State of Urban CT Report 2019

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Š Urban League of Southern Connecticut Text Š 2019 Urban League of Southern Connecticut First Published in the United States of America in 2019 by Urban League of Southern Connecticut 458 Grand Avenue New Haven, CT 06513 Phone: (203) 327-5810

All rights reserved. No part of this report may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Urban League of Southern Connecticut. All images in this book have been reproduced with the knowledge and prior consent of the artists concerned, and no responsibility is accepted by the producer, publisher, or printer for any infringement of copyright, or otherwise, arising from the contents of this publication. Every effort has been made to ensure that credits accurately comply with information supplied. We apologize for any inaccuracies that may have occurred and will resolve inaccurate or missing information in any future reprinting of the book. Digital edition published in 2019.







Executive Summary




by Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, PhD Associate Professor of Political Science, Quinnipiac University Don C. Sawyer III, PhD Associate VP for Academic Affairs & Chief Diversity Officer, Associate Professor of Sociology, Quinnipiac University 1.1




Achievement Versus Opportunity



Demography and Destiny



Redefining Resource Allocation



Punishment and Discipline



Staffing Challenges







Residents and Community Leaders












by Robert M. Brown III, PhD Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, Quinnipiac University 2.1







Unemployment and Underemployment



Growth of Low-Wage Employment



The Encroachment of Poverty



An Uncertain Future of Work









Residents and Community Leaders













by Catherine Anitha Manohar, PhD Assistant Teaching Professor of Finance, Quinnipiac University Mark Gius, PhD Professor of Economics, Quinnipiac University 3.1




Income Inequality in Connecticut: A Historical Perspective





Stories from Urban Connecticut





Residents and Community Leaders












The Case for Equity in Housing by Karen DuBois-Walton, PhD Executive Director, Housing Authority of the City of New Haven (Elm City Communities) 4.1




The Need for Affordable Housing



Access to Affordable Housing



Racial and Economic Housing Segregation



Connection of Housing to Education and Jobs



Housing Need for Special Populations









Residents and Community Leaders













by Ae-Sook Kim, PhD Assistant Professor of Management, Quinnipiac University Katherine M. McLeod, PhD Assistant Professor of Medical Sciences, Quinnipiac University Teresa C. Twomey, EdD, RN Assistant Professor of Nursing and Director of Global Nursing Experiences, Quinnipiac University 5.1




Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities



Focus Group Outcomes: Two Major Issues



Lack of Access to Adequate Health Insurance



Limited Access to Health Services








Residents and Community Leaders











by Michael J. Critelli, Esq. Past National Urban League Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chairman and CEO of Pitney Bowes (Retired)






Gaining Access



Positive Developments












by Kica Matos, Esq. Director, Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice, Community Change Power from the Ground Up 7.1




Connecticut’s Immigrants












The Way Forward







State Government

7.7.2 7.8










The State of Second Chance Citizens by Stacy R. Spell Retired Homicide Detective, New Haven Police Department, Program Manager for Project Longevity (New Haven) 8.1




Employment Barriers



Medical and Mental Health Barriers



Prison Reform








APPENDIXES A Approach to Data Analysis


B Demographics


CONTRIBUTOR BIOS Quinnipiac University Faculty Bios


External Subject Matter Experts Bios



Changes in Connecticut’s unemployment rate from 2015 to 2016



Changes in Connecticut’s underemployment rate from 2015 to 2016



Changes in Connecticut’s median hourly wage from 2015 to 2016



Percentage of ALICE households and poverty in Connecticut, 2016



Ratio of top 1 percent annual income to bottom 99 percent income, and income threshold of top 1 percent, 2015



Population, median income, and poverty rate for the largest cities in Connecticut



Average real income growth from 2009 to 2015



Areas of opportunity in the Greater New Haven Region



Sociodemographic characteristics of focus group participants



Education, employment status, and income of focus group participants



Health insurance status of focus group participants



Housing status of focus group participants



Percentage of students suspended between 2011-12 and 2016-17 school years by race/ethnicity



Percentage of students expelled by race and sex in school year 2016-17. Cited in “The Black-White Education Gap in Connecticut,” by Camara Stokes Hudson



Racial/ethnic composition of teachers and students in Connecticut schools



Share (%) of income captured by the top 1 percent from 1917 to 2015



High-wage industries shrink, low-wage industries grow – 2007 to 2015



Two major issues identified by focus groups



Health coverage of nonelderly adults and children by race/ethnicity, 2016



Focus group participants: Insurance type (N=70)



Proportion of nonelderly adults who did not receive care or delayed needed care in the past year by race/ethnicity, 2016



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FOREWORD “I went to a couple of schools in Westport that I wanted to give my children, because I wanted to move them out to a good school system…. The things that they are taught are totally different than what our children are taught…. (T)hey do so much different stuff, it’s just amazing. How they teach the science, how they teach the math, how the solar system is. They go into creativity to draw it out for the students to grasp that knowledge. Our teachers here: sit, read book here, recess, play, mealtime, and go home.” – Low-Income Focus Group Participant I begin with this statement by a keenly observant, low-income parent for two reasons. First, it illustrates the uniqueness of the State of Urban Connecticut (SOUC), published by Urban League of Southern Connecticut. In its searing report, the League combines statistics about myriad conditions in the state’s major cities, with insightful comments by some 70 focus group participants who live these data in their daily lives. Their stories lend authenticity and urgency to what might otherwise be viewed as a litany of abstract statistics. The second reason I opened with this comment is its timelessness. A thoughtful, low-income parent could have said the very same thing a decade or three decades ago about the yawning gap in the quality of inner city vs. Westport schools. SOUC resonates deeply with me because 50 years ago I served as executive director of the Black Coalition of New Haven. Formed in the aftermath of the 1967 riots, the Black Coalition fought to improve the city’s schools for our children, solidify police-community relations, stem the disappearance of decent-paying jobs for inner-city residents, rejuvenate the neighborhoods devastated by the riots, and heal frayed race relations. Since the inception of the National Urban League in 1910, research has been a staple of our movement’s method of operation. In 1976, Vernon Jordan, my predecessor twice-removed as CEO of the National Urban League,

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took our research and policy analysis to a new altitude by launching the first State of Black America (SOBA) report. It documented the destructive setbacks suffered by Blacks in such areas as family income, joblessness, housing, health, education, crime, and social welfare. SOBA has been a centerpiece of National Urban League strategy ever since, with many affiliates issuing their own research-based assessments of the communities they serve. With the publication of the 2019 SOUC, Urban League, under the leadership of President and CEO Valarie Shultz-Wilson, continues the proud Urban League tradition of marshalling evidence to bring inconvenient truths to light, fuel our advocacy, and thereby speak well-informed truth to power. The disparities addressed in the inaugural edition of SOBA bear a haunting resemblance to those examined in SOUC. Nearly two generations later, the inequities have evolved but have not evaporated. The SOUC report focuses on such traditional issues as education, employment, income inequality, housing, and health. It also addresses the perils faced by immigrants and the travails of ex-offenders re-entering society. The report focuses quite appropriately on conditions in Connecticut’s seven largest cities, where life for minority and lowincome residents remains a grueling and insecure day-to-day struggle. The report contains more telling points than will fit into a foreword. Let me share several memorable takeaways, starting with the stubborn persistence of many disparities over the decades. Public schools in Connecticut’s cities remain excessively segregated by race. This is despite decades of litigation, innovation, legislation, and lawsuits over school funding inequities. Brown-Dean and Sawyer, co-authors of the education section, argue persuasively that the obsession in education reform with the “achievement gap” is misguided because it focuses on the symptoms of disparity, not the source. The key is to concentrate on the “opportunity gap,” namely the disparities in access to quality schools and resources, both financial and human. This is precisely why that opening comment by the low-income parent about the Westport school rings so true. To its credit, SOUC isn’t mired in total negativity. It notes the welcome progress made on several fronts. As Brown mentions in the section on employment, some segments of the Connecticut labor force, such as Latinos, 25-to-54year-olds, and workers with some high school education or diplomas, have enjoyed declines in unemployment. Another welcome development, cited by Kim, McLeod, and Twomey in the section on health disparities, is the significant reduction, thanks to Medicaid expansion, in the number of residents in Connecticut’s four largest cities, who lack health insurance. Arguably the most alarming trend reported in SOUC is the reality that the wages


and job security of low-income workers in Connecticut’s major cities have actually regressed, the stable economic recovery and growth notwithstanding. As Brown writes, income inequality escalated between 2009 and 2015. Fiftythree percent of workers in Hartford earn less than $15 per hour. As recently as 2011, workers of color were 24.1 percent of the overall workforce, but 36.8 percent of the jobs they held were low wage. Merely 5 years later, this population grew to 29.8 percent of the overall workforce, but 50.9 percent of the jobs they held were now low wage. By one commonly accepted measure known as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), Manohar and Gius write in the section on income inequality, that a family of four in Connecticut needs $77,832 annually to meet their basic necessities. A job paying $15 per hour is patently inadequate. Yet 44 percent of the private sector job growth in Connecticut has happened in industries paying low wages that do not meet the ALICE threshold. And, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 31 percent of all Connecticut workers and 41 percent of Black workers earn less than $15 per hour. Persistent disparities are dispiriting enough. The deterioration in the economic status of low-wage workers is shocking and downright shameful. To its credit, SOUC does not leave the story there. Again, in the tradition of SOBA, the report proposes detailed and doable actions that residents and community leaders, stakeholders and policymakers can pursue to redress and reverse the stubborn disparities in the state. A New York Times editorial wrote of the first SOBA in 1976: “In addition to the moral failures this report underscores…it dramatizes unwholesome and even frightening social policy trends. Such severe distress in any single segment of society is bound to have large consequences throughout all of American life…. In the end…the conditions described by the Urban League constitute a substantial challenge to the country’s political leadership, not simply to redeem a central aspect of American idealism, but to reverse a dangerous disintegration in the social fabric of the entire nation.” “True that!” I say, and with equal conviction and urgency today, thanks to Urban League of Southern Connecticut’s clear-eyed assessment of the State of Urban Connecticut. by Hugh B. Price President and CEO National Urban League, 1994-2003

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INTRODUCTION Urban League of Southern Connecticut (ULSC) has empowered individuals, families, and communities in Connecticut since 1969 to improve their economic situations and build brighter futures. The League has historically focused on the needs of the Black community, but today we serve a diverse population of adults and youth without regard to race or ethnicity. This includes people who have arrived in our community from around the world. Each year, ULSC serves over 2,500 people who participate in our programs, take advantage of our services, and build new friendships with fellow Urban Leaguers and our dedicated staff members. And now, 50 years later, and more than a decade after the beginning of the Great Recession, economic destabilization and wealth inequality continue to worsen for too many Americans, including those who live in Connecticut. This social problem has been particularly devastating in communities of color. The confluence of these factors and the impact, especially on everyday citizens, has created a national security threat to America’s democracy because its middle class is being eviscerated. Without a robust middle class, the capacity of this nation to endure and thrive in the 21st century and compete in a far more interdependent and technologically advanced world would be significantly compromised. This includes the creation of pathways to access and retain jobs that pay living wages for more Americans on the economic margins of society, including those who live in Connecticut. Here at ULSC, we noticed several years ago that more of our donors were becoming our clients. It is a chilling thing to see, but evidence of an economic shift that has ensnared a far more diverse segment of the population into the throes of economic destabilization, has become clear. While Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states in the nation, many of our clients have become more disenfranchised—from those who have not completed high school to those with advanced degrees and/or decades of experience in the public and private sectors. What is also clear is the need to acquire a more comprehensive and research-based understanding about the socioeconomic issues that our clients face and the impact of these issues on the quality of people’s lives. It is this

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motivation that helped to forge a partnership and launch the research project that would produce State of Urban Connecticut (SOUC). When I approached Dr. John L. Lahey, former president of Quinnipiac University, to discuss the project and to ask if he would be willing to have the university partner with us in this research endeavor, he enthusiastically agreed to offer partnership, and we give our thanks to him and Quinnipiac University for doing so and, in part, providing funding for this effort. In SOUC, we originally intended to address five areas: education, employment, income, affordable housing, and health disparities. However, during the course of the data collection, three issues emerged among the focus group participants that we felt required examination—transportation, immigration, and re-entry. We are thankful for the fact that the people in the communities that we serve were willing to participate in the focus groups and be candid about the issues explored and how they affect their lives. Their feedback humanizes the report in a way that enhances its impact as a document to frame conversations about policy in the state. It is my hope that each person who reads this report will be informed and educated about the issues that are explored or that existing knowledge of the issues will be enhanced. I also hope that SOUC will serve as a catalyst to motivate more people to join ULSC in helping to ensure that the great state of Connecticut becomes a more perfect union for all of its residents by continuing to empower and positively change the lives of the people that we serve. Sincerely,

Valarie Shultz-Wilson President & CEO Urban League of Southern Connecticut


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The State of Urban Connecticut report is the result of countless hours of research, writing, and editing by a team of faculty scholars and other professionals. Its goal is to shed light on the current conditions in Connecticut’s urban cities in areas such as housing, transportation, education, and health. As one of the wealthiest states in the nation, Connecticut has a lot to offer residents; yet, not all residents receive equal treatment. As the report demonstrates, certain populations still face a number of challenges in obtaining equal pay, equal access to housing and health care, and other basic necessities. Contributing factors, relevant statistics, and recommendations are included in the report. Published by Urban League of Southern Connecticut, this is the most up-to-date and comprehensive report available on the state of urban areas in Connecticut. Quinnipiac University is proud to be a part of this effort. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, an associate professor at Quinnipiac, and Don C. Sawyer III, vice president for academic affairs and chief diversity officer at Quinnipiac, address education in the report and delve into the hard issues of segregation and discrimination associated with one of our most basic civil rights. Robert M. Brown III, a medical sociologist and visiting professor at Quinnipiac, discusses employment in our state. He notes that, while unemployment is at an all-time low, this fact, when viewed alone, does not provide an accurate reflection of the current workforce. Underemployment is a far more serious concern. Likewise, income inequality is a serious issue plaguing residents of urban areas throughout the state. Catherine Manohar and Mark Gius, both professors at Quinnipiac, outline the issues and factors that have led to Connecticut’s high levels of poverty.

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Equity in housing is covered by Karen DuBois-Walton, executive director and president of the Elm City Communities/New Haven Housing Authority. She points out that Connecticut’s renters face one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation, with people of color disproportionately affected by the resulting instability. Connecticut still has a long way to go in terms of eliminating health disparities for its residents. According to Quinnipiac faculty members Ae-Sook Kim, Katherine McLeod, and Teresa Twomey, one of the biggest challenges is access to adequate health coverage. Michael Critelli, a past National Urban League chairman of the board of trustees, and retired chairman and CEO of Pitney Bowes, points out the challenges inherent in Connecticut’s public transportation system, particularly for low-income residents. Kica Matos, director of immigrant rights and racial justice at the Center for Community Change, outlines the challenges faced by immigrants—who comprise an estimated 15 percent of Connecticut’s residents—with regard to education, employment, housing, access to public services, and government protection. Finally, Stacy R. Spell, project manager for Project Longevity in New Haven and a retired homicide detective, addresses the subject of re-entry justice, which impacts one of our most vulnerable populations: those who were formerly incarcerated and are now trying to re-enter society. Armed with the latest research, statistical data, and information from focus group participants, the authors paint a vibrant but not altogether pretty picture of the conditions existing in our state. While some areas still lag behind, others have made positive steps forward. Despite the progress that has been made in recent years, the SOUC report reveals that there is still much work to be done. Each of the sections presents recommendations for stakeholders and policymakers to move toward equality for all of Connecticut’s residents. The importance of this effort cannot be understated, as it has the potential for a profound effect on everyone living and working in Connecticut. Mark A. Thompson, PhD Executive Vice President/Provost Quinnipiac University Principal Investigator State of Urban Connecticut


State of Urban Connecticut


National percentage of students retained in 9th grade, School Year 2011-12



Percentage of students suspended between 2011-12 and 2016-17 school years by race/ethnicity



Percentage of students expelled by race and sex in School Year 2016-17 cited in “The Black-White Education Gap in Connecticut,” by Camara Stokes Hudson



Racial/ethnic composition of teachers and students in Connecticut schools



Share (%) of income captured by the top 1 percent from 1917 to 2015



High-wage industries shrink, low-wage industries grow – 2007 to 2015



Two major issues identified by focus groups



Health coverage of nonelderly adults and children by race/ethnicity, 2016



Focus group participants: Insurance type (N=70)



Proportion of nonelderly adults who did not receive care or delayed care in the past year by race/ethnicity, 2016



EDUCATION by Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, PhD Associate Professor of Political Science, Quinnipiac University Don C. Sawyer III, PhD Associate VP for Academic Affairs & Chief Diversity Officer, Associate Professor of Sociology, Quinnipiac University

“We deal here with the right of all of our children, whatever their race, to an equal start in life and to an equal opportunity to reach their full potential as citizens. Those children who have been denied that right in the past deserve better than to see fences thrown up to deny them that right in the future. Our Nation, I fear, will be ill served by the Court’s refusal to remedy separate and unequal education, for unless our children begin to learn together, there is little hope that our people will ever learn to live together.” – Justice Thurgood Marshall (1974)1


Justice Thurgood Marshall (1974), Dissenting Opinion in Milliken v. Bradley.

