Hamden, CT - A “crisis level” shortage of affordable housing and the growth of low-wage jobs that will severely impact low-income communities and communities of color are among the findings in the “State of Urban Connecticut,” a comprehensive report released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University and Urban League of Southern Connecticut.
The findings and recommendations in the report, which examines the impact of affordable housing, health disparities, transportation, immigration and re-entry justice on quality of life for people residing in seven cities in Connecticut, will guide and frame policy decisions, and empower people and communities.
The report, a joint-effort between Quinnipiac and ULSC, was authored by 10 Quinnipiac faculty members and four outside experts, who collected data using focus groups and interviews with residents of Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford and Waterbury.
Robert M. Brown III, a visiting assistant professor of sociology at Quinnipiac, who served as the report’s project manager, is available to speak to media between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday. To arrange an interview, call John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations, 203-206-4449 (cell).
Among the report’s findings:
Affordable housing: The shortage of affordable housing has reached crisis levels in urban Connecticut, particularly in communities which are attracting younger, more affluent residents who can afford to pay higher rents. This influx also displaces residents who have low incomes or live paycheck-to-paycheck.
Employment and income: The growth of low-wage jobs (jobs that pay $15 per hour or less), and future trends in employment, which will eliminate more low-wage jobs than high-wage jobs, will have the greatest adverse impact on people in low-income communities and communities of color.
Education: Greater emphasis should be placed on the “opportunity gap” – the disparities in access to quality schools and resources – rather than the achievement gap which focuses on the symptoms of disparity, rather than the source.
Health disparities: Two of the most crucial components that are associated with health disparities include the lack of access to adequate health insurance and limited access to health services.
"The need to find out more about the socioeconomic issues in urban Connecticut and how they affect quality of life was the motivation for the partnership between Quinnipiac and ULSC,” said Robert M. Brown III, a visiting assistant professor of sociology at Quinnipiac, who served as the report’s project manager. “The perception is that Connecticut is very wealthy, but there are also areas of poverty among low-income communities and communities of color.”
According to Valarie Shultz-Wilson, ULSC’s president and CEO, the organization realized it needed to acquire a more comprehensive and research-based understanding of how socioeconomic issues were impacting people’s lives after noticing that many former donors had become clients in the wake of the recession. In addition, many existing clients were increasingly disenfranchised, including people who were not high school graduates, as well as those with advanced degrees, and/or decades of experience in the public and private sectors.
In addition to Brown, the research team from Quinnipiac University includes Mark Thompson, executive vice president and provost and principal investigator for the report; Khalilah Brown-Dean, associate professor of political science; Mark Gius, professor of economics; Ae-Sook Kim, assistant professor of management; Catherine Anitha Manohar, assistant teaching professor of finance; Katherine McLeod, assistant professor of medical sciences; Don Sawyer, associate vice president for academic affairs and chief diversity officer; Diane Stock, associate dean for curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Teresa Twomey, assistant professor of nursing.
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