Category: housing

Family Faces Eviction from West End Home, Despite Paying Mortgage on Time

By , November 20, 2014 12:00 pm

Interracial marriage was not permitted in many states during the early 1960′s. In fact, anti-miscegenation laws existed in the majority of the United States through the middle of the last century, allowing for racism to dictate the nature of marital and intimate relationships. The Supreme Court struck down those laws in 1967.

A few years later, the push for same-sex marriage began. Again, hateful legislation defined marriage in a way that includes some, while excluding others. It took a few decades for this movement to take hold, and there has been much backlash along the way, as one can witness through the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and the incessant verbal diarrhea from pundits. In 2010, one state began to fight against the federal government’s restrictive definition of marriage. Many others followed. Same-sex couples can not be legally married in the entirety of the United States yet, but there is no doubt that opinion has shifted toward that happening eventually.

Sometimes the law is wrong. When it is wrong, we are obligated to recognize that and change it. These are, after all, civil laws, not God’s laws.

Hartford

The West End is currently looking at what appears to be an outmoded law:

The purpose of the R-8 district in the city is to provide for and protect single-family residences sited on a lot having a minimum area of twelve thousand (12,000) square feet. The R-8 district provisions encourage the future development of these very low density residential areas for primarily residential purposes by prohibiting conversions, roomers, most institutional uses and all business uses.

On the surface, this might look sensible. Who wants factories or prisons in her backyard? Zoning can be useful in that way.

All of Scarborough Street is zoned for R-8 use (see above). The language is seemingly vague. What does “primarily residential purposes” mean? On this street, in the same zone, a property is owned by the University of Connecticut. In an article the Courant ran on this, there was no mention of neighborhood opposition to what is used as a place for donor events. The Wadsworth Atheneum owns a property on the street. So does Jumoke Academy. Two properties are owned by trustees, another is a land trust. There are two churches operating on Scarborough Street. This leaves 21 other properties, one of which has been on the market for several years.

The issue at hand is 68 Scarborough Street. Continue reading 'Family Faces Eviction from West End Home, Despite Paying Mortgage on Time'»

Beautiful Blight Project Unveils Murals

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By , October 21, 2014 10:48 am

Painting by Olof Aspelin, an artist from Stafford Springs // Photo by Kerri Provost

When the Beautiful Blight Project was conceived its goal had been to install painted plywood over missing windows in a neglected building while tidying up the yard. Team leaders had been working with the City of Hartford to make this happen, but the first choice of a structure on Garden Street was said to have entered the sale process, so that was nixed. Continue reading 'Beautiful Blight Project Unveils Murals'»

Reader Questions About Downtown North Development

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By , October 13, 2014 5:30 pm

As the controversial Downtown North proposal goes to vote on Tuesday, there are still dozens of questions remaining unanswered, not to mention an outstanding FOIA request placed initially to Thomas Deller and Wayne Benjamin, and now to Maribel La Luz. Two camps seem to have emerged on this issue, and it’s not pro-stadium/anti-stadium. It’s those who find it reasonable to ask questions and expect thorough, detailed answers, and those who find critical thinking cringe-worthy.

We have been compiling reader questions since June. Here is what people still want to know about this project. Some reader questions were edited to add clarity:

  • What details exist on the retail space and potential tenants?
  • The City would be contributing land for the the construction of a brewery. Is it acceptable to use public funds to facilitate the production, distribution, and consumption of alcohol?
  • What would the rent be for the housing? Would this fulfill the demand for the type of housing that exists in Hartford?
  • How exactly would a stadium drive development? Give details. How has this occurred in cities that are comparable to Hartford in terms of population and wealth?
  • Why isn’t there a proposal without a stadium?

Salvation Army Shelter Saved…This Season

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By , September 9, 2014 10:40 am

In August it came to light that the budget for the Salvation Army’s Marshall House had been cut. Conversations on restoring that funding appeared to be going nowhere in City Hall, but once the issue was given local media attention, there was a rush to find ways to move money around. What kind of city would Hartford be if it cut the funding for one of the few shelters that serves women and families, and acts as a no-freeze shelter on especially cold days?

The promise to restore funding was made official at Monday’s City Council meeting when the transfer of $100,000 from the Sundry Account to the Department of Health & Human Services was passed.