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1.1 Introduction In 1954, Thurgood Marshall stood before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that separate education was inherently unequal. The Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education provided for the desegregation of America’s public schools with all deliberate speed.2 The case addressed decades of state-level efforts to determine which students were entitled to an education. In spite of its promise, the mandates of Brown didn’t erase all institutional barriers to learning and success. Nor did it go far enough to dismantle broader challenges that shape access to and the quality of education. Twenty years after arguing before the Court in Brown, Marshall once again addressed the impact of education inequality via Milliken v. Bradley (1974). The myopic focus on racial integration neglected other dimensions such as residential segregation, resource allocation, instructional content, and staffing profile.3 Together, these dimensions help define the state of education in urban Connecticut and beyond.


The U.S. Supreme Court issued its initial ruling in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education in 1954 to strike down racially segregated schools. A number of districts across the country refused to comply with the mandate by shutting down or adopting an extended timeline that rendered the decision ineffective. In a subsequent ruling, known as Brown II, the Court commanded that integration of public schools proceed with “all deliberate speed.” For a detailed discussion of the two cases, see Jim Chen, “With All Deliberate Speed: Brown II and Desegregation’s Children” (2006). Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice.


We concede that race and ethnicity should not be viewed as interchangeable with urbanicity. However, in Connecticut, like many other states, longstanding patterns of racial segregation have concentrated communities of color in urban areas like Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury, Hartford, and New London. These patterns of racial segregation result from a complex blend of factors such as redlining, public safety, and desirability. We also caution readers not to conflate the identities of race, ethnicity, urbanicity, and class status. Here again we point to data that show a significant wealth gap in the state, which determines where people can afford to live and the universe of educational options available to families. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Connecticut has the third highest rate of income inequality in the nation.


More than 60 years after the landmark Brown decision, public schools in the United States remain excessively segregated by race, ethnicity, language, and social class. According to data from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, public school students have a high likelihood of attending racially and economically isolated schools despite a number of state and federal efforts to reduce these disparities.4 Gary Orfield and Chungmei Lee found that the average White students attend schools where 77 percent of their peers are also White.5 For American Indian students, 35 percent of their peers are Indian compared to 23 percent for Asian students, 55 percent for Latino students, and 52 percent for Black students.6 These patterns are even more pronounced when we add the layers of urbanicity and class. Across the board, urban schools experience higher rates of student disciplinary infractions while offering fewer advanced courses in math and science.7 In addition, families of color often face the impossible task of choosing schools where their children feel welcomed and represented versus better-resourced schools where they feel isolated.8 In the following subsections, we detail the consequences of these national trends for the state of education in Connecticut’s urban communities. Despite decades of legal challenges, policy proposals, and administrative interventions, education remains a key concern. We begin with two important perspectives. First, we start from the premise that access to public education is a civil right that reflects the overall civic, economic, and social well-being of a state. Second, we depart from traditional studies that exclusively focus on the achievement gap based on outcome measures (e.g., graduation rates, standardized test scores, etc.) and instead focus on the opportunity gap that reflects the quality of educational experiences available to students in urban districts. Given the tremendous growth in the state’s demographic diversity coupled with widening economic disparities, there are grave concerns with the status of urban education in Connecticut. After outlining the key dimensions of the opportunity gap and its prevalence in Connecticut, we draw upon a mix of qualitative and quantitative data to offer a series of recommendations for improving educational opportunities and outcomes for urban areas. 4

U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2016). “K-12 Education: Better Use of Information Could Help Agencies Identify Disparities and Address Racial Discrimination.” Washington, D.C.


G. Orfield & C. Lee (2007). “Historic Reversals, Accelerating Resegregation, and the Need for New Integration Strategies.” Los Angeles: UCLA Civil Rights Project.


We recognize the power of names and labels to convey notions of history, worth, and agency. There is an important scholarly and public debate about whether the term Hispanic privileges groups who trace their ancestry to Spain and in turn, masks the internal diversity of these communities. See D. Gonzalez, “What’s the Problem with ‘Hispanic’? Just Ask a ‘Latino,’” 1992. Also J. Flores and G. Yudice, “Living Borders/Buscondo America: Languages of Latino Self-Formation.” 1990; and L. Alcoff, Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self. 2005. The term Latino is often preferable to those who want to acknowledge the non-European aspects of ancestry and historical experiences. For the Connecticut communities referenced in this report, the term Latino references residents of the United States who trace their ancestry to Spanishspeaking regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. See L.G. Bedolla, “The Identity Paradox: Latino Language, Politics, and Selection Dissociation,” 2003. Of note, instances where Hispanic appears in this report is to maintain the integrity of work derived or quoted from another source.


See the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s 2016 report, “K-12 Education: Better Use of Information Could Help Agencies Identify Disparities and Address Racial Discrimination.” Washington, D.C.


N. Hannah-Jones (2016). “Choosing a School for my Daughter in a Segregated City: How One School Became a Battleground Over Which Children Benefit from a Separate and Unequal System.” The New York Times Magazine.

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1.2 Achievement Versus Opportunity “The opportunity gap is the greatest crisis facing America’s schools. The opportunity gap is the disparity in access to quality schools and the resources needed for all children to be academically successful.” – Schott Foundation Opportunity Gap Report 9 Closing the “achievement gap” is touted as a major focus of public school reform efforts. Scholarly articles, news reports, and political speeches use this term to signal public school improvements as a worthy mission. However, addressing the “achievement gap” as detached from structural factors centers the focus solely on students and parents. This narrow approach places the blame on individual characteristics instead of structural factors: I’ve also heard a lot of excuses for why there is this outcome disparity that is personally troubling. I’m not from here. I came here four years ago to do this work and was surprised at how everybody was blaming everybody. The belief [is] that the issue with education in New Haven was a parent issue and a kid issue, not an institutional issue. People don’t talk about the role that schools play in terms of outcomes for kids. It’s always blamed on poverty. It’s always blamed on poor parenting. It’s always blamed on kids [that] can’t behave et cetera et cetera. Until we fix that, until the professionals take ownership of the role that we play in preparing kids for the future, you’re going to have that stagnation across the city in terms of outcomes. – Urban Professionals Focus Group Participant Opportunity gaps are unequal learning chances that result from broader socioeconomic processes such as racism, nativism, classism, and general dimensions of inequality. These processes shape students’ expectations while also limiting their chances to overcome their marginalized status. Achievement gaps are the result of the lack of access to equal opportunities for learning and personal development: I find there’s a correlation between expectation and outcome that begins to be established at much lower grades. And to me this is per se racist....Part of what gets me to this conclusion is that some of the remedial education programs seem to be character-based. So there’s another correlation that’s not just expectation with outcome, but outcomes are correlated to deficiency and character. So, because character is deficient, educational outcome is therefore a function of



not having the right character components. It totally obfuscates the fact that they’ve been deprived of the educational opportunity of a l ot of words. – Low-Income Focus Group Participant They blame the student. The poor performance of the students in regards to their outcomes are laid at the feet of the communities, their poverty, their character deficits as opposed to looking at the actual decisions and saying, ‘Are we being responsive to the communities? Are we being responsive to their assets? Do we recognize their assets, and can we go from there?’ We use it as an excuse and a crutch to not do the right thing. – Low-Income Focus Group Participant Achievement gaps are symptoms and not the cause of the problem. Focusing solely on achievement measures only output, but looking at gaps in opportunity places the focus on input and the systems that restrict access to opportunity for marginalized populations. Reducing disparities in educational outcomes cannot be done without addressing the structures, policies, and practices that lead to an uneven playing field. Limiting access to a high-quality education and other extracurricular, learning opportunity privileges has lifelong consequences that affect not just individual students, but neighborhoods and communities as a whole. For example, one’s place of residence dictates school options that, in turn, determines access to educational opportunities. Access to these educational opportunities structures college preparedness and career readiness that constrain earning potential and employability. This overlapping cycle has generational effects, as earning potential today shapes housing choices and residential segregation in the future.

1.3 Demography and Destiny Connecticut’s demographic profile reveals the tale of two states: One increasingly White and wealthy and the other with exponential growth in communities of color alongside growing economic disparities. For example, with nearly 130,000 residents, New Haven is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the state. One in three residents identify with a race or ethnicity other than “White,” while 75 percent of the area’s population growth is attributed to increased immigration from Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. According to a report issued by DataHaven, 32 percent of the city’s residents identify as White compared to 33 percent Black, 27 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian, and 4 percent mixed race. New Haven, then, is a “majority-minority city” where

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people of color comprise the largest percentage of city residents.10 This shifting diversity translates into educational challenges and opportunities. Of the 21,500 students in the New Haven Public Schools (NHPS), about 16 percent are classified as English Language Learners (ELL) with a growing concentration in neighborhood schools. Across the district, 14 percent of students identify as White compared to 42 percent Black, 41 percent Latino, and 2 percent Asian, and there are a growing number of families who speak a language other than English in the home. This diversity creates a greater need for bilingual teachers who can help districts comply with federal mandates to provide equal educational opportunities to all students regardless of ethnicity and language proficiency. Across the state of Connecticut, urban districts also report higher numbers of undocumented students who require more assistance in navigating the complexities of federalism and educational access. Connecticut is one of 18 states across the country that allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition so long as they meet certain requirements. Because immigrant communities are more heavily concentrated in urban areas across the state, these demographic trends hold important consequences for educational access and outcomes. The NHPS district, like many other districts across the country, does not collect comparable, accurate data on enrollment patterns for American Indian and Pacific Islander students across multiple decades. A number of advocacy organizations have filed suit given the presence of multiple tribes within the state and the need to fully assess the challenges facing students across a range of identity markers. In a 1996 case (Sheff v. O’Neill), the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that local schools were heavily segregated by race and class and ordered state officials to take immediate steps to remedy this segregation. At the time of this writing, however, a number of school districts were embroiled in legal battles over the continued hypersegregation of public schools based on race, class, and geography.

1.4 Redefining Resource Allocation Connecticut, like many states, allocates public school funding based on local property taxes. Urban areas in the state tend to have lower property values than rural and suburban towns, as well as a higher percentage of tax-exempt properties (e.g., colleges, universities, nonprofits, and hospitals) and rental units. As a result, urban areas with higher tax rates still lag behind their suburban counterparts in generating enough revenue to funnel into their school systems. The increased concentration of high-cost citizens who need access to public schools, coupled with the decreased potential to generate sustainable revenue,


M. Abraham (2016). “Greater New Haven Community Index: Understanding Well-Being, Economic Opportunity, and Change in Greater New Haven Neighborhoods.� New Haven: DataHaven.


further balloons the opportunity gap for urban students. It is important to note, however, that although Connecticut spends more per pupil than many other states, the funds are disproportionately allocated across urban and suburban districts: I went to a couple of schools in Westport that I wanted to give my children, because I wanted to move them out to a good school system. I went to a walkthrough interview with my two little children out in a cabin and their school is totally different. They have laptops [for] each student, they have books that they work off of, the things that they are taught are totally different than what our children are taught. They are taught a little bit more advanced and they are the same grade with our children, but they do so much different stuff, it’s just amazing. How they teach the science, how they teach the math, how the solar systems is. They go into creativity to draw it out for the students to grasp that knowledge. Our teachers here: sit, read book here, recess, play, mealtime, and go home. – Low-Income Focus Group Participant

1.5 Punishment and Discipline Research reveals that students of color receive harsher punishments than their peers, often for the same offenses (see Figures 1.1 and 1.2).11 These unequal disciplinary practices structure experiences that prime these students for entry into the prison system, also referred to as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”12 Structural racism, the criminalization of youth of color, race and class privilege, and zero-tolerance policies in school settings contribute to the increasing number of students being directed to prison. Over the past decade, there has been a rise in the use of zero-tolerance policies in public schools. Derived from the 1994 Gun-Free Schools Act, these policies were originally crafted to deal with more serious violations. Over time, however, they have been used to control student resistance and minor behavioral issues.13 The need for federal funding forced many schools to adopt these punitive policies that disproportionately harm students in urban districts. Most notably, urban districts tend to have higher rates of suspensions, expulsions, and criminal referrals than districts in rural and suburban areas.


C. R. Monroe. (2005). “Understanding the Discipline Gap through a Cultural Lens: Implications for the Education of African-American Students.” Intercultural Education.


E. R. Meiners and M.T. Winn. (2010). “Resisting the School to Prison Pipeline: The Practice to Build Abolition Democracies.” Race, Ethnicity, and Education. L. Simmons. (2009). “End of the Line: Tracing Racial Inequality from School to Prison.” Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts.


E. R. Meiners (2011). “Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline/Building Abolition Futures.” The Urban Review.

1-8 | State of Urban Connecticut

Figure 1-1: Percentage of students suspended between 2011-12 and 2016-17 school years by race/ethnicity.



Source: Connecticut Department of Education, EdSight, Suspensions Trends 2011-2017.




2016-17 Latino




Figure 1-2: Percentage of students expelled by race and sex in school year 2016-17. Cited in “The Black-White Education Gap in Connecticut,” by Camara Stokes Hudson (2018).14 Source: Connecticut Department of Education, Understanding Explusions in Connecticut, Presentation to the State Board of Educataion, 2017.

In Connecticut, the rates at which Black students are suspended and expelled exceed the proportion of Black students enrolled in the public school system. For example, Black students made up only 13 percent of the total student population, but 34 percent of Black girls and 26 percent of Black boys were expelled in the 2016-17 school year. – Camara Stokes Hudson

These disparities in school disciplinary practice are not only concentrated in public schools. Similar practices exist in charter schools. For instance, a 2016 Civil Rights Project Report focused on disciplinary data from 5,250 of our nation’s charter schools.15 The report highlighted:


C. Stokes Hudson (2018). “The Black-White Education Gap in Connecticut: Indicators of Inequality in Access and Outcomes.” Connecticut Voices for Children.


E. DeRuy (2016). “Unequal discipline at charter schools.” Retrieved from


• •

There were 374 charter schools that suspended 25 percent of their enrolled student body at least once. Nearly half of all Black secondary charter school students attended one of the 270 charter schools that was hypersegregated (80% Black) and where the aggregate Black suspension rate was 25 percent. More than 500 charter schools suspended Black charter students at a rate that was at least 10 percentage points higher than the rate for White charter students.

Critics of charter schools argue that these schools have uneven rates of oversight, performance, and punishment. Some charter school management organizations draw on the vulnerability of marginalized families trying to find comparable educational options for their children. In addition to the rise in suspensions and expulsions for youth of color, with the increased presence of police in schools, many behavioral violations have been criminalized. Instead of being handled by school administrators, they are now handled by police officers and the judicial system. The model used in urban schools with police officers was based on problem-oriented community policing that has extended the criminal justice system into school buildings by creating partnerships with law enforcement agencies.16 By 1999, more than half of our nation’s public middle and high schools reported having officers. By 2018, the number increased to approximately 68 percent.17 Suburban schools, where many violent incidents have occurred, tend to avoid the heavy reliance on surveillance levied against urban schools. The increased presence of police officers and metal detectors in urban schools tends to reinforce racial, sex, and socioeconomic disparities in educational outcomes, school suspensions, and arrests.18 These policies impact schools across the nation, and Connecticut is not exempt. Students of color lead in suspensions and expulsions, which in turn leads to lower rates of high school completion.

1.6 Staffing Challenges Various studies document the tremendous value in exposing students to faculty and staff who share their descriptive traits. This modeling effect has an impact on a range of factors including self-esteem, social and emotional learning, educational performance, parental engagement, and the reduction in punitive disruptions.19 A number of participants in the focus groups cited the lack of 16

A. Kupchik and N. L. Bracy (2010). “To Protect, Serve, and Mentor? Police Officers in Public Schools.” Schools Under Surveillance: Cultures of Control in Public Education.


C. A. Lindsay, V. Lee and T. Lloyd (2018). “The Prevalence of Police Officers in US Schools.” Retrieved from


P. Hirschfield (2010). “School Surveillance in America: Disparate and Unequal.” In T. Monahan, & R. D. Torres (Eds.) Schools Under Surveillance: Cultures of Control in Public Education.


L. Lewis-McCoy (2014). Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling, Palo Alto: Stanford University Press; C. Okpala, F. Smith, E. Jones, and R. Ellis (2000). “A Clear Link Between School and Teacher Characteristics, Student Demographics, and Student Achievement,” Education; J. Griffith (2010). “Relation of Parental Involvement, Empowerment, and School Traits to Student Academic Performance,” The Journal of Educational Research.

