WNPR

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.

Marc Brüneke / Creative Commons

A report released by the National Coalition for the Homeless last month shows a growing number of U.S. cities are making it illegal to hand out food to the homeless. Since January 2013, 21 cities have passed legislation restricting food distribution. 

Paul Bass / New Haven Independent

Governor Malloy announced on Thursday a $21.5 million investment in phase two of New Haven’s Downtown Crossing plan.

Two years after Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast, hundreds of Staten Islanders are deciding whether to sell their shorefront homes to New York state, which wants to knock them down and let the empty land act as a buffer to the ocean.

Stephen Drimalas was one Staten Islander faced with this tough decision. He lived in a bungalow not far from the beach in the working-class neighborhood of Ocean Breeze. He barely escaped Sandy's floodwaters with his life.

If you don't have a place to live, getting enough to eat clearly may be a struggle. And since homelessness in the U.S. isn't going away and is even rising in some cities, more charitable groups and individuals have been stepping up the past few years to share food with these vulnerable folks in their communities.

But just as more people reach out to help, cities are biting back at those hands feeding the homeless.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been years since the housing market crashed. But in that time, increased job insecurity and the rising cost of living have left many questioning whether the American dream of homeownership is still a practical one, especially for the nation’s low- and middle-wage earners.

stewartfornb.com

New Britain's mayor is looking for space to serve as an emergency homeless shelter this winter. 

The Herald of New Britain reports that Mayor Erin Stewart is asking that a local property owner step forward and donate a building. 

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

The state Veterans' Home sits on a sprawling campus in Rocky Hill but most of the buildings were built more than 70 years ago. In August, Governor Dannel Malloy asked for the creation of an advisory group to examine how the property--which offers several types of residential care-- can be transformed to serve more veterans.

Wikimedia Commons

Allan Borghesi wanted to rezone about 60 acres in New Hartford and Canton from "residential" to "industrial" and, earlier this summer, it looked like the deal was a sure bet. New Hartford signed off on the proposal in June, but opposition in Canton grew in the interim -- organizing itself on Facebook and through petitions. Now, Borghesi has withdrawn his request.

Staten Island's Fox Beach neighborhood used to be a working-class area with about 180 homes, mostly small bungalows. Fox Beach is — or rather was — a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean, and after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, homeowners decided their neighborhood was dangerous in terms of natural disasters and too expensive because of the rising cost of flood insurance.

So the state has been tearing down the homes.

Bill Bye's home at 16 Kissam Ave. was a recent one to go.

Wikimedia Commons

A proposed industrial development on 60 acres near the Farmington River is generating pushback from residents in New Hartford and Canton.

A New York City-based developer unveiled plans today for a major renovation to an apartment complex in downtown Springfield.  The project was hailed by city officials as another big step in downtown’s  revitalization.

Officials with the SilverBrick group outlined plans for what they said would be a $6 million renovation of the 280-unit complex that fronts Main Street.  The extensive makeover will include luxury amenities intended to persuade people to pay market-rate rents to live in the urban center.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been years since the housing market crashed. But in that time, increased job insecurity and the rising cost of living have left many questioning whether the American dream of homeownership is still a practical one, especially for the nation’s low- and middle-wage earners.

Salvation Army

The city of Hartford recently cut $100,000 from a homeless shelter as part of its effort to keep taxes down and avoid layoffs. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he's still hoping find money to undo the cut. 

The financial crisis pushed millions of Americans from their homes. And housing advocates complain that the government did more to prop up big banks on Wall Street than it did to help average people on Main Street.

But many of those people on Main Street could still qualify for a government program to help them save money by refinancing their mortgages.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal hosted a roundtable discussion Monday on the issue of youth homelessness in Connecticut.

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