Random Facts from Open Data: Itch Zones

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By , September 1, 2014 5:01 pm

Bedbugs happen. Just like your son might come home from school once with lice or you might find a mouse in your kitchen or your cat drags fleas into the house, pests are for most, a rare nuisance. From 2011 to present, bedbugs have been reported throughout Hartford, from streets like Kenyon, Fairfield, and Cornwall, to Marshall, Wethersfield, and Farmington. They have been reported in single-family homes, high rises, and churches. But what does it mean when some properties have multiple incidents in one year, or year after year?

Although the information is public, we are not interested in embarrassing property owners who had one unlucky occurrence. Instead, we are going to look at some patterns. These reports are divided into those with two or three violations in one year (these are considered housing code violations) and those with four or more in one year.

In some cases, the repeat offenders involved just one unit of a larger building, but in other cases the problem affected public hallways in buildings with multiple dwelling units. When a property owner with multiple properties had multiple violations, or when there might be public interest in a location that had been affected, we named those owners.

What we found Continue reading 'Random Facts from Open Data: Itch Zones'»

Silence on Saving the Salvation Shelter

By , August 28, 2014 7:28 am

Keeping homeless shelters open is not a new struggle in Hartford, but this time, the some $100,000 that was expected for the Salvation Army Marshall House vanished between the recommended budget and the adopted budget. A mere five-minute walk from what will be the CTfastrak Sigourney Street Station, the Marshall House has provided shelter for single women and families since 1974.

The adopted budget for the “Senior and Community Services Program” is $2.13M, down from the $2.2M in the recommended budget. This is where budgeting for the Marshall House, which serves as a no-freeze shelter for families, can be found in the City document. The 2013-2014 budget was $2.36M and reasons for the decrease in funding have been vague; the spending difference is explained only for the Health and Human Services budget as a whole. Continue reading 'Silence on Saving the Salvation Shelter'»

Progress on Prospect

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By , July 10, 2014 11:19 am

The Front Street Lofts development is starting to take shape. This will provide five stories of apartments, totaling 121 units, and street-level retail space.

A Dozen Hartford Vets to Receive Assistance Fixing Up Properties

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By , June 14, 2014 9:15 am

Later this summer, twelve veterans will receive help from Rebuilding Together Hartford and LSNI to fix up their homes.

According to Steve Frank of Hartford’s Livable and Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative, there are over 1000 veterans who own homes in Hartford. Fifty of those properties were determined to be eligible for assistance. That means owner-occupied, current on taxes, and there being a need for some fixing of the property.

Three properties in each district will get spruced up, with work beginning in August. About $15,000-20,000 will be spent on each home.

Tax Deed Sale

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By , June 13, 2014 1:10 pm

Got $4000 burning a hole in your wallet?

The City of Hartford is holding a Tax Deed Sale on June 28 in the Bulkeley High Auditorium. Registration is from 8-9:45am; sale begins at 10am. You will need that deposit money in form of cash, cashier’s check, bank treasurer’s check, teller’s check, or certified check at the auction. There are other stipulations, but that, and not owing property tax yourself, are the big ones.

The property owners have been given six months notice before properties placed in auction. Winning bidders will not receive title until six months after purchase, as the owner has opportunity for redemption. Here are the properties:

Tax Deed Sale 6/28/14


If this isn’t the right time for you but you just want to see what the auction process looks like, you can still show up to watch the action.

 

Rising Tide: A Community Bill of Rights

By , April 29, 2014 4:35 pm

Photo by Josh Blanchfield

Decades have passed since neighborhood organizations in Hartford made city leaders nervous. At one time, these once legendary community organizations took over city council meetings, worked to bring better housing conditions to city renters, and held sway over local elections. Now Hartford Areas Rally Together (HART), Asylum Hill Organizing Project (AHOP), and ONE/CHANE are long gone or husks of their former self. These once vital groups used classic, Alinsky-style neighborhood organizing to keep City Hall and other Hartford powerbrokers in check. Today we see groups like HART simply cashing checks written by powerbrokers. Community organizing that has been dormant for too long in our city. Now, a new group is rising and working to fill the void.

The John C. Clark School in Hartford’s north end has been the site of many skirmishes in recent months over the direction of school reform in the city. But from these battles a new community organization and coalition of residents and neighborhood leaders has emerged. The group, called Hartford Rising!, has grown into a multi-issue community group that just this past weekend established a Community Bill of Rights to “ensure and protect each and every Hartford citizen’s most basic needs.”

Beginning with a city-wide canvas, Hartford Rising! worked to identify key areas of concern for city residents. With nearly 3,000 doors knocked on, the group was able to Continue reading 'Rising Tide: A Community Bill of Rights'»

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