1-10 | State of Urban Connecticut

diversity among Connecticut teachers and administrators as a significant challenge (see Figure 1-3): So, the teachers are coming out and are not prepared for the issues that students [face]. You’re not just teaching students on how to add, you’re gonna actually have to deal with the fact that ‘Hey, Johnny didn’t eat. Johnny’s father got incarcerated.’ So, they’re not prepared, and the parents themselves are dealing with a lot more issues than just ‘okay, let me help you figure out this new math.’ – Working Families with Children Focus Group Participant They will come here, they will get their experience on the backs of our kids, and then they will leave and go somewhere that’s going to pay them more money. I just think like that’s one of the things that we also have to deal with. When our students are supposed to be learning, people are learning how to do the thing they’re [sic] supposed to be teaching. – Millennials Focus Group Participant This sense of frustration and resentment that teachers are not adequately prepared to address the challenges facing urban students in a constructive way was present throughout a number of comments related to excessive punishment, ineffective guidance practices, and the failure to adequately prepare students for life beyond the K-12 experience.

students Figure 1-3: Racial/ ethnic composition of teachers and students in Connecticut Schools. Source: Connecticut Department of Education, EdSight and Educator Demographics SY 2015-16. Cited in “The Black-White Education Gap in Connecticut,” by Camara Stokes Hudson (2018).

black/ African American

teachers 2+ races

black/ African American

white hispanic/Latino





1.7 Recommendations

1.7.1 Residents and Community Leaders Residents and community leaders can play an important role in improving educational outcomes for students in urban districts. Their voices and experiences must be centered in any discussion of education reform. Specific recommendations are as follows: •

Attend School Board meetings to voice concerns about the functioning of the district; and

Connect with other families and organizations to schedule regular meetings with the administrative leadership in zoned schools.

1.7.2 Stakeholders Stakeholders in education include students, parents, teachers, administrators, employers, etc. Involving stakeholders in decisions related to urban schooling is imperative to improving educational attainment levels and reducing opportunity gaps. Specific recommendations are as follows: •

Recruit highly qualified teachers;

Examine the use of zero-tolerance policies in schools; and

Recruit and retain racially diverse teachers and guidance counselors who are culturally competent.

1-12 | State of Urban Connecticut

1.7.3 Policymakers Policymakers in education have the power to shape the educational experiences and outcomes of students across the state. It is crucial that policymakers are guided by the needs of community members and stakeholders. Specific recommendations are as follows: •

Require implicit bias training for all employees of school districts;

Examine the use of zero-tolerance policies in schools;

Examine the allocation of state funds for K-12 schools to identify equitable methods to fund schools;

Implement state policy that requires teachers to commit to a 5-year contract and offer retention bonuses or salary increases at the end of the contract for outstanding performance;

Implement strict controls to monitor and sanction charter schools with disparate suspensions and expulsions; and

Partner with local colleges and universities to create incentives for local students to pursue higher education in state and bring that intellectual capacity back to their home communities.

REFERENCES Abraham, M. (2016). Greater New Haven community index: Understanding well-being, economic opportunity, and change in greater New Haven neighborhoods. New Haven: DataHaven. Alcoff, L. (2005). Visible identities: Race, gender, and the self. Oxford University Press. Bedolla, L. G. (2003). The identity paradox: Latino language, politics and selective dissociation. Latino Studies, 1(2):264-283. Chen, J. (2006). With all deliberate speed: Brown II and desegregation’s children. Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice, 24(1). DeRuy, E. (2016). Unequal discipline at charter schools. Retrieved from Flores, J. & Yudice, G. (1990). Living borders/Buscando America: Languages of Latino self-formation. Social Text, 24:57-84. Gonzalez, D. (1992, November 15). What’s the problem with Hispanic? Just ask a Latino. Los Angeles Times, p. E. 6. Griffith, J. (2010). Relation of parental involvement, empowerment, and school traits to student academic performance. The Journal of Educational Research, 90(1). Hannah-Jones, N. (2016, June 9). Choosing a school for my daughter in a segregated city: How one school became a battleground over which children benefit from a separate and unequal system. The New York Times Magazine. Hirschfield, P. (2010). School surveillance in America: Disparate and unequal. In T. Monahan, & R.D. Torres (Eds.), Schools Under Surveillance: Cultures of Control in Public Education, pp. 38-54. Kupchik, A., & Bracy, N. L. (2010). To protect, serve, and mentor? Police officers in public schools. In T. Monahan, & R.D. Torres (Eds.), Schools Under Surveillance: Cultures of Control in Public Education pp. 21-37.


Lewis-McCoy, L. (2014). Inequality in the promised land: Race, resources, and suburban schooling. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. Lindsay, C. A., Lee, V., & Lloyd, T. (2018). The prevalence of police officers in US schools. Retrieved from Meiners, E. R. (2011). Ending the school-to-prison pipeline/building abolition futures. The Urban Review, 1-19. Meiners, E. R., & Winn, M. T. (2010). Resisting the school to prison pipeline: The practice to build abolition democracies. Race Ethnicity and Education, 13(3), 271-276. Monroe, C. R. (2005). Understanding the discipline gap through a cultural lens: Implications for the education of African-American students. Intercultural Education, 16(4), 317-330. Okpala, C., Smith, F., Jones, E., & Ellis, R. (2000). A clear link between school and teacher characteristics, student demographics, and student achievement. Education, 120(3). Orfield, G. & Lee, C. (2007). Historic reversals, accelerating resegregation, and the need for new integration strategies. Los Angeles: UCLA Civil Rights Project. Simmons, L. (2009). End of the line: Tracing racial inequality from school to prison. Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, 215-241. Stokes Hudson, C. (2018 January). The black-white education gap in Connecticut: Indicators of inequality in access and outcomes. Connecticut Voices for Children. U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2016). K-12 education: Better use of information could help agencies identify disparities and address racial discrimination. Washington, D.C. U.S. Supreme Court. Milliken v Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974). Available online at

2 | State of Urban Connecticut


EMPLOYMENT by Robert M. Brown III, PhD Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, Quinnipiac University

“To assume that the nation can live with so many people unable to find jobs and forming a permanent cadre of the helpless and hopeless, is dangerous. What is being created by this situation is social dynamite that will not be defused by retreat to the position that the government cannot create enough jobs to provide work for all her citizens. Indeed, the government cannot afford not to create these jobs through incentives to the private sector as well as public work projects and public service employment jobs. The nation can do nothing less than create a full employment policy that will provide a decent job for everyone willing to work.” – Vernon E. Jordan Jr. (1976)20


Vernon E. Jordan. (1976). State of Black America. The National Urban League.

2-2 | State of Urban Connecticut

2.1 Introduction During January 2019, America experienced a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in its history. For more than 1 month, 800,000 government employees were not paid. In an era when more people live paycheck to paycheck because of the high cost of living (i.e., food, housing, transportation, childcare, health care, and education), going without a paycheck after just 2 weeks can be financially crippling and, for some, even ruinous. According to an online survey by the Harris Poll, which was conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder, an online employment website, 78 percent of American workers are living paycheck to paycheck.21 Employment in America in the second decade of the 21st century is far different than it was generations ago. During the period just after World War II, the income from a single job could sustain an entire family, enabling them to purchase a car, a home, an annual vacation, send their children to college and, in many instances the job would last for decades. This idealized and soughtafter image of the American Dream is largely a part of a bygone era. As the deployment of technology began to increase efficiencies and reduce costs for many companies around the nation, the American job market was reconstituted during the mid- to late 1970s from a manufacturing-based economy to a service- and information-oriented one. At present, identifying, securing, and maintaining employment that pays a livable wage is more challenging than ever, even for the most highly credentialed, and especially for those with lower levels of education, who may also lack in-demand skills. This reality has been compounded by higher levels of global job competition, as well as the “gig” economy—the emergence of more jobs that are short term or contractually based rather than permanent, offering little to no benefits and future of work—the ways in which technology, automation, and machine learning are further impacting the labor force and reducing the need for workers in certain industries. The aforementioned factors will continue to adversely affect more groups of people in states around the country, including those who live in Connecticut, which is ranked as one of the wealthiest states in the nation. Following the Great Recession, the state’s recovery, or lack thereof, has magnified the differences between those who can barely afford the necessities of living and those whose wealth is extraordinary. This section of the report examines the impact of employment on Connecticut’s residents, particularly those who live in the urban centers of the state. It includes current employment trends, selected output from the focus groups and interviews, future employment trends, and recommendations.


CareerBuilder. (2017). “Living paycheck to paycheck is a way of life for majority of U.S. workers.”


2.2 Background Historically, Connecticut is a state that was known for its manufacturing, which accounted for half of the jobs in the 1950s.22 This included hats, forged brass, revolvers, munitions and aircraft, and shipbuilding by defense contractors.23 As the demand for production of these goods subsided in favor of high finance during the 1980s, many manufacturing concerns began to leave the state and relocate in places where operation costs were cheaper. Ironically, the Great Recession also resulted in an exodus of jobs in the finance sector. According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, 17,000 financial services jobs have been lost24 and 23,000 public sector jobs were lost between 2008 and 2017.25 A good deal of the remaining jobs are low-level jobs in retail, leisure, and health care that do not offer livable wages, benefits or stability. The result is a larger share of workers who are unemployed or underemployed, and women and people of color, disproportionately, hold these jobs.

2.3 Unemployment and Underemployment Recent unemployment rates for the nation and Connecticut have both hovered around 4 percent, yet this statistic, while low, is masking a far more sobering truth. The unemployment rate is not a completely accurate reflection of who is and who is not working. Although it captures the number of people in the civilian labor force and divides this by the number of people who are unemployed, it does not capture the number of people who have been unable to find work for more than 6 months or who have stopped looking for work (e.g., discouraged workers who may not have been successful in identifying employment opportunities for years). Based on data analysis from the Economic Policy Institute26 (EPI) Connecticut saw a drop in the unemployment rate of one percent between 2015 and 2016 for people aged 25 to 54 (see Table 2-1). Latinos experienced a drop in unemployment of 3.7 percentage points (11.3 to 7.6). For people with some high school and a high school diploma, the unemployment rate dropped 5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. For persons 55 and older, there was an increase in unemployment of 1 percent, and for those with some college, the rate increased from 4.7 percent to 7 percent. For Blacks, the rate of unemployment


Connecticut Tax Panel, Statement of Final Recommendations, 2015, Volume 2.


Jared Bennett, “Connecticut in Crisis: How Inequality is Paralyzing ‘America’s Country Club’,” CT Post, July 25, 2018, Retrieved from php#photo-15970445. (Accessed December 15, 2018).


Connecticut Department of Labor, Connecticut’s Recessionary Job Loss and Recovery March 2008 – December 2018. Retrieved from


Jamie Mills and Rachel Silberman. (August 2018). “The State of Working Connecticut Wages Stagnant for Working Families.” Connecticut Voices for Children.


Economic Policy Institute. (2017). “Jobs Watch Analysis of Current Population Survey Data.”

2-4 | State of Urban Connecticut

was almost three times the rate for Whites (11.5% compared to 4.1%) for the same period.27 Economic shifts have caused many individuals to continue to work beyond average retirement age. These individuals not only require assistance financially, they have health, housing, transportation, and other needs. – Seniors Focus Group Participant The opening became available because they let go of somebody my age, so they don’t have to keep paying for pensions and all these benefits and the wages that they worked themselves up to all these years, they are hiring less experienced younger people at lower wages. – Seniors Focus Group Participant Table 2-1: Changes in Connecticut’s unemployment rate from 2015 to 2016. Source: Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and CT Voices for Children analysis of Current Population Survey.

2015 5.6%

2016 5.2%

Difference -0.4

All Gender Male Female Age 16-24 years 25-54 years 55 years+

5.7% 5.5%

5.4% 5.1%

-0.4 -0.4

10.0% 5.7% 3.3%

10.7% 4.7% 4.3%

0.7 -1.0 1.0

Race/ethnicity White Black Latino

3.9% 11.8% 11.3%

4.1% 11.5% 7.6%

0.2 -0.3 -3.7

Education Less than high school High school diploma Some college Bachelor’s degree or higher

17.0% 8.6% 4.7% 2.7%

12.0% 5.9% 7.0% 2.6%

-5.0 -2.6 2.2 -0.1

Table 2-2 shows that the rate of underemployment (i.e., persons not working the desired number of hours or working jobs in which they are overqualified), of Whites compared to Blacks and Latinos for 2015 and 2016 remains significant, at more than 2 to 1.28 For Latinos, however, there was a 3.9 percent decline in underemployment during the 2 years, which indicates that the rate of increase between employed Latinos was much higher than the rate of increase among underemployed Latinos (i.e., 34.6 percent [68,000] and 5.9 percent [2,800], respectively). What is troubling is that, while the rates of underemployment for those with some high school and those who


Ray Noonan. (September 2017). “Update: State of Working Connecticut 2017.” Connecticut Voices for Children analysis of Current Population Survey data.




completed high school fell 4.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, the rates of underemployment for those with some college and those with a bachelor’s degree or higher both increased by 1.1 percent. This suggests that more credentialed workers are experiencing greater difficulty in finding work that is commensurate with their education and who may, in more instances, be forced to accept whatever work is available. 2015 10.9%

2016 10.8%

Difference -0.1

10.8% 11.1%

10.4% 11.3%

-0.4 0.2

18.4% 10.7% 7.9%

21.8% 9.8% 8.6%

3.3 -0.9 0.7

Race/ethnicity White Black Latino

8.4% 20.0% 20.8%

8.7% 19.0% 16.9%

0.3 -0.9 -3.9

Education Less than high school High school diploma Some college Bachelor’s degree or higher

26.1% 16.0% 11.0% 5.5%

21.6% 13.3% 12.1% 6.6%

-4.4 -2.7 1.1 1.1

All Gender Male Female Age 16-24 years 25-54 years 55 years+

2.4 Growth of Low-Wage Employment While Connecticut has experienced job recovery in the years following the Great Recession, a disturbing trend is that many of the jobs that are being created are low-wage rather than mid-wage or high-wage. Based on 2016 data captured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Current Population Survey and analyzed by Connecticut Voices for Children, a think tank that serves children and families, low-wage jobs paid a median wage of $15 per hour or less, mid-wage jobs paid a median wage of $15.01 to $33.95 per hour, and high-wage jobs paid a median wage of more than $33.95 per hour.29 During the period 2011 to 2016, the rate of low-wage job growth in the state increased from 14.2 percent in 2011 to 15.5 percent in 2016, an increase of 9.2 percent. Comparatively, for the same period, there was a decrease in mid-wage jobs of 2 percent while the rate of high-wage jobs remained constant.30 In 2011, workers of color in Connecticut comprised 24.1 percent of the overall workforce but 36.8 percent of the jobs that they held were low wage. In 2016, workers of color comprised 29.8 percent of the state’s overall workforce but 50.9 percent of the jobs that they held were low wage.31 Table 2-3 shows that Blacks and 29






Table 2-2: Changes in Connecticut’s underemployment rate from 2015 to 2016. Source: Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and CT Voices for Children analysis of Current Population Survey.

2-6 | State of Urban Connecticut

Latinos, respectively, earned $10.08 and $8.98 less than Whites during 2016.32 What these data show is that women and Blacks not only earn less than Whites but that their earnings from 2015 to 2016 decreased at the rate of 2.2 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively. Wages for Latinos, while they too are lower than Whites, did increase during the same period by 2.7 percent. Overall, women, Blacks, and Latinos are more likely to be negatively affected because they disproportionately hold more low-wage jobs than Whites. Table 2-3: Changes in Connecticut’s median hourly wage from 2015 to 2016. Source: Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and CT Voices for Children analysis of Current Population Survey.

All Gender Male Female Race/ethnicity White Black Latino

2015 $20.55

2016 $20.65

Difference ($) $0.10

Difference (%) 0.5

Population (2016) 1,436,339

$23.34 $18.92

$24.76 $18.51

$1.42 -$0.41

6.1 -2.2

705,404 730,935

$22.84 $14.34 $14.59

$23.97 $13.89 $14.99

$1.13 -$0.45 $0.40

4.9 -3.1 2.7

1,008,776 132,549 212,105

That’s what we work for, to be honest just to pay bills. It’s not enough money to do anything basically. Yeah. You can’t really do a meal right now. – Re-Entry Focus Group Participant

2.5 The Encroachment of Poverty A growing number of Connecticut’s workers are facing economic stress in the wake of the Great Recession, which is caused by the inability to meet their financial obligations because of job loss, not enough work, job instability or low wages, and the effect on their mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and economic well-being.33 More people in the state find themselves in positions where their only viable choice is to accept low-wage employment, if they can find it, because mid-wage or high-wage jobs, or those that are commensurate with their training and education, are not available. With the increase in the number of low-wage jobs, there is a greater likelihood of having to work more than one job just to survive, and live paycheck to paycheck. The specter, then, of poverty is becoming a far more real possibility, even for the well-educated and credentialed. United Way locations in Connecticut define paycheck-topaycheck living as Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) households that have earnings above the federal poverty level (FPL) but that struggle to afford the basic costs of living.34 According to the U.S. Department




Robert M. Brown III. (2013). Economic Stress; Harsh Truths and Keys to Empowerment.


United Way of Connecticut. “2018 Report: ALICE: A study of financial hardship in Connecticut.” Retrieved from


of Health and Human Services (HHS) for 2019, the FPL for a family of one, two, three, and four, respectively, is $12,490, $16,910, $21,330, and $25,750.35 Table 2-4 shows the number of households in the cities selected for this research investigation—Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, and Waterbury—that are defined as ALICE and in poverty for 2016.

