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.

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. 

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. 

Mary Anne Williams

The IRS has clarified that Connecticut homeowners who have already incurred expenses to repair crumbling foundations will be able to deduct existing losses from their federal taxes. 

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.

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