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WWL: Housing Connecticut's Workforce
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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Per capita, Connecticut is 47th in the nation in housing units built since 2000.


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49:01 minutes (23.53 MB)
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Connecticut loses a bigger percentage of its young workers than other state in the country.  Some say that’s because the cost of living here is 25% higher than the national average and entry level salaries at Connecticut companies haven’t kept up.

Today on the program, a look at part of the problem: housing costs. Affordable housing is in short supply in Connecticut’s population centers and many developers and legislators say the conditions just aren’t right to do much about it. Coming up, is housing at the heart of Connecticut’s emerging demographic disaster? We’ll have a discussion about solutions.

How can we preserve existing affordable housing and clear the way for new development?

Join the conversation with DECD Commissioner Joan McDonald and Diane Randall from the Partnership for Strong Communities– leave your questions and comments below.

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25 year old caller

The 25 year old caller was just being silly. There is a lot going on in Hartford. I was on Park Street yesterday. Three drug dealers asked me if I wanted to buy. I went to a store at the corner of Albany Avenue and Vine Street last Friday. Two women were fighting over a man right in front of me. I was on Wethersfield Avenue two weeks ago. Two Puerto Ricans kids beat the hell out of a girl in front of Buckley High School. She is right about Downtown Hartford. It closes down at 5pm during the week and is dead as a doornob on the weekends. Half the city is unemployed. 35 percent of the city's residents get food stamps. There in no commuter train connecting it to a major city.  I think that young caller is on to something.

Listener comment from David

When young people say it's boring in Hartford, and others say it's the jobs that will get them here, the better answer is that they didn't truck 100K young people into Boston one day. The culture there grew because of the universities, the economic development strategy of building high tech, financial services and bio tech industries using the intellectual capital from those universities, and job creation that resulted. Obviously, Hartford isn't and will never be Boston. But there are young people living in Charlotte and Portland and Cleveland, and none of them are Boston either. We will never attract someone who wants to live close to Fenway Park. But if we, all at once, provide tax credits and other help for emerging industry that takes advantage of Yale, UConn and other great school, provide the transit and housing infrastructure for the workers and then market the state (skiing, beaches, etc.), we will get young people to be here. And when some come, others will follow. It's not magic. Other places do it.

Listener email from Ben

A positive aspect of the area for me is the really nice state parks and other natural areas.  For example, the West Hartford Reservoirs, or Gay City State park.  These should continue to be protected, and more attention needs to be places on them as a draw for young people.

Listener email from Shelby (Partnership for Strong Communities)

You had a caller who zeroed in on exactly what CT needs to focus on, and I wanted to amplify that. The caller described living in Hartford, but missing Boston because it has vibrancy and feet on the street. This could seem on its face that housing (and housing affordability) isn't really the issue. But housing is exactly the solution to downtown rebirth - if mixed-income housing is built or rehabbed, in dense settings, where residential and commercial are mixed, the concentration of residents is a concentrated customer base that can then support the transit, stores, coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, etc, etc, that young professionals want. It's not only the housing, but housing can be the driver.

Great show. Thanks for doing it.