Above 25,000 households Bridgeport Danbury Hartford New Haven Norwalk Stamford Waterbury

Connecticut Cities, 2016 Total households 50,476 30,831 47,033 48,909 33,989 47,330 38,372

ALICE and poverty 72% 50% 70% 66% 39% 40% 64%

Based on the ALICE and poverty rates for these cities, Connecticut is in crisis. The rates suggest that a significant number of people living in these cities are struggling to survive—particularly those who reside in Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury—and are experiencing rates of ALICE and poverty of 72 percent, 50 percent, 70 percent, 66 percent, and 64 percent, respectively. It is difficult to imagine that the circumstances of the people who face these realities are likely to improve without immediate, comprehensive, culturally competent, and sustained intervention.

2.6 An Uncertain Future of Work I was taught how to code in college. I didn’t know what [it] was at the time. I [do] basic coding now in my day job and I think there [are] so many jobs out there where there are STEM jobs. So, young black and brown women and men in those positions would be ideal, but they have to be available in these training programs. So, I think we need our kids to go in that area. We can shepherd them into any areas…I think one of the realities is a lot of my students are low-income, first generation. So, when you put those two things together and you say, ‘go off to college, wait four more years, and then start making money.’ I think like to be pragmatic, we are trying to prepare students for the world that exists and also a world that we haven’t even envisioned. – Millennials Focus Group Participant


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). U.S. federal poverty guidelines used to determine financial eligibility for certain federal programs. Retrieved from

Table 2-4: Percentage of ALICE households and poverty in Connecticut, 2016. Source: ALICE: A Study of Financial Hardship in Connecticut.

2-8 | State of Urban Connecticut

…I am of the generation where success is determined by a four-year college degree. I’ve come to [the] conclusion that it’s not accurate when you stack it into some of our employment projections. For 40 years, parents have told their kids, ‘Don’t go to the factory. Go to college.’ Well, the factory actually pays a whole lot better and allows you the opportunity to learn over time because a single credential in this world is becoming less valuable. What employers are looking for [is] people who are constantly learning. It’s all changing the model of the four plus four (4 years high school and 4 years college), and with your bachelor’s degree, you run the world. That’s not really the way we see things trending. – Interview Participant (State Official) The future of work is here. Its focus on automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning has created an air of excitement and anticipation among some for the jobs that will be created, but for others, there are considerable concerns that the future of work will facilitate the elimination of some jobs as well. Presently, examples of future of work include self-service kiosks at grocery stores, drug stores, train stations, airports, and fast food restaurants. In the future that is not so far away, autonomous vehicles such as driverless cars, buses, garbage trucks, and tractor trailers will be common. This shift from human labor to machine labor presents some potentially devastating consequences for workers in a variety of industries. In 2016, the White House Council of Economic Advisors found that, “83 percent of jobs making less than $20 per hour would come under pressure from automation, as compared to 31 percent of jobs making between $20 and $40 per hour and 4 percent of jobs making above $40 per hour.”36 These figures suggest that low-income workers are in serious jeopardy of being excluded from the workforce. According to a data brief released by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 31 percent of Latino workers and 27 percent of Black workers are concentrated in 30 occupations that are at high risk for automation.37 Comparatively, these occupations are held by 24 percent of all White workers and 20 percent of all Asian American workers.38 Selected occupations of the 30 include cashiers, cooks, food preparation and fast food workers, assembly line workers, construction laborers, security guards, bus drivers, taxi drivers, and grounds maintenance workers.39 What compounds this is the fact that the median net worth for


Executive Office of the President of the United States. (2016). Artificial intelligence, automation, and the economy.


Kristen Broady. (2017). “Race and jobs at high risk to automation.” Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. The tables that capture the 30 occupations can be found via this link to the data brief:






Latinos and Blacks in 2016 was $20,700 and $17,600, respectively, compared to $171,000 for Whites, according to the Federal Reserve.40 Imagining a future of work that provides a decent job and quality of living, as espoused at the beginning of this section of the report, for all workers, is challenging at best and implausible at worst, given the harsh truths that disproportionate numbers of Blacks, Latinos, women, and people from lowincome communities could potentially face. As the world of work becomes increasingly more competitive, automated, and globalized, there are immediate needs for increased levels of training; updating of skills for in-demand occupations that pay livable wages; the embrace of diversity, inclusion, and equity; and continuous advocacy and support of these endeavors at the local, state, and national levels. Following is a list of recommendations.


Lisa J. Dettling, Joanne W. Hsu, Lindsay Jacobs, Kevin B. Moore, and Jeffrey P. Thompson with assistance from Elizabeth Llanes. “Recent Trends in Wealth-Holding by Race and Ethnicity: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances.� The Federal Reserve. September 27, 2017.

2-10 | State of Urban Connecticut

2.7 Recommendations

2.7.1 Residents and Community Leaders Residents and community leaders must continue to be empowered to believe that their capabilities and contributions are needed assets, not just for the workplace, but for their families, communities, the nation, and the larger global community. There should be a continued willingness to embrace and promote excellence in the workplace that is complemented with self-respect and a spirit of cooperation within and between communities. This includes: •

Staying informed about current and future changes in the job market by regularly visiting websites such as the Connecticut Department of Labor ( and the U.S. Department of Labor (;


Learning about future of work, in-demand jobs, and the types of skills that will be needed for workers to become or remain competitive in this new job market by visiting (virtually or in-person) job centers to learn about their programs and services, especially those that provide training for future of work opportunities; and


Committing to lifelong learning to enhance or acquire knowledge on topics of interest for personal and professional development, critical thinking, effective communication and group collaboration, and a willingness to be adaptable to new situations and job opportunities.


2.7.2 Stakeholders Stakeholders in employment include but are not limited to the Connecticut Department of Labor, job centers, workforce development boards, communitybased organizations (CBOs) that focus on workforce development, colleges and universities, state and local government, and public and private companies and employees. With an increased need to attract highly trained and competent workers, efforts among stakeholders can include: •

Building relationships with residents and community leaders to provide access to and support in job training programs that are culturally competent and offer accredited certifications or credentials in areas/programs of study for in-demand jobs that pay livable wages, which includes: •

Remediation (if necessary);

Proficiency in working autonomously or as a team member;

Differentiating between doing all that a person can do compared to doing what is required to complete work tasks at a high level; and

Acclimation to diverse working environments.

Communicating and collaborating effectively between stakeholder groups, such as employers and centers of learning (i.e., workforce development programs and colleges and universities), to ensure that employer needs in the workplace are being taught and addressed in programs of study;

Collaboration between CBOs to assess the feasibility of creating social enterprise endeavors in the communities that they serve to expand training and employment opportunities and to increase the generation and circulation of dollars in these communities; and

Embracing the need for and inclusion of a multi-generational workforce by valuing the strengths and contributions of younger workers (i.e., Millennials and Generation Z) and older workers (i.e., Baby Boomers and Generation X).

2.7.3 Policymakers The role that policymakers have in shaping the quality of living for the communities that they are entrusted to serve cannot be overstated. In a time of growing income and wealth inequality, policymakers should remain mindful that their decisions do not just affect the numbers on a spreadsheet or in a report but that these numbers represent people and communities that depend on policymakers to advocate in their best interests. Recommendations include: •

Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour to increase the number of Black, Latino, women-headed and low-income families that are more likely to be lifted from poverty;

2-12 | State of Urban Connecticut

Providing funding to convene diverse panels of culturally competent experts to create job training programs that identify, reclaim, and re-tool workers who have been displaced from the job market and those who are a part of the long-term unemployed by, for example, partnering with CBOs, community colleges, and the faith community and linking their programs to employers who offer jobs that pay livable wages;

Requiring that workforce development programs offer job training for future of work and other in-demand jobs rather than training for jobs that are likely to be eliminated because of future of work; and

Creating more entrepreneurial centers to meet the needs of younger and older workers for whom college may not be the most appropriate fit.

2.8 Conclusion The importance of working jobs that pay livable wages should be self-evident but given the present circumstances for growing numbers of workers, it bears repeating. Having the ability—through proper education, training, and access— to secure employment opportunities that pay at a rate that facilitates living life rather than trying to cope with the indignities of surviving life because the available jobs simple do not pay enough, is not just an attack on a person’s or family’s financial well-being, but it is also an attack on the soul. If present and future generations of workers are to be a part of meaningful work, no matter the industry, that pays at a rate that promotes living and not surviving, there is an opportunity, still, to meet this challenge. Otherwise, we will stand on the precipice of a truth that is too grotesque to imagine.

REFERENCES Bennett, J. Connecticut in crisis: How inequality is paralyzing ‘America’s country club’, CT Post, July 25, 2018, Retrieved from Broady, K. (2017). Race and jobs at high risk to automation. Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Retrieved from Brown, R. (2013). Economic stress: Harsh truths and keys to empowerment. Publisher: Author. CareerBuilder. (2017). Living paycheck to paycheck is a way of life for majority of U.S. workers. Retrieved from Connecticut Department of Labor. (2019). Connecticut’s recessionary job loss and recovery, March 2008 – December 2018. Retrieved from recessionaryjoblosstable.asp. Connecticut Tax Panel. (2015). Statement of final recommendations, Volume 2. Retrieved from Report%20Volume%20%202.pdf. Connecticut Voices for Children. (2018). Report: The state of working Connecticut wages stagnant for working families. Retrieved from Final.pdf.


Connecticut Voices for Children. (2017). Report Update: the state of working Connecticut. Retrieved from Final.pdf Dettling, L. J., Hsu, J. W., Jacobs, L., Moore, K. B., Thompson, J. P., and Llanes, E. (2017). Recent trends in wealth-holding by race and ethnicity: Evidence from the survey of consumer finances. The Federal Reserve. Retrieved from recent-trends-in-wealth-holding-by-race-and-ethnicity-evidence-from-the-survey-of-consumer finances-20170927.htm. Economic Policy Institute. (2017). Jobs watch analysis of current population survey data. Executive Office of the President of the United States. (2016). Artificial intelligence, automation, and the economy. Retrieved from files/documents/Artificial-Intelligence-Automation-Economy.PDF. Jordan, Vernon E. (1976). State of Black America. Washington, D.C.: National Urban League. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). U.S. Federal poverty guidelines used to determine financial eligibility for certain federal programs. Retrieved from poverty-guidelines United Way of Connecticut. (2018). ALICE: A study of financial hardship in Connecticut. Retrieved from

3 | State of Urban Connecticut


INCOME INEQUALITY AND URBAN CONNECTICUT by Catherine Anitha Manohar, PhD Assistant Teaching Professor of Finance, Quinnipiac University Mark Gius, PhD Professor of Economics, Quinnipiac University

3-2 | State of Urban Connecticut

Residents in Connecticut’s urban areas are living with many issues that have arisen due to growing income inequality. This section presents conclusions and observations from previous studies and includes personal stories from focus group sessions that were conducted as part of this study. This section also includes policy recommendations.

3.1 Introduction Connecticut has some of the highest levels of poverty and income inequality in the United States. It ranks sixth in the nation with regard to the percentage of people earning annual incomes below the federal poverty line, and third in the nation in income inequality, which is defined as the ratio of the average income of persons in the top 1 percent compared to the average income of persons in the bottom 99 percent.41 As of 2015, the top 1 percent of families earn 37.2 times more than the bottom 99 percent in Connecticut (see Table 3-1). The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area is the most unequal metro area (ranked fifth in the nation) in Connecticut in terms of income inequality with the top 1 percent making 62.2 times more than the bottom 99 percent. Across the country, there is a huge difference by state and metro area in what it means to be in the top 1 percent. To be in the top 1 percent nationally in 2015, a family needed a minimum annual income of $421,926. Among all the states, Connecticut has the highest income threshold at $700,800 and the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro was one of the five metros in the country with an income threshold above $1 million. Table 3-1: Ratio of top 1 percent annual income to bottom 99 percent income, and income threshold of top 1 percent, 2015. Source: E. Sommeiller and M. Price. 2018. The new gilded age: Income inequality in the U.S. by state, metropolitan area, and county. Economic Policy Institute, July 2018.

Region United States Connecticut Bridgeport-StamfordNorwalk, CT Torrington, CT New Haven-Milford, CT Hartford-W. HartfordE. Hartford, CT Norwich-New London, CT

Average income (top 1%) $1,316,985 $2,522,806 $6,290,951

Average income (bottom 99%) $50,107 $67,742 $101,213

Top-tobottom ratio 26.3 37.2 62.2

Income threshold of top 1% $421,926 $700,800 $1,447,109

$1,205,796 $1,097,930 $1,068,688

$60,395 $56,430 $62,849

20.0 19.5 17.0

$489,153 $463,530 $492,920





Connecticut’s extreme income inequality in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area is because the largest cities in this area have very different levels of household income. Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut, has a poverty rate of 22.1 percent, which is higher than the national average of 15.1 percent


In Connecticut, 10.4 percent of people fell below the federal poverty line (annual income of $24,340 for a family of four) in 2016. Source: United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2016.


(see Table 3-2). Stamford and Norwalk have poverty rates that are half that of the national average at 8.9 percent and 8.5 percent respectively. The city of Westport, which is located only 12 miles from Bridgeport, has a median annual household income of $166,307 and a poverty rate of only 4.4 percent. Whereas Bridgeport has high unemployment and high violent crime rates, Westport is considered one of the safest cities in the nation. The End Hunger Connecticut 2016 report shows that only 3.7 percent of public school students in Westport qualify for the free or reduced meal program, while 100 percent of public school students in Bridgeport qualify for the free or reduced meal program. Hence, there are glaring differences in wealth and income between these two cities even though they are only 12 miles apart.42 Region United States Connecticut Largest Cities in CT Bridgeport Hartford New Haven Stamford Waterbury Norwalk Danbury

2016 population 318,558,162 3,574,097

2016 median annual household income $55,322 $71,755

2016 poverty rate* (%) 15.1 10.4

147,022 124,320 130,405 127,410 109,211 87,930 83,890

$43,137 $32,095 $38,126 $81,634 $39,681 $80,896 $67,430

22.1 31.9 26.1 8.9 25.4 8.5 11.2

Income inequality in Connecticut is even more pronounced when we examine income levels by race and sex. As of 2017, the poverty rate for Blacks and Latinos is 17.8 percent and 20.4 percent respectively. These rates are more than double the poverty rate for Whites, which is 7.7 percent. We also see significant wage differences between races and sex, which have only increased since the Great Recession. The median hourly wage for Blacks in 2017 was $14.50, while for Whites it was $23.17. The poverty rate for working-age women was 10.6 percent, while for working-age men it was 8.5 percent. The median hourly wage for men was $22.93 but it was $19.98 for women. The sex and race pay gaps in Connecticut exceed the national sex and race pay gaps. Chetty, Grusky, Hell, Hendren, Manduca, and Narang (2016)43 found that the “American dream” has become much harder to achieve in certain cities. In the 1940s and 1950s, it was assumed that you would be earning more than your parents. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Currently there is only a 50 percent probability that you will be better off than your parents. Unless policymakers actively work to challenge the obstacles that prevent people from


End Hunger Connecticut. 2016 Connecticut: School Breakfast Report card. Retrieved from


Raj Chetty, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren, Robert Manduca, and Jimmy Narang. “The fading American dream: Trends in absolute income mobility since 1940.” Science 356, no. 6336 (2016): 398-406.

Table 3-2: Population, median income, and poverty rate for the largest cities in Connecticut. Source: United States Census Bureau, 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimate. *Percentage of people in 2016 who fell below the poverty line of $24,340 for a family of four.

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climbing the economic ladder, poverty rates are going to continue to increase in certain neighborhoods in Connecticut.

3.2 I ncome Inequality in Connecticut: A Historical Perspective The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) 2018 Report on Income Inequality44 examined the percentage of income held by the top 1 percent since 1917. Figure 3-1 illustrates this information for the United States and for Connecticut. Income inequality peaked in the United States and Connecticut in 1928 just before the stock market crash and the Great Depression. Income disparities steadily dropped between 1928 and 1973 in all states (except Alaska). In Connecticut, income disparities were close to the national average. During this period, we had rising minimum wages and low levels of unemployment throughout the U.S. economy.45 Researchers attribute the wage growth during this period to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act), which established a $0.25 minimum wage and allowed private sector employees to organize into trade unions.46 Figure 3-1: Share (%) of income captured by the top 1 percent from 1917 to 2015.


United States



Source: E. Sommeiller and M. Price. 2018. The new gilded age: Income inequality in the U.S. by state, metropolitan area, and county. Economic Policy Institute, July 2018.

Top 1%





0 1920











This declining income inequality trend reversed itself in 1973. Income disparities increased for all states, and in Connecticut the increase in the share of income held by the top 1 percent was higher than the national average. Bivens and Mishel (2015)47 show that when income inequality was decreasing in the period 44

E. Sommeiller and M. Price. (2018). The new gilded age: Income inequality in the U.S. by state, metropolitan area, and county. Economic Policy Institute, July 2018. Retrieved from


J. Schmitt, E. Gould, and J. Bivens. (2018). America’s slow-motion wage crisis: Four decades of slow and unequal growth. Economic Policy Institute, September 2018. Retrieved from


Frank S. Levy and Peter Temin. (2007). “Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America.” MIT Department of Economics Working Paper no. 07-17.


