The Struggle to Find Affordable Housing in Hartford

The Struggle to Find Affordable Housing in Hartford

Kenneth Best,

Last year, a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that it is difficult to find affordable housing in Connecticut, where earning the average wage for renters, $17.38 an hour, is not enough to pay for a two-bedroom apartment at the market rent of $1,295 a month. Minimum wage in the Nutmeg State is even lower, at $10.10 an hour.

But housing issues are not new to Connecticut residents, according to Fiona Vernal, associate professor of history and Africana Studies, who has developed a new exhibit at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center focused on the struggles of Hartford County residents to find affordable housing.

“From Civil Rights to Human Rights: African American, Puerto Rican, & West Indian Housing Struggles in Hartford County, 1940-2019” is a visual depiction of archival photos and detailed information researched by Vernal and her students detailing a 70-year history of housing struggles by those who migrated to the Hartford region. The exhibit covers intertwined housing issues, including poverty, racial discrimination, residential segregation, and public housing.

There will be a panel discussion about housing access and discrimination on April 17 starting at 4:30 p.m. in the Konover Auditorium. Panelists include Fernando Betancourt, executive director of San Juan Center Inc.; Pastor AJ Johnson, community organizer at Christian Activities Council and founder of Small Business Night Out; and Annette Sanderson, executive director of the Hartford Housing Authority. Vernal will moderate the discussion.

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