas explosions can go for help.

Their building, in an industrial corner of Lawrence, is a cramped space nearly floor-to-ceiling with diapers, bottled water and canned food.

Mabel Valenzuela, who works at House of Mercy, walks through a tight hallway, surveying the inventory.

Defining The American Dream In 2018

Sep 20, 2018
Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

It’s been ten years since the Great Recession reared its ugly head, lurching the country into a state of economic crisis. 

This hour, we look back and ask: What effect did the downturn have on the American public? And how did it come to reshape perceptions of the so-called ‘American dream’?

We check in with a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center. We also sit down with experts in the fields of economics and sociology. And we want to hear from you.

Whether you’re an immigrant or a native-born citizen, what do the words American dream mean to you? Is the answer to that question more or less clear now than it was a decade ago? 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The Puerto Rican government has acknowledged that nearly 3,000 people died after Hurricane Maria hit the island last year. At first, it said that only 64 people perished as a result of the storm.

Dennis Carr / Flickr

Each year, millions of Americans are evicted from their homes.

This hour we talk with Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City started a national conversation about America’s eviction crisis.

A 2-year-old girl living in a rental home in New Haven, Connecticut, tested positive for lead in her blood. The levels were nine times what the federal government says will cause irreversible development problems.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

You only have to ask Ramón Luis Morales once to know that the trauma of Hurricane Maria is still fresh.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The state of Connecticut has set aside $1.5 million to meet the needs of Puerto Rican evacuees and the Connecticut municipalities that took them in for the current fiscal year.

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

This Independence Day, 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. 

Nine months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, there are an estimated 300 families still living in hotels in Massachusetts with FEMA and the state footing the bill.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Ben Carson, the secretary of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development was in Connecticut Monday to visit the home of a family dealing with a crumbling foundation in Willington.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Apartment residents in a section of Hartford’s North End got some good news Thursday regarding their poor living conditions. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development said it would terminate a New York landlord’s Section 8 contract to provide subsidized housing to the tenants of the Clay Arsenal Renaissance Apartments.

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 / Connecticut Public Radio

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. 

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