Josh Bivens and Lawrence Mishel. “Understanding the historic divergence between productivity and a typical worker’s pay: Why it matters and why it’s real.” Economic Policy Institute. September 2015.


1948 to 1973, the average hourly wages of nonsupervisory workers grew along with productivity. However, during the period 1973 to 2014, productivity grew 8 times faster than the average hourly wages of nonsupervisory workers. This deviation between worker wages and productivity after 1973 indicated that most workers were not benefitting from economic growth and productivity gains, thus resulting in rising income inequality. Bivens, Gould, Mishel, and Shierholz (2014)48 identify the minimum wage and unionization as two factors that significantly affected the growth in hourly wages. They found that approximately two-thirds of the growing wage gap could be explained by the failure on the part of federal government to increase the federal minimum wage to take into account rising inflation, and one-third of the increase in wage inequality could be explained by the decline in rates of union membership. In other words, the federal government did not re-evaluate wages frequently enough, and the strength of collective bargaining power was reduced. During the period from 2009 to 2015, income inequality continued to increase with the average income of the top 1 percent growing faster than the average income of the bottom 99 percent. Connecticut was one of two states where the top 1 percent captured all of the growth in income, whereas there was no growth at all in wages for the bottom 99 percent as shown in Table 3-3. Region

United States Connecticut


Top 1%

Bottom 99%

Share of total growth captured by top 1%

14.6% 3.9%

33.9% 22.9%

10.3% -1.8%

41.8% 134.2%

3.2.1 Stories from Urban Connecticut The issues related to income that emerged from the interviews and focus groups were an extension of themes related to education and employment. This is not surprising since income inequality is a multi-dimensional issue. Participants consistently shared personal experiences and observations of barriers to employment or salaries that barely exceeded the hourly minimum wage. Here we discuss the two themes that emerged from the data related to income: 1. Limited Access to High-Paying Employment Opportunities Unemployment in Connecticut has decreased since the Great Recession, but the jobs that have been created are in low-wage industries that pay less than $15 an hour. The minimum wage in Connecticut is $10.10 an hour. However, United Way’s 2018 ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report49 titled “ALICE: A study of Financial Hardship in Connecticut” estimates 48

Josh Bivens, Elise Gould, Lawrence Mishel, and Heidi Shierholz. “Raising America’s pay: Why it’s our central economic policy challenge. Economic Policy Institute. June 2014.


United Way of Connecticut. 2018 Report: ALICE: A study of Financial Hardship in Connecticut. Retrieved from

Table 3-3: Average real income growth from 2009 to 2015. Source: Sommeiller and Price. EPI July 2018 report.

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that the annual income a household needs to afford the basic necessities in Connecticut is $24,672 for a single adult and $77,832 for a family of four. This is referred to as the ALICE threshold. When income is measured against the ALICE threshold, even a $15/hour wage will not be adequate to support a family of four. The Connecticut Voices for Children (2016) report on the State of Working Connecticut50 states that 44 percent of the private sector job growth was in low-wage industries that do not meet the ALICE income threshold. Figure 3-2 shows the change in the type of jobs from 2007 to 2015 in different sectors. The data show that there has been a significant loss in “well-paying” manufacturing jobs that meet the ALICE threshold. These jobs have traditionally allowed non-college-educated adults to gain employment and seek upward mobility. During the same period, a large number of jobs has been created in low-wage sectors that do not provide adequate income to meet the ALICE threshold.

Change in jobs, 2007-2015

Figure 3-2: High-wage industries shrink, lowwage industries grow – 2007 to 2015

Average Annual Pay, 2015 Finance and insurance Professional and technical services

Source: CT Voices analysis of Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data. Eight largest industries in Connecticut. Average Wage from 2015. Percentages on horizontal axis are share of private sector jobs in 2015 in that sector.

Manufacturing Total Government Administrative and waste services Health care and social assistance Retail trade Accomodation and food services

Income disparity exists for many reasons. One of the primary reasons is education level. Workers in Connecticut with a college-level education make twice as much as their non-college counterparts. This was reaffirmed in the interviews and focus groups by multiple participants. According to one interview participant who is an education administrator: “If you look at those persons that only have a high school diploma and entered the workforce versus those that do have a college degree, there’s a significant gap in income.”


Connecticut Voices for Children. 2016 Report: The State of Working Connecticut. Retrieved from


One focus group alluded to the cycle of being stuck moving from one lowincome job to another: “[They] get a job in Dunkin’ Donuts or Walmart. They stay there as long as they can … they move from one minimum wage job to another minimum wage job... They pray for something else ....” This demonstrates the lack of well-paying jobs at lower education levels. 2. Insufficient Income to Cover Living Expenses and Outstanding Debt The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (2016) Issue Brief reports that in Connecticut, 31 percent of all workers and 41 percent of Black workers earn less than $15 an hour. The share of the workforce earning less than $15 an hour is much higher in urban areas, with the city of Hartford having 53.1 percent of its workers earning less than $15 an hour. Most of these workers have lower levels of education, work full-time, and are the primary earners in their families.51 Given these statistics, it is not surprising that some participants in the urban professionals focus group indicated that they were making enough money to support themselves, but were struggling to pay for family and outstanding debt. One such participant said “I think that (it’s hard to make it to) the next day without losing your mind … without additional income, without … cutting corners … and daycare (is so) expensive.” Research has shown that the lack of financial stability and worries about outstanding debt and unplanned expenses can drastically affect the way one performs at work. This impact is significant for members of the low-income population, who lack access to traditional banking services. As a result, millions of low-income households have no choice but to turn to alternative financial services that charge exorbitant fees, leaving the unbanked and underbanked trapped in a cycle of poverty.52 Focus group participants also commented on the fact that qualifying for social programs was inconsistent with working a low-wage job. An urban professional focus group participant alluded to this in the interview: “Look at the situation where you can’t afford child care or housing and then if you don’t work, you get it for free. You could be working class and then making about as much as it would cost if you’re living in that same place but now you pay for it, you still don’t have anything. Looking at it sometimes some of these programs can be beneficial for both.” This shows that the minimum wage earned is insufficient to allow for a basic standard of living and, moreover, it provides no incentives to seek job opportunities at the low-wage level.


Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. (2016). Issue Brief: Who earns less than $15 per hour in New England? Retrieved from


An unbanked household is one that does not have a checking or savings account. An underbanked household is one that has a checking and/or savings account but uses alternative financial services such as non-bank money orders, non-bank check-cashing services, payday loans, and pawn shops.

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3.3 Recommendations

3.3.1 Residents and Community Leaders •

Improve Efforts to Stay in School – Educational attainment is one of the primary catalysts of increased income potential. To improve school attendance, schools should provide more paraprofessionals to work with students struggling academically, and there should be an increased emphasis on engaging and communicating with parents in order to identify any possible issues in the home so that schools may proactively offer services that may alleviate these impediments to learning. By increasing efforts to stay in school, residents can greatly improve their chances for achieving economic success.

Improve Efforts to Reduce Absenteeism at Work – Excessive absences at work may increase the probability of employment terminations, which then results in lowered levels of experience and reduced chances at securing future employment. To reduce absenteeism, more funds should be allocated to public transportation and child care services (day care and preschool). Most importantly, child care services should be available 24/7 due to the varying work schedules of many parents.


3.3.2 Stakeholders •

Equalize Allocation of Educational Resources Across Communities – According to the Connecticut School Finance Project (2017) report, the city of Westport on average spends approximately $20,000 per student, while the city of Bridgeport ( just 12 miles away) spends about $14,000 per student.53 This disparity in educational resources feeds into the cycle of poverty and the widening income gap. To reduce this disparity, more funds should be allocated to public education in lower-income and urban areas. Multiple studies and analysis of wage distribution across the population has highlighted the significance of a quality education.

Investing in Grit – Low-income families struggle to make ends meet, with most individuals working two or three jobs. America has always valued grit and hard work, which has historically been rewarded with success. Having policies that encourage private sector participation toward investing in the underutilized yet highly talented low-income group is a necessity.

Wage Statistics and Job Offer Evaluation Tools – The lack of resources to evaluate job offers as related to education or experience level is a significant factor. For many, income is a function of the first job taken. When a person takes a first job, he or she is unable to evaluate the wage as fair or not. Online resources should be provided that would allow workers to properly evaluate job offers.54

3.3.3 Policymakers •

Role of Financial Education in Schools and in the Community –

Personal finance classes for students would improve their chances for economic success. •

Peer-to-Peer Lending and the Role of Microfinance to Lower Rates on Loans – Microfinance, especially microloans lent to female entrepreneurs, have been shown to greatly increase the probability of a small firm’s success. In addition, the rate of repayment is typically much higher for these types of loans compared to conventional business loans.

Increasing the Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour – By increasing the minimum wage, more lower-income individuals will be able to afford many of the basic necessities of life.


onnecticut School Finance Project. (2017). Data on Spending per Student. Retrieved from C


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Reducing Taxes for Low-Income Families Through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – The EITC is one of the best anti-poverty programs to be established in the past 40 years. By increasing the range of individuals and families who are eligible for the EITC, more lower-income persons will be able to break the cycle of poverty that now exists in many communities across Connecticut.

REFERENCES Bivens, J., Gould, E., Mishel, L., & Shierholz, H. (2014). Raising America’s pay: Why it’s our central economic policy challenge. Economic Policy Institute, June 2014. Retrieved from Bivens, J., & Mishel, L. (2015). Understanding the historic divergence between productivity and a typical worker’s pay: Why it matters and why it’s real. Economic Policy Institute, September 2015. Retrieved from Chetty, R., Grusky, D., Hell, M., Hendren, N., Manduca, R., & Narang, J. (2016). The fading American dream: Trends in absolute income mobility since 1940. Science, 356(6336), 398-406. Connecticut School Finance Project. (2017). Data on spending per student. Retrieved from Connecticut Voices for Children. (2016). Report: The state of working Connecticut. Retrieved from End Hunger Connecticut. (2016). Connecticut: School breakfast report card. Retrieved from wTop10.pdf. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. (2016). Issue Brief: Who earns less than $15 per hour in New England? Retrieved from aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1. Levy, F., & Temin, P. (2007). Inequality and institutions in 20th Century America. MIT Department of Economics Working Paper no. 07-17. Schmitt, J., Gould, E., & Bivens, J. (2018). America’s slow-motion wage crisis: Four decades of slow and unequal growth. Economic Policy Institute, September 2018. Retrieved publication/americas-slow-motion-wage-crisis-four-decades-of-slow-and-unequal-growth-2/ Sommeiller, E., & Price, M. (2018). The new gilded age: Income inequality in the U.S. by state, metropolitan area, and county. Economic Policy Institute, July 2018. Retrieved from publication/the-new-gilded-age-income-inequality-in-the-u-s-by-state-metropolitan-area-andcounty/. United States Census Bureau. (2016). American Community Survey, 2016. Retrieved from United Way of Connecticut. (2018). ALICE: A study of financial hardship in Connecticut (2018 Report). Retrieved from


4 | State of Urban Connecticut


HOUSING AS A CIVIL RIGHT: The Case for Equity in Housing by Karen DuBois-Walton, PhD Executive Director, Housing Authority of the City of New Haven (Elm City Communities)

4-2 | State of Urban Connecticut

In this section, the state of housing instability in Connecticut will be explored, and a set of recommendations presented to address this crisis.

4.1 Introduction Each day millions of families live with housing instability. These families pay far more than they can afford to cover their housing costs, thereby facing economic hardship and episodic and chronic homelessness. According to current estimates, the national need for affordable housing requires an additional 8 million units.55 The shortage of affordable housing nationwide has been called a national crisis.56 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that of all eligible families, only one in four is receiving a federal housing subsidy.57 Connecticut’s renters face one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation. Research shows that housing instability results in poor outcomes for families in terms of education, employment, health, and other related concerns. In addition, housing instability disproportionately affects families of color. These disparities are inextricably linked to historical discriminatory actions sanctioned by government and financial sectors and must be remedied by the combined efforts of government, banks, and philanthropy.

4.2 The Need for Affordable Housing At a local public housing authority, the phone rings constantly, and emails are received daily with desperate pleas for help accessing one of the highly coveted federal housing subsidy programs—the low-income public housing program and the Housing Choice Voucher program (commonly known as Section 8). Both programs provide housing subsidies to income-eligible families such that the cost of housing equates to approximately 30 percent of the household income. For families living in poverty, this linkage between income and monthly rental costs is an essential step toward stabilizing their lives. In the absence of affordable housing, families find themselves paying far more than they can manage toward their basic housing costs. Within the housing industry, it is considered acceptable for families to put no more than 30 percent of their income toward their housing costs (rent or mortgage plus utilities). Families paying more than 30 percent are considered “rent burdened” while families paying greater than 50 percent are deemed “severely rent burdened.” In the U.S., approximately 48 percent of families are rent burdened while 70 percent of low-income families are currently experiencing rent burden.58


Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies. “The State of the Nation’s Housing.” (2017).


Jamie Kasulis. The CT Mirror. “Connecticut Rental Housing is Among the Nation’s Least Affordable.” (June 22, 2018).


Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2017.


Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2017.


In the New Haven region, it is estimated that 59 percent of families are rent burdened59 with more than 70 percent of low-income families qualifying as rent burdened. The inquiries to the local public housing authority represent families in desperate situations facing rental burdens, many facing eviction or current homelessness. HUD calculates that the housing wage in Connecticut—defined as the amount needed to rent a standard-quality 2-bedroom apartment ($1,295 per month in Connecticut)—is $25 per hour. Connecticut’s housing wage is the 9th highest in the country.60 For low-income families in Connecticut, however, this easily represents more than 50 percent of their monthly income. Approximately 30 percent of all Connecticut renters (140,500 households) are classified as “extremely low income,” and these families pay far more than 50 percent of their income toward housing costs. The ability of the public housing authority to respond to calls and meet the need is limited, however, by the insufficient supply of units and vouchers. Both units and vouchers are in high demand, and the federal government’s production of new public housing units is nonexistent. While federal resources may support the limited investment in the preservation of housing units, there has been no significant expansion in the public housing program since the 1970s. As a result, the development of affordable housing units has not kept pace with the demand.61 Families seeking affordable housing opportunities often find barriers to even get their name placed on wait lists. Most often, wait lists are lengthy, making it unreasonable to continue to add families. At the Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of the City of New Haven (ECC/ HANH), more than 10,000 families are on wait lists. Given the turnover of units or vouchers of about 400 annually, it would take over 25 years to house all of the families currently on the list. Using the 1:4 ratio, the current estimate of need for an agency like New Haven’s, which serves 6,000 families, is likely another 18,000 families. Beyond the public housing and voucher programs, the other major contributor to affordable housing is the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). This federal program, funded through the Internal Revenue Service, offers tax credits to investors to support the development of affordable housing. The credits are issued to developers and investors through each state’s housing finance agency—in Connecticut the program is managed by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA). Public housing authorities (PHAs) have the ability to serve as developers and have more recently begun to effectively


Partnership for Strong Communities. 2015 Housing Data Profiles.


Kasulis, 2018.


Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2017.

4-4 | State of Urban Connecticut

use the combination of traditional subsidy programs in combination with the LIHTC program to redevelop obsolete public housing units. PHAs can be a powerful development partner, although current state law is restrictive with regard to the geographical area within which they can act. Freeing PHAs of these restrictions may allow them to develop on a more regional basis. While local PHAs offer some LIHTC units, the majority are developed, managed, and leased through private entities—each maintaining their own wait list. Units financed through the tax credit platform are available to income-eligible families across various low-income bands typically divided among those at or below 25 percent of the area median income (extremely low income), those between 25 percent and 50 percent (very low income), and those up to 60 percent of area median income (low income). Tax credit rents are set based upon fair market rents for geographic areas. Area Median Income (AMI), Fair Market Rents (FMRs), and tax credit rents are published annually by the federal government. Families in these units pay a set rent that is determined by their income band. The award of tax credits happens annually through CHFA as a result of competitive and “as-of-right” processes. States determine their housing priorities, which govern the award of tax credits. The state priorities are publicly available and published through the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). The QAP is advertised annually for public comment, and the remarks are incorporated into the upcoming plan. Currently, Connecticut’s QAP prioritizes applications that serve to preserve existing affordable housing, develop affordable housing with supportive services, and develop affordable housing in “areas of opportunity.” Areas of opportunity have been identified as those cities and towns with low poverty rates, high-performing school districts, and access to employment opportunities.62 For example, in the Greater New Haven region, New Haven is designated as a town of “very low opportunity” according to this measure, while wealthier towns such as Branford, Guilford, Cheshire, Orange, Madison, Milford, Wallingford, and Woodbridge are considered areas of high or very high opportunity (see Table 4-1). Throughout Connecticut, only 2 percent of the land area is assessed as “very low opportunity,” while 58 percent of the land area is deemed “high opportunity” or “very high opportunity.” Low-income families are concentrated in “very low opportunity” areas rather than spread across the state commensurate to the land area. Seventy-three percent of Blacks and Latinos live in low and very low opportunity areas as contrasted with 26 percent of Whites.


