A house is not a home, but it’ll do. For some people housing has never been an issue and they’ve always had a warm and cozy house to call home. For others, the covers of a bridge or park bench are what they call home. “Connecticut has the largest percentage of wealth disparity in the country” said David Fink, Policy Director at Partnership for Strong Communities in Connecticut. “Rich people drive up the cost of everything.” We have some of the richest people in the country living in Connecticut, yet only ten percent of our cities have affordable housing.
As the temperatures begin to drop in Connecticut, I think about the work that the Partnership for Strong Communities is doing for the unhoused. The only time I’ve ever slept outside was in the summer to go camping in a tent, with a comfortable blow-up mattress and plenty of pillows and blankets. The thought of trying to stay warm outside tonight sends chills down my spine. I’m having a tough enough time inside my 800 square-foot condominium, as I try not to put the heat on to save some money. I’m also thinking about the richest one percent in the state and wondering if they’re waiting to turn on their heat too. Our middle class (me) is pinching pennies, our poor are hungry and unhoused and our rich are driving up the cost of goods and services.
The wealth disparity in the state is making it quite difficult for most people to find affordable housing. Only 10 percent of our cities have housing that is affordable. The amount of money needed to earn enough to afford a 2 bedroom apartment is $23.22 per hour. When 30% of our people are making only $20,183 per year, that’s half of what they need to get an apartment. So tonight, I’m going to put an extra pair of socks on, another blanket and be thankful I’m not outside. I’m also in a place that I don’t call a home, but it’ll do.