Erin Boggs and Lisa Dabrowski. “Out of Balance: Subsidized Housing, Segregation and Opportunity in Connecticut.” Open Communities Alliance (September 2017).


Town Branford Cheshire Guilford Madison Milford New Haven North Haven Orange Woodbridge

White 91% 91% 95% 96% 88% 42% 89% 88% 80%

Black 1% 0% 0% 0% 2% 35% 3% 1% 3%

Latino 5% 3% 4% 0% 5% 27% 4% 2% 5%

Opportunity Classification High Very High High Very High Moderate/High Low Moderate Very High Very High

Connecticut’s focus on areas of opportunity reflects its recognition that affordable housing is concentrated in the urban areas, which leads to racial and economic segregation and federal requirements to provide the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) provision. Although housing construction is occurring (as measured by building permits issued), these higher opportunity areas are not investing in affordable housing to any significant degree. Affordable housing is overrepresented in cities like New Haven, where more than 30 percent of the housing units are affordable in contrast to neighboring towns in the Greater New Haven region, such as Woodbridge where the affordable stock represents only 1 percent of the housing units, and Milford with 5 percent.63 Across all income bands, it should be noted that the racial and ethnic disparities in these cities and towns are significant.

4.3 Access to Affordable Housing Beyond the shortage of affordable units, the rental landscape for families in search of affordable housing is further complicated by the lack of a coordinated system to access these units. Each PHA, state entity that offers units, and private developer maintains its own unique wait lists. While Connecticut’s “211 system” offers a platform by which a family can register to receive alerts statewide when a Housing Choice Voucher wait list opens, no such system exists for public housing, tax credit, or other affordable units. This leaves families who are in need of housing in the situation of having to research and make numerous calls to various entities seeking information on openings throughout a complicated housing system that has differing income-eligibility requirements, various wait list eligibility policies, and limited time periods within which to apply. Streamlining the system of accessing affordable housing should be a priority in any effort to improve the system in Connecticut.


South Central Regional Council of Governments. “South Central Region, Connecticut Demographic and Socioeconomic Trends.” (March 2017).

Table 4-1: Areas of opportunity in the Greater New Haven Region; Demographics and Opportunity Areas Percentage. Source: https:// population/howmany-people-live-inconnecticut

4-6 | State of Urban Connecticut

4.4 Racial and Economic Housing Segregation It is widely accepted that the greatest historic wealth creator in the U.S. has been homeownership. It has also become the greatest driver of economic inequality.64 U.S. governmental and financial institutions have played a significant role in determining who has access to wealth creation through real estate, and the legacy of these decisions is evident in the current housing patterns. Wealth was transferred to suburban communities through governmental incentives that supported the development of these communities. Redlining65 by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and by banks and other financial institutions, as well as other policies, ensured that this wealth-creating opportunity was available only to some populations, systematically depriving Blacks and other communities of color from this opportunity.66 Simultaneously, governmental and banking practices ensured a drain of wealth from urban communities as “white-flight” was made possible and incentivized by these practices. Public housing in this country was initially segregated with developments built for White families and separate communities built for Black families and others. As government and banking produced more opportunities for White families outside of the urban centers, public housing became disproportionately home to communities of color. The culmination of a number of these factors is seen today through racially and economically segregated neighborhoods, cities, and towns. According to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies’ 2017 “State of the Nation’s Housing Report,” segregation by income in this country is on the rise. Over the 15-year period from 2000 to 2015, the percentage of low-income families living in high-poverty neighborhoods rose from 43 percent to 54 percent.67 Connecticut bears the distinction of being among the most segregated states and holds the greatest income disparities between the low income and wealthy populations.68 While Connecticut simultaneously boasts a high standard of living, great wealth, and ranks in the top 10 of many national indicators of well-being, it also confines far too many families— disproportionately, families of color—to low-income neighborhoods marked by high poverty and lower opportunity.


Matthew Desmond. “How Homeownership Became the Engine of American Inequality.” The New York Times. (May 9, 2017).


“Redlining” describes the discriminatory practice of fencing off areas where banks would avoid investments based on community demographics. During the heyday of redlining, the areas most frequently discriminated against were primarily Black, inner-city neighborhoods.


Richard Rothstein, The color of law: A forgotten history of how government segregated America. (2017). Liveright Publishing Corporation.


Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2017.


Emmanuel Adero and Sheryl Horowitz. “Race Equity in the Five Connecticut’s: A Kids Count Special Report.” (2017). Connecticut Kids Count Data Book.


While many of these causes are rooted in the legacy of historical actions, housing patterns are perpetuated by current housing development, local zoning, racial and economic stereotypes, and NIMBY-ism “not in my backyard” ideation. The lack of a county-based or regional approach to the development of housing, empowers each of Connecticut’s 169 towns and municipalities to develop their own approach to housing, which is effectuated through local zoning processes. Connecticut statute Sec. 8-30g seeks to address this and provides processes for monitoring the percentage of affordable housing by town and establishes protections when municipalities seek to block the development of affordable housing. Under this statute, towns that have less than 10 percent of their housing stock as affordable must allow the development of affordable or mixed-income developments unless they can prove to the Superior Court that the development would risk the health and safety of the public. Of the 169 Connecticut towns, currently only 31 towns are exempt, meaning that they offer more than 10 percent of their housing stock as affordable. Additionally, the state’s QAP seeks to incentivize development of affordable housing in areas of opportunity through its scoring system. Despite these efforts, little has changed with regard to economic and racial segregation. Many towns will allow the development of housing for seniors while not expanding options for disabled families and families raising children. Development decisions are justified under measures that indicate a desire to “maintain the character of the community” and steps are taken to create housing that residents of that community prefer. Additional steps at the state level are needed to create true opportunities for families of all racial and economic backgrounds to access housing opportunities in each of Connecticut’s 169 towns.

4.5 Connection of Housing to Education and Jobs The 2017 Kids Count report makes clear the correlation between housing and outcomes in a range of other indicators. “Concentrated poverty puts the entire neighborhood at risk.”69 The connection between under-resourced communities and poor health outcomes, criminal activity, dismal educational outcomes, and lack of employment opportunities is well outlined. As a result of historical and current actions, poverty concentrations remain in the urban core. Addressing the distribution of affordable housing options serves to address outcomes across these related sectors. As noted in the CT Mirror piece, “Connecticut rental housing is among the nation’s least affordable,” the lack of affordable housing creates “a selfperpetuating cycle: low income households can’t afford rent even in the places


Adero and Horowitz, 2017.

4-8 | State of Urban Connecticut

where rent is most affordable and the sacrifices they must make to keep a roof over their heads often result in other forms of instability. Moving around a lot may mean that children are repeatedly pulled out of school. It may also mean that parents have unstable access to transportation for work, risking unemployment. All of this, and more, intensifies the impacts of poverty and pushes households closer to homelessness.” When considering the historical context, the ongoing discriminatory effect of housing patterns on racial and economic segregation, the disparity in resources across neighborhoods, and the associated effects on health, educational, and economic access, it is obvious that housing remains an essential civil rights issue.

4.6 Housing Need for Special Populations While the crisis in affordable housing is affecting families of all backgrounds in every city and town throughout this nation, it is uniquely challenging for certain populations, including the re-entry population, the chronically homeless, and others in need of supportive housing. The re-entry population faces discrimination as they seek to access limited affordable housing resources. This occurs despite the fact that the federal government under the Obama administration made it clear that using criminal background checks to deny housing can constitute a discriminatory act. As many as 100 million U.S. adults—nearly one-third of the population—have a criminal record of some sort, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.70 The majority of these are based on misdemeanor crimes, not felonies. The New England states represent 5.3 million adults in this category. Mid-sized cities are home to a disproportionate number of returning adults. While Connecticut-specific statistics have been difficult to gather, it is known that cities such as New Haven welcome home more than 100 returning citizens each month who have completed their sentence or are on probation or parole.71 New Haven was the first Connecticut city to create a re-entry office within City Hall to specifically focus on the needs of this population. Early on, lack of housing was identified as an important barrier to successful re-entry. Beginning in 2009, ECC/HANH began partnering with the city’s re-entry office to create housing opportunities specifically aimed at this population. This initiative has grown over the years and remains rooted in the fundamental beliefs that “we


U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. “Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems.” Bureau of Justice Statistics.


S. Abdul-Karim. “New Haven Program Guides Those Released From Prison.” The Philadelphia Tribune. (2017).


are not our worst moments” and “everyone deserves opportunities.” Believing in both of these tenets, ECC/HANH’s re-entry program has offered opportunities to house hundreds of returning citizens through initiatives that provide opportunities without sacrificing the security of the developments. While the average recidivism rate over 5 years in Connecticut has hovered around 50 percent,72 ECC/HANH has shown much more optimistic results with its re-entry housing population. Sixty-six percent of returning residents are employed and have maintained their employment for more than 6 months. Each year between 33 percent and 50 percent have met all goals and graduate from the supportive services component of the program. To date, less than 10 percent have reoffended and left the program—a percentage significantly lower than the statewide average 5-year recidivism rate. While ECC/HANH is ahead of most other Connecticut housing providers in adopting these measures, it is surprising that more have not adopted these best practices. Federal guidance outlines how the reliance on criminal history has a discriminatory and disparate effect on protected classes and may well represent a Fair Housing violation. Given the track record of success with this 72

New England Public Policy Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The Criminal Population in New England: Records, Convictions, and Barriers to Employment. (March 2017).

4-10 | State of Urban Connecticut

population and federal guidance under the Obama administration, which has made clear the Fair Housing implications of relying on criminal background records to deny housing, all Connecticut housing providers should be significantly revising their approach to background screening. Connecticut policymakers have an opportunity to use their role to ensure that policies are updated. Many housing providers look to Connecticut CHFA and the U.S. Department of Housing (the Department) for needed development and operating resources for their affordable housing portfolio. CHFA and the Department should revise their funding awards to require compliance with federal guidance on Fair Housing as it relates to criminal background screening. Funding awards should not be made to developers and operators who fail to meet this standard. Further, necessary housing resources need to be devoted to providing housing opportunities for the re-entry population. All of the efforts that ECC/HANH have made have been within its already too-limited allocation of affordable housing resources. Connecticut and federal policymakers must be called upon to adequately invest in basic needs resources of affordable housing and ensure that within that allocation the Fair Housing implications of housing the re-entry population are met. And finally, as a community, we must all counter the myth that housing cannot be obtained if you have a criminal background. This can be accomplished by sharing accurate information regarding those housing providers like ECC/HANH that have already made needed changes, and by pressuring other housing managers who have not yet complied to address the discriminatory processes that they employ. We should do this as a community because it is the law, and it is the right and moral thing to do. We must all continue to recognize the humanity in others knowing that none of us are our worst moments and all of us deserve opportunities to thrive.


4.7 Recommendations The housing crisis in this country and in Connecticut calls for bold action on the part of residents, stakeholders, and policymakers. These efforts must be equity based—seeking to correct the policy errors of the past. They must be far-reaching with regional impacts that stretch beyond the borders of our urban centers. Solutions must increase the quality and supply of affordable housing and provide easier access for families in need. And these solutions must be rooted in other actions that address the income disparities and overall need for economic development.

4.7.1 Residents and Community Leaders •

Support local, regional, and statewide efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing by attending local zoning meetings, contacting elected officials, and sharing public testimony.

Report Fair Housing violations to appropriate authorities to prevent and correct abuses and to create a more equitable housing system for all.

Advocate for regional solutions to the state’s housing crisis.

4-12 | State of Urban Connecticut

4.7.2 Stakeholders •

Address the racial and economic segregation in Connecticut by confronting racism and conducting anti-racism work in every community. •

Fund and implement public education campaigns geared toward increasing awareness about the need for affordable housing, and dispelling myths.

Conduct anti-racism seminars statewide.

Address income disparities in Connecticut that contribute to the unaffordability of housing. •

Efforts to address housing instability must be coupled with job creation strategies and workforce development.

Economic development must target underserved communities seeking to create areas of opportunity where they do not currently exist.

Advocate for increased funding for affordable housing through governmental and philanthropic sources.

4.7.3 Policymakers •

Significantly increase funding for the preservation and development of affordable housing. •

Invest in urban revitalization and preservation of existing affordable housing stock in urban centers.

Require inclusionary zoning statewide to couple affordable housing development with market rate development.

Require a reset of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit funding levels in the wake of federal tax reform.

Enact policies to force compliance with state requirements for affordable housing in communities that currently fall below the threshold and are defined as areas of opportunity. •

Expand the jurisdiction of PHAs to develop housing.

Create regional processes for siting affordable housing.

Enhance penalties for failing to meet required affordable housing thresholds.

Improve access to affordable housing resources. •

Develop regional and statewide systems of access that facilitates access to wait lists, admission criteria, and applications.

Create preferences and set aside requirements to house special populations such as the re-entry population.


Amend the state’s QAP to require that developers who develop housing in areas of opportunity establish a preference for families on wait lists in urban centers.

4.8 Conclusion The shortage of affordable housing in Connecticut represents a crisis situation. For a number of historical and current-day practices, the supply of housing does not meet the need; the supply remains predominantly in urban centers, which concentrates poverty and leads to racial segregation; far too many families live in communities that lack the necessary resources to be deemed “opportunity areas,” which leads to continued disparities in health, educational, and employment opportunities; and ongoing patterns of discrimination continue to be perpetuated. We are all called on to take action because it is morally and legally required that we correct the inequities of today.

REFERENCES Abdul-Karim, S. (June 17, 2017). New Haven program guides those released from prison. The Philadelphia Tribune. Retrieved from Adero, E. & Horowitz, S. (2017). Race equity in the five Connecticut’s: A Kids Count special report. 2017. Connecticut Kids Count Data Book. Connecticut Association for Human Services, Inc. Boggs, E. & Dabrowski, L. (September 2017). Out of balance: Subsidized housing, segregation and opportunity in Connecticut. Open Communities Alliance. Current population demographics and statistics for Connecticut by age, gender, and race. Retrieved from Desmond, M. (May 9, 2017). How homeownership became the engine of American inequality. The New York Times. Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies. (2017). The state of the nation’s housing. Kasulis, J. (June 22, 2018). Connecticut rental housing is among the nation’s least affordable. The CT Mirror. New England Public Policy Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. (March 2017). The criminal population in New England: Records, convictions, and barriers to employment. Partnership for Strong Communities. (2015). Housing Data Profiles. Rothstein, R. (2017). The color of law: A forgotten history of how government segregated America. 2017. Liveright Publishing Corporation. South Central Regional Council of Governments. (March 2017). South central region, Connecticut demographic and socioeconomic trends. U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. Survey of state criminal history information systems. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from grants/244563.pdf.

5 | State of Urban Connecticut


HEALTH DISPARITIES by Ae-Sook Kim, PhD Assistant Professor of Management, Quinnipiac University Katherine M. McLeod, PhD Assistant Professor of Medical Sciences, Quinnipiac University Teresa C. Twomey, EdD, RN Assistant Professor of Nursing & Director, Global Nursing Experiences, Quinnipiac University

“We take it as a basic fact that we all live and act in bodies that literally embody—biologically, across the life course—our societal and ecological context.” – N. Krieger73


N. Krieger. (2005), p. 8.

5-2 | State of Urban Connecticut

5.1 Introduction Although the U.S. has made improvements, disparities in health and health care persist at the national, state, and community levels.74 Racial and ethnic disparities, for example, are reported to be consistent across a range of illnesses and health care services, even after controlling for socioeconomic differences, access-related factors, clinical needs, preferences, and appropriateness of care.75 According to the Institute of Medicine, disparities in a burden of disease and access to and use of care can be explained by (1) operation of health systems and existing regulatory environments, and (2) racial and ethnic discrimination resulting from bias, prejudice, and/or stereotypes at the individual or patient-provider level.76 Despite the usefulness of this explicit definition of disparities, it is important to understand that health and health care disparities have many dimensions that are based not only on race and ethnicity within the population, but also extend to age, sex, gender, social, economic, and environmental factors. According to the Current Population Survey, 91 percent of the U.S. population has some type of health insurance—either private or a government plan.77 Despite the fact that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 expanded insurance coverage substantially—through Medicaid expansion, marketplace premium tax credits for people whose household income falls between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, and insurance market regulations for people with pre-existing conditions and dependent children up to age 26—there are still 28.5 million Americans who remain uninsured.78 Further, about 41 million Americans—that is 28 percent of the insured—have reported that they are underinsured, meaning that their out-of-pocket cost or deductible is too high when compared with their household income. Therefore, the underinsured have high rates of medical bill problems and debt, which are similar to those of the uninsured; they are more likely not to get needed care because of the cost. Additionally, low-income individuals with health problems have higher rates of underinsurance.79


K. Orgera and S. Artiga. (2018). Disparities in Health and Health Care: Five Key Questions and Answers. A. Stratton, M. Hynes, and A. Nepaul (2009). The 2009 Connecticut Health Disparities Report. The Connecticut Department of Public Health.


Orgera and Artiga, 2018. B. Smedley, A. Stith, & A. Nelson (Eds.). (2003). “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care.” Institute of Medicine.


Smedley, Stith, and Nelson, 2003.


U.S. Census Bureau. (2017a). “Current Population Survey.”


U.S. Census Bureau, (2017a).


S. Collins, M. Gunja, and M. Doty. (October 2017). “How Well Does Insurance Coverage Protect Consumers From Health Care Costs? Findings From the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey.”


Connecticut is one of the 34 states that expanded Medicaid as of September 2018 (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).80 Through this expansion, more than 200,000 adults are covered under Husky D as of 2017,81 dropping the state’s uninsured rate from 9.4 percent in 2013 to 5.5 percent in 2017.82 This significant drop is especially noticeable in the four largest cities of New Haven, Waterbury, Bridgeport, and Hartford.83 However, rising health care costs—through higher premiums or higher out-of-pocket costs—will continuously lead many lowincome populations to remain uninsured.84 Despite the improvement in health insurance coverage, Connecticut residents suffer from inadequate health coverage. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Results, 10.5 percent of adults in Connecticut did not see a doctor in the past 12 months because of cost, a statistic slightly lower than the national average of 13.5 percent.85 The data tell us that, compared to the national average, Connecticut has more health care resources such as the number of active physicians (3.0 vs. 4.1), nurse practitioners (0.5 vs. 0.9), physician assistants (0.3 vs. 0.4), and dentists (0.6 vs. 0.7) per 1,000 population.86 However, underinsurance continuously causes Connecticut residents to encounter various problems due to costs such as lack of access to primary and specialty care doctors, routine health care, and prescription drugs.

5.2 Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities Five main categories influence health and health disparities: genetics and biology (e.g., age or sex), individual behaviors (e.g., smoking or physical activity), health services (e.g., health insurance or access to providers), social circumstances (e.g., income or education), and environmental factors (e.g., housing or geography).87 The social determinants of health—social, economic, and environmental factors—are largely recognized for their potential effects on health. Healthy People 2020 groups the social determinants of health into five key domains: •


Neighborhood and the built environment


Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2018). “State Health Facts.”


J. Stearns. (May 2018). Report: “CT’s Medicaid Expansion Increased Coverage, Care Access.”


U.S. Census Bureau, (2017a).


A. Becker. (July 2017). New report: “Urban Institute Analysis of the ACA’s Impact on Connecticut.”


Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (September 2017a). “Key Facts About the Uninsured Population.”


Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (September 2017b). “State Health Facts.”


Kaiser Family Foundation, 2018; U.S. Census Bureau. (2017b). “National Population Totals and Components of Change: 2010-2017.”


L. McGovern, G. Miller, and P. Hughes-Cromwick. (2014). “The Relative Contribution of Multiple Determinants to Health Outcomes.”

5-4 | State of Urban Connecticut

Health and health care

Social and community context

Economic stability

Each of these five domains encompasses several keys, and all often overlap social determinants of health. Social determinants of health that fall within the Health and Health Care domain include access to health care, access to primary care, and health literacy. The emphasis on access to care is significant as it affects one’s overall physical, social, and mental health, as well as quality of life. Thus, the Healthy People 2020 goal is to “improve access to comprehensive quality health care services” with a focus on insurance coverage, health services, and timeliness of care.88

5.3 Focus Group Outcomes: Two Major Issues The two major health-related themes that emerged from the focus group interviews centered on (1) the lack of access to adequate health insurance, and (2) limited access to health services (refer to Figure 5-1). Figure 5-1: Two major issues identified by focus groups.


lack of access to adequate health insurance


limited access to health services

Health Disparities

The limited and inadequate access to health services are associated with a number of social, economic, and environmental factors. One of the primary factors is the high cost of medical insurance and services. According to one focus group participant, “I believe you can do nothing if you aren’t healthy. You can do nothing, I don’t care what is going on – if you’re not healthy, nothing is going to happen.” As another interview participant noted, “The linkage that doesn’t get looked at enough is the way in which health is a social determinant for education and education is a social determinant for health.” Notably, education strongly correlates to income and employment, affecting where individuals and families live, and if they can afford health insurance.89 Analysis of focus groups revealed a lack of education as the central barrier to access higher-paying employment positions, affordable and quality housing, health care and health services.


Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2018). Healthy People 2020.


N. McGill. (2016). “Education Attainment Linked to Health Throughout Lifespan: Exploring Social Determinants of Health.” The Nation’s Health.


5.4 Lack of Access to Adequate Health Insurance Lack of health insurance coverage or the inability to pay for services out-ofpocket is one of the greatest barriers to access and use of health care services and is associated with delays in seeking medical care, lack of a usual source of medical care such as a primary care physician, lack of appropriate care, increased risk of poor health outcomes, and increased health disparities.90 Racial disparities also exist in access to health insurance. The uninsurance rate of people of color including Hispanics and Black adults and children is much higher compared to Whites (see Figure 5-2). Nonelderly Adults White 117.6M


Asian 12.3M


Hispanic 34.1M


Black 24.1M


Children White 39.9M

Source: Artiga, S., Foutz, J., and Damico, A. (2018, p. 4). Health Coverage by Race and Ethnicity: Changes Under the ACA. Issue Brief. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. San Francisco: CA. Note: The figure is based on the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of March 2017 Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

Asian 3.9M Hispanic 19.5M Black 10.8M Employer/Other Private

Medicaid/Other Public


Focus group participants shared their concerns that employment played a critical role in their gaps in health care coverage and unmet health care needs (see Figure 5-3). They note that, of the jobs available for individuals with limited education and skills, most do not offer health insurance or any other benefits. Health, similar to housing, was referred to as a civil rights issue, where individuals are prevented from receiving access to information and resources that improve their health situation. Participants also referenced the fact that routine health problems are exacerbated by the lack of health insurance, the burden of large medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses: …like I don’t have health insurance, so I’m going to the hospital with no health insurance. My job doesn’t provide health insurance… – Millennials Focus Group Participant 90

Figure 5-2: Health coverage of nonelderly adults and children by race/ethnicity, 2016.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2018.

5-6 | State of Urban Connecticut

Figure 5-3: Focus group participants: Insurance type (N=70).


No insurance





I have a senior mother [who’s] 85, senior father [who’s] 91, now suffering Parkinson’s, [I’m] taking care of them [and] their obligations. They have pensions and don’t qualify for senior care. Can’t get them help anywhere so whatever little bit I have […] goes to helping buy certain things that their insurance doesn’t pay. – Seniors Focus Group Participant

5.5 Limited Access to Health Services According to Healthy People 2020, access to comprehensive, quality health care services is essential to promote and maintain health, prevent and manage disease, reduce unnecessary disability and premature death, and achieve health equity for all Americans.91 Many individuals and families experience barriers that decrease access to care including:


High cost of care

Inadequate or no health insurance coverage

Lack of availability of services

Not having a usual source of care

Lack of transportation

Geographic availability

Lack of culturally competent care

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2018.


According to Orgera and Artiga, “People of color generally face more access barriers and utilize care less than whites.92 For example, nonelderly adults, Hispanics, Blacks, and American Indians and Alaska Natives are more likely than Whites to delay or go without needed care.” (See Figure 5-4.) Figure 5-4: Proportion of nonelderly adults who did not receive care or delayed needed care in the past year by race/ethnicity, 2016.


Source: Orgera, K., and Artiga, S. (2018, p. 4). Disparities in health and health care: Five key questions and answers. Issue Brief. Henry J. Family Foundation. San Francisco: CA.


Hispanic Notes: 1. *American Indians and Alaska Natives; **Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.


2. The figure is based on the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of CDC, 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system.


NHOPI* Did not see a doctor for needed care because of cost

Delayed needed care for reasons other than cost

Those barriers to accessing health services increase the risk of poor health outcomes and may lead to:


Unmet health needs

Increased emotional distress

Delays in receiving appropriate care

Inability to get preventive services

Financial burdens, including higher treatment costs

Increased hospitalizations

K. Orgera and S. Artiga. (2018). “Disparities in Health and Health Care: Five Key Questions and Answers.”

4 | State 5-8 | State ofof Urban Urban Connecticut Connecticut

In Connecticut, disparities in access to all levels of health care exist, including primary care services. These disparities are influenced by sex, age, race, and ethnicity with evidence pointing to interrelating social, economic, and environmental factors. Focus group participants of the study shared their concerns regarding the limited availability and access to health services, particularly among millennials and seniors. Several participants described the limited availability of basic health services and greater difficulty accessing specialized health care. Limited access to health services refers to both limited health service options in the community and the need to travel long distances for needed health care. For some of the participants, lack of access to needed health services reduced their ability to function and complete basic daily responsibilities. I went to the hospital, I hurt my knee…So I go into the ER and when I get hit with this huge bill and I got to pay [out of] the pocket. But if I didn’t go out there for my knee, then I wouldn’t know what’s going on with it... I can’t go to therapy, can’t afford that out of pocket…I stayed there for days [to] fix the problem. I have to have surgery but I can’t afford the surgery. And I don’t have a job where they provide health insurance for me and I probably should be on state health insurance, but I don’t even think that would even help me me and my mom looked up like stuff for health insurance, but nothing is going to pay for what I need. Everything I have to pay out of pocket and my job doesn’t offer me health insurance because I’m only a part-time worker… – Millennials Focus Group Participant The interrelated dynamic between the social determinants of health, including income, quality and affordable housing, and health disparities revealed multiple examples of ongoing financial challenges and social barriers experienced by Connecticut residents on a daily basis. The primary examples are listed below: •

A significant increase in the number of people paying more than 30 percent of their household income on housing

Individuals constantly moving from one community to another

Major health care systems and hospitals that are not engaged in community health; and

Heightened fear by undocumented immigrants who seek health care and other social services.

There are substantial issues for individuals in obtaining housing, transportation, and health care as these elements are directly influenced by an individual’s ability to earn and enjoy a living wage.


5.6 Recommendations

5.6.1 Residents and Community Leaders The first step to eliminating health disparities is improving the health status of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged population in the community.93 To do this, we need to empower the members of impoverished communities and improve community capacities for healthy environments, neighborhoods, and schools; increase healthier food options; and build environments that are conducive to physical activity. Community leaders should play an active role and lead these initiatives in collaboration with residents and key stakeholders. Specific recommendations are as follows:


Build partnerships among hospitals and community organizations, including, but not limited to, local churches, schools, not-for-profit organizations, and health departments to improve the residents’ wellbeing and health.

Based on the partnership with key stakeholders, develop leadership training programs for residents of impoverished communities to help them assume ownership of, and engage in, initiatives for healthier communities that contribute ultimately to the community’s development and self-sufficiency.

Participate in leadership training programs and advocate for healthy community efforts.

Grantmakers in Health. (March 2009). “Effective Community Programs to Fight Health Disparities.”

5-10 | State of Urban Connecticut

5.6.2 Stakeholders Stakeholders in health care include patients, providers, employers, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and the government. Involving stakeholders in decision-making and the decision-making process is essential to address the issues and needs at hand. Involving key stakeholders will also facilitate successful implementation of programs and policies. Specific recommendations are as follows: •

Increase advocacy efforts by key stakeholders, which play a critical role in health policymaking, including improved access to quality care and protection and enhancement of patient and caregiver rights. Stakeholders must serve as advocates for health equity at the state, local, and systems level to expand access to health care and reduce disparities in health and health services.

Organize a grassroots effort that utilizes a local, group-up approach focusing on the community needs of health promotion, prevention efforts that address health disparities, and social determinants of health.

Offer cultural sensitivity training to health care providers to encourage recognition of implicit biases and stereotyping, thereby enhancing equal access to quality health care services.

Encourage collaboration of stakeholders in research focused on lack of adequate health insurance and limited access to health services to enhance the relevance of the work to those most affected.

5.6.3 Policymakers With an increasingly diverse population and widening income gap, health disparities are likely to persist or increase. It is crucial that state legislators pursue policy approaches both in and outside the health care arena to reduce health and health care disparities in their communities and the state of Connecticut to achieve more equitable health care outcomes. Specific recommendations are as follows: •

Improve the collection, measurement, and use of health data by social determinants of health and fund the use of data to establish benchmarks for reducing disparities in health care.

Support research, grant programs, committees, and task forces dedicated to addressing issues related to health disparities and social determinants of health.

Convene and collaborate with stakeholders and support partnerships across sectors including state departments, public, and private partners to leverage efforts and strategies to identify and address health and health care disparities.


Maintain existing Medicaid coverage, which has already led to a significant reduction in the state’s uninsured rate and created a significant source of coverage for preventive health services and behavioral health care.94

Build and support clinical-community integration programs to improve coordination of care in reaching underserved communities and addressing unmet social needs.95

REFERENCES Artiga, S., Foutz, J., & Damico, A. (2018). Health coverage by race and ethnicity: Changes under the ACA. Issue Brief. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. San Francisco: CA. Becker, A. (July 2017). New report: Urban Institute analysis of the ACA’s impact on Connecticut. Connecticut Health Foundation. Retrieved from Collins, S., Gunja, M., & Doty, M. (October 2017). How well does insurance coverage protect consumers from health care costs? Findings from the commonwealth fund biennial health insurance survey, 2016. Issue Brief. The Commonwealth Fund.


Connecticut Health Foundation. (2018). “A Healthier Connecticut: Improving the Health of Our State in 2018 and Beyond.”


W.H. Dietz, B. Belay, D. Bradley, S. Kahan, N.D. Muth, E. Sanchez, and L. Solomon. (2017). “A Model Framework That Integrates Community and Clinical Systems for the Prevention and Management of Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases.” W. Powell. (2017). “Key Elements for Advancing Clinical-Community Integration.” Policy Brief: Connecticut Health Foundation.

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Connecticut Health Foundation. (2018). A healthier Connecticut: Improving the health of our state in 2018 and beyond. Retrieved from Dietz, W. H., Belay, B., Bradley, D., Kahan, S., Muth, N. D., Sanchez, E., & Solomon, L. (2017). A model framework that integrates community and clinical systems for the prevention and management of obesity and other chronic diseases. Retrieved from uploads/2017/01/A-Model-Framework-That-Integrates-Community-and-Clinical-Systems-for-thePrevention-and-Management-of-Obesity-and-Other-Chronic-Diseases.pdf Grantmakers in Health. (March 2009). Effective community programs to fight health disparities. (Issue Brief. No. 33). Washington, D.C. Retrieved from Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (September 2017). Key facts about the uninsured population. Retrieved from Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2019). State health facts. Retrieved from Krieger, N. (2005). Introduction. In M. Drexler (Ed.), Health disparities and the body politic (pp. 5-10). Cambridge: Harvard School of Public Health. Krieger, N. (2018). Healthy People 2020. Access to health services. Retrieved from McGill, N. (2016). Education attainment linked to health throughout lifespan: Exploring social determinants of health. The Nation’s Health, 46(6), 1-19. McGovern, L., Miller G., & Hughes-Cromwick, P. (2014). The relative contribution of multiple determinants to health outcomes. Health affairs. Retrieved from hpb20140821.404487/full/ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2018). Healthy People 2020. Social Determinants of Health. Retrieved from Orgera , K., & Artiga, S. (2018). Disparities in health and health care: Five key questions and answers. Issue Brief. Henry J. Family Foundation. San Francisco: CA. Powell, W. (2018). Key elements for advancing clinical-community integration. Policy Brief: Connecticut Health Foundation. Retrieved from integration/ Smedley, B., Stith, A., & Nelson, A. (Eds.). (2003). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Institute of Medicine. Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press. Stearns, J. (May 2018). Report: CT’s Medicaid expansion increased coverage, care access. Hartford Business. Retrieved from report-cts-medicaid-expansion-increased-coverage-care-access Stratton, A., Hynes, M., & Nepaul, A. (2009). The 2009 Connecticut health disparities report. The Connecticut Department of Public Health. Hartford: CT. U.S. Census Bureau. (2018). Health insurance coverage in the United States: 2017. Retrieved from U.S. Census Bureau. (2018). National population totals and components of change: 2010-2018. Retrieved from


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TRANSPORTATION AND MOBILITY by Michael J. Critelli, Esq. Past National Urban League Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chairman and CEO of Pitney Bowes (Retired)

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6.1 Introduction Connecticut’s transportation systems do not fully address the mobility needs of Connecticut’s residents, especially those with lower incomes, as well as senior citizens (a growing part of its population) and people with disabilities. Many people rely on public transportation because the cost of automobile ownership and operation is prohibitive. By far, the most important public transportation option for lower-income residents is bus service. In this section, we will focus on the two most important purposes for transportation for low-income populations: employment and health care.

6.2 Gaining Access A DataHaven December 2014 report describes the transportation options for lower-income residents of the Greater New Haven Region and finds that one in four households lacks access to a passenger car. It further notes that “In the Dixwell, Dwight, Hill, and West Rock neighborhoods, nearly half of households have no car.”96 Although the options are improving, public transportation services are particularly substandard for meeting the two most important needs of the lowincome population: access to employment and health care. As we assess these different transportation uses, several common themes emerge:


Connecticut’s public transportation system is designed around an increasingly obsolete fixed-schedule, fixed-route service model, which is focused on peak service, when low-income residents need more on-demand, off-route, off-peak service. Entry-level, professional and managerial jobs in health care, restaurant, and hospitality sectors are more plentiful and pay more on 2nd and 3rd shifts, when bus service is poorest.

The state focuses on the broad-based availability of public transportation, not its user-friendliness for the many different purposes for which different segments of the population access it. Current transportation modeling and analytics fail to take into account how transportation matches the needs of its user groups.

“Rules of thumb,” which transit planners are comfortable using, are insufficient. To gather data that can be used to make alternative services more cost-effective for low-income residents, the state and towns must survey those who use public transportation to better understand what would work, and create a robust ongoing data collection system relative to travel habits and needs.

DataHaven. “How Transportation Problems Keep People Out of the Workforce in Greater New Haven.” A report by the Greater New Haven Job Access and Transportation Working Group. (December 2014.)


Connecticut’s system is designed to serve those who travel between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. There is currently no provision for individuals traveling outside of this time window.

The state focuses mainly on bus stop and train station access to define satisfactory service, not the end-to-end trip, which may involve excessively long travel and transfers between uncoordinated systems.

Aging infrastructure and road congestion make travel difficult and unreliable. Trains are delayed too often because of maintenance and weather issues. Buses travel on crowded urban streets, which results in delays. The traveler experience on all forms of public transportation is substandard. Stations, platforms, and bus stops are poorly maintained. Suburban stations are locked after 5 p.m. Real-time train and bus departure information is not routinely available.

A 2014 Regional Plan Association study97 describes the rail infrastructure’s substandard quality, but it is true of buses as well.

Transportation system operators fail to understand that public transportation travelers are part of an ecosystem that includes employers and co-workers, family members, business partners, and caregivers. They fail to provide real-time precise information. The technology to offer this valued service is already in place in Germany.98

One area that has seen improvement is the availability of services being offered online and through E commerce, which reduces the number of trips low-income people need to make. Many lower income, older, and disabled residents get broader access to food and pharmaceuticals through improved delivery systems, and for access to government services, online or in the mail.

Among the various public transportation alternatives, buses generally are the most cost-effective option. Commuter trains are expensive. Taxis are both expensive and insufficiently available. Uber and other ride-hailing services are unevenly available, and at peak times, priced far too high for low-income residents because of “surge pricing.”

Additionally, we find that lower-income populations are particularly affected by the following scenarios: 1. “Job sprawl” and off-peak employment needs make public transportation inadequate for many low-income workers. An improving economy has caused more employers to create or subsidize additional transportation options, beyond what the state offers. The state’s recent comprehensive report on bus service makes clear why additional options are needed.99


Regional Plan Association. “Getting Back on Track: Unlocking the Full Potential of the New Haven Line.” (January 2014.)


The Verge. “Interactive Bus and Train Map.” Accessed at


Connecticut Statewide Bus Study. “Prepared For Connecticut Department of Transportation” by VHB. (February 2018.)

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Relative to peak period bus travel to and from work, the state focuses heavily on optimal bus stop placement and number and frequency of stops. It has noted that, in many communities, the user data that would enable it to evaluate the quality of bus service does not exist. Moreover, there is no systematic way of collecting it. The state clearly does not focus on trip duration, traffic congestion delays, transfer frequency, or trip safety. It also does not focus on the needs of those who work 2nd and 3rd shifts, such as restaurant and hotel workers, and health care system employees in 24/7 hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. The state’s focus on improving existing fixed route systems between what it describes as “peak” times, 6 a.m.–7 p.m., fails to serve significant employment needs. The following story illustrates low-income employee challenges, and a 2014 Greater New Haven DataHaven Study conveys the best available data. This study is the only recent one to survey low-income public transit users to get a granular understanding of their challenges. 2. Angela’s story: a mismatch between deeply affordable housing locations and jobs. Angela is a single mother with two preschool-aged children. She became a manager at a coffee shop in Darien, but lives in Stamford public housing. To get to work at 7 a.m., she takes a bus to the Stamford Transportation Center and a train to Darien. When the coffee shop owners later decided to open at 6 a.m. to secure more commuter business, the new schedule was detrimental to Angela’s continued employment there. Because public transportation did not provide adequate pre-6 a.m. options, Angela used Uber to drop off her children and continue to work. But because Uber used pre-6 a.m. surge pricing, the commuting cost for her was prohibitive, so she had to quit her job. 3. Why public transportation is inadequate for many employed, low-income people. Because of an inadequate supply of deeply affordable housing in or near communities in which jobs are available, Angela and others like her commute from communities where affordable housing is available to communities that offer “living wage” jobs. These job locations are not organized around public transportation, and, for low-income residents needing access to them, they constitute “job sprawl.” Other states and countries concentrate their efforts to transition into mixed-use zoning in urban areas and locate deeply affordable housing close enough to jobs that low-income residents can walk, take bicycles, or have short bus rides to work. Because of antiquated zoning practices in wealthier communities with ample employment opportunities and the depressed economic conditions in


cities like Bridgeport, Hartford, and Waterbury, that option is not viable in the short term. The ability to transport low-income people from their residences to where “living wage� jobs are plentiful is critical. Route location and design, bus stop placement, scheduling, and amenities are more important. The DataHaven study, cited above, provides some compelling insights about the deficiencies in current bus systems.100 A significant percentage of those who travel by bus from home to work need to transfer. The bus schedules are not well coordinated, even at peak travel times. Only 27 percent of Greater New Haven residents surveyed indicated that they could do a reliable commute of 90 minutes or less each way to get to and from work. Because many bus services reduce service after 7 p.m., the number of residents near a useful bus stop drops from 69 percent during peak periods to 42 percent off peak. Buses, which share roads and streets with other vehicles, are unreliable because of traffic congestion; trains, which some low-income people like Angela use for part of their work commute, are unreliable because of deteriorating infrastructure. Larger employers that need many employees to commute to a single location work with a variety of transportation providers and are creating and/or subsidizing acceptable transportation options. However, these accommodations do not exist when employees commute to small or geographically dispersed locations.


DataHaven report. (December 2014.)

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As the DataHaven study concludes: The vast majority of entry- and mid-level jobs in Greater New Haven are now found in suburban towns. Affluent “outer ring” suburbs have tens of thousands of lower-wage employment opportunities, but also have limited bus service and a shortage of housing that might be affordable for lower-wage workers.101 4. The public transportation system fails low-income Medicaid patients and others who need frequent health care services, such as chemotherapy, dialysis, or medical consultations. Group transportation services are specifically available for Medicaid patients, particularly those with regularly scheduled appointments for services such as dialysis, chemotherapy, and regular consultations for chronic disease conditions. This type of transportation, required under Medicaid, is called “nonemergency medical transportation.” There are many different approaches, but if any of them are poorly executed, they fail to meet patient needs. In Connecticut, patients often wait well over an hour beyond the time the service provider is supposed to arrive, in part because of the geographic dispersion of Medicaid patients and the health care facilities they visit. The poor on-time attendance of Medicaid patients is often the main reason doctors discontinue accepting them. In fact, a class-action suit was recently filed against the state’s Department of Social Services on behalf of Medicaid patients alleging that transportation services are inadequate because of poor service by the state’s transportation vendor, Veyo.102

6.3 Positive Developments There has been an increase in the number of services that provide grocery, restaurant meal, pharmaceutical, and other retail item deliveries. Same-day delivery for pharmaceuticals is in its infancy, but it relieves patients of significant burdens when they cannot get to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. Additionally, more services, such as telemedicine, are available online, and obviate the need for medical appointments. More government and private retail services can be accessed online, and E-commerce solutions are available for purchases that used to require a trip. In effect, low-income people can get more done from where they live than was the case a decade ago. Uber pool is a good option for shopping, although expensive if unsubsidized. Uber is creative in structuring offerings that work for specific populations with odd work hours and trips. The ability to track a train or bus, using location intelligence services, is not yet broadly deployed. 101



C. Zieller, and O. Lank. (2019). “CT Lawyers File Suit Against Dept. of Social Services Due to Veyo Issues.” Eyewitness News.


6.4 Recommendations Solving these transportation challenges related to work and health care service will require the coordinated actions of multiple stakeholders. Transportation authorities, planners, and operators must change how they view transportation. •

Scheduling, capacity management, and traveler experiences must be matched to what every part of the population needs. Transportation authorities must initially use surveys and capture travel data continuously to adapt to what users need. Cities that have done a better job of meeting the needs of underserved populations typically survey user needs before making route, scheduling, and infrastructure upgrade decisions. For example, Houston successfully created additional capacity by redesigning bus routes to increase ridership and effectiveness for virtually all users. Today, almost everyone has a Smartphone, which could be highly effective for continuously asking low-income people about travel habits and unmet needs. The Connecticut Department of Transportation should analyze bus routing, scheduling, and stop placement as if it were creating a new system to meet user needs, not solely to modify an existing system.103


J. Laughlin. (2017). “SEPTA Looks to Texas for Ideas for Bus Route Redesign.” The Inquirer.

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As a Greater Washington metropolitan area study notes, long bus routes with indirect routing and frequent stops all contribute to making bus service slower, less reliable, and less attractive.104 •

Transportation authorities must build a robust, subsidized, and flexible on-demand mobility system alongside our fixed systems.

States should work with ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, and Via to supplement traditional fixed-route buses and light rail to enable more flexible services for poorly served populations, and should subsidize these services to make them as affordable as fixed-route bus services.105 As a study of Allegheny County transportation by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland indicates, ride-hailing services work best when sophisticated data analytics identify geographic residential and/or geographic employment concentrations to maximize efficiency.106 Individual employers must work with alternative staffing organizations to provide an integrated recruiting, training, and transportation system for lowincome workers. One successful model is the use of “alternative staffing organizations.” This white paper describes the role of these kinds of organizations in helping realize employment opportunities for the “hard-to-employ”:107 For example, First Step Staffing operates outside of Connecticut to get trainees and workers to pick-up points and arranges with Uber or other providers to transport them to a single location convenient to a geographically concentrated single or cluster of employers. This would not solve Angela’s problem, but it eliminates many work-related transportation issues. Chambers of commerce and business councils need to work with transportation providers to develop and deploy alternatives for low-income workers who are employable by small businesses. The transportation issues of low-income people working for individual small businesses cannot be addressed solely by those businesses. Custom solutions that work for businesses with compatible schedules need to be developed. Business councils can work with their small business members and transportation services like Uber and Lyft to create group transportation options beyond the ability of a single employer to support. This is far more difficult than what First Step Staffing does, but it is not impossible.


Greater Washington Partnership. “Rethinking the Bus: Five Essential Steps for Improving Mobility in the Capital Region.” Issue Brief. (September 2018.)


Wheels to Work. “A Ride Services Website for Kent County Residents.” Accessed at


Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. “A Long Ride to Work: Job Access and the Potential Impact of Ride-Hailing in the Pittsburgh Area.” (September 5, 2018.)


Farhana, Hossain, and Richard Kazis. “Temporary Staffing for the Hard-To-Employ: Findings From a Brief Study of Alternative Staffing Organizations.” MDRC. (July 2015).


Instead of defending litigation on Medicaid transportation, the state should be finding and implementing “best practices” for non-emergency medical transport.

This white paper identifies a number of common sense “best practices” that, if implemented, would reduce the frequency of bad patient experiences. There are trade-offs among the many different ways to deliver these services. For example, having a regular pick-up service provider enables the firm to understand the unique needs of patients with recurring medical transportation needs. On the other hand, this reduces flexibility and efficiency from having the nearest available driver pick up and drop off patients. Every low-income community is different, and, as we have seen with employers, gathering and analyzing user data is an essential first step.108 •

Health care systems need to organize their outpatient services with flexibility built into the schedule for Medicaid patients.

The problem of uncertain scheduling for Medicaid patients is predictable. Specially outfitted vans driven by specially trained drivers who pick up multiple patients, including patients with behavioral health challenges, encounter a number of potential points of failure. The health care systems and providers of these non-emergency medical transportation services need to work together to minimize friction and “no shows” by patients. •

Many underutilized revenue opportunities can increase both public and private capital for transportation system capacity upgrades: •

The state needs to tax heavy electric vehicles, which create greater wear and tear on state roads, but currently pay no fuel taxes.

Tolls need to be instituted without penalizing low-income residents driving to work.

Commuter rail station parking is significantly underpriced to permit holders, as evidenced by the number of permits held by those who spend only a few months a year in those locations.

Advertising revenue from mobile transit applications should be explored, and digital advertising at stations, on platforms, and on trains and buses needs to be increased.

Concession revenues inside rail stations need to be increased.

None of these actions individually will be effective, but collectively they will increase the potential for private capital to be leveraged to upgrade our public transportation system.


Luke, Mellor. “Best Practices for Non-Emergency Patient Transportation Companies.” Pantonium white paper. (February 17, 2015).

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6.5 Conclusion Our low-income populations deserve transportation equity. We are walking away from huge opportunities to enable many more residents to achieve their full human and economic potential. Missing from the return-on-investment calculation is the increased revenue potential of higher income and sales tax collections from, and lower welfare payments to, residents who can be added to our workforce because of better transportation options.

REFERENCES Connecticut Statewide Bus Study. (February 2018). Prepared for Connecticut Department of Transportation by VHB. Accessed at ct_statewide_bus_study_final_report_february_2018v2.pdf DataHaven. (December 2014). How transportation problems keep people out of the workforce in Greater New Haven. Report by the Greater New Haven Job Access and Transportation Working Group. Accessed at WEB_pgs.pdf. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. (September 5, 2018). A long ride to work: Job access and the potential impact of ride-hailing in the Pittsburgh area. Accessed at region/article?ID=305fbdd4-7508-4ede-a0c8-24793f178831. Greater Washington Partnership. (September 2018). Rethinking the bus: Five essential steps for improving mobility in the capital region. Issue Brief. Accessed at http://www.greaterwashingtonpartnership. com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/201809_GWP_Issue-Brief_Rethinking-the-Bus.pdf. Hossain, F., & Kazis, R. (July 2015). Temporary staffing for the hard-to-employ: Findings from a brief study of alternative staffing organizations. MDRC. Accessed at temporary_staffing.pdf. Laughlin, J. (September 11, 2017). SEPTA looks to Texas for ideas for bus route redesign. The Inquirer. Accessed at Mellor, L. (February 17, 2015). Best practices for non-emergency patient transportation companies. Pantonium white paper. Accessed at Regional Plan Association. (January 2014). Getting back on track: Unlocking the full potential of the New Haven Line. Accessed at The Verge. Interactive bus and train map. Accessed at travic-bus-train-interactive-map. Wheels to Work. A ride services website for Kent County residents. Accessed at Zieller, C., & Lank, O. (January 9, 2019). CT lawyers file suit against Dept. of Social Services due to Veyo issues. WFSB – Channel 3 Eyewitness News. Accessed at ct-lawyers-file-lawsuit-against-dept-of-social-services-due/article_c4da2186-144b-11e9-82a1d7862f800097.html.


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by Kica Matos, Esq. Director, Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice, Community Change Power from the Ground Up

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With each new wave of immigrants arriving at our shores, governments have responded with a range of attitudes—from the welcoming to the hostile to somewhere in between. Since only the federal government has the power to establish and enforce immigration laws, Presidential administrations have historically wielded tremendous influence in shaping the nation’s immigration laws and affecting the lives of immigrants nationwide. Despite the tremendous power the federal government exerts in this area, states can and do enact policies that also affect immigrants in significant ways, including those related to integration, access to public services, and protection. The challenges immigrants face in Connecticut—and around the country, have recently been significantly altered. Since 2017, numerous draconian policies have been advanced and have had devastating consequences for immigrants.

7.1 Introduction For the last two years, immigrants have been greatly affected by a combination of extreme policies and executive actions that have radically altered the landscape. Perhaps no community has been more under attack than the undocumented immigrant. The ways in which states and locales have reacted to the new immigration policies are particularly significant. In their daily lives, immigrants interact with local law enforcement and government agencies on a regular basis, and the policies, practices, and perspectives that local and state officials set can heavily influence the experience of the immigrant residents and the safety and cohesion of the community at large. If immigrants trust the police, believe they are valued, respected, and welcomed in their communities, then they will be less afraid to engage with law enforcement and more willing to participate in civic life. This section examines the anti-immigrant policies that have advanced over the past 2 years, the challenges that immigrants face, and the way that Connecticut has responded to these policies. This section concludes with recommendations for what legislators, stakeholders, and communities can do to continue to support immigrants in Connecticut.

7.2 Connecticut’s Immigrants A snapshot109 of immigrants in Connecticut reveals the following: •


An estimated 15 percent of Connecticut residents (519,648) are immigrants, and an additional 14 percent are U.S.-born citizens with at least one immigrant parent.

American Immigration Council, “Immigrants in Connecticut.” (October 13, 2017).


Educational levels vary among immigrants, with the majority (34%) having a college degree or higher and the minority (19%) possessing less than a high school diploma.

Nearly one quarter (24%) of the immigrant population is undocumented (120,000 individuals) and an estimated 5 percent of children from Connecticut have at least one undocumented parent.

In 2014, households headed by immigrants contributed an estimated $3.3 billion in federal taxes and $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. That same year, the estimated amount that undocumented immigrants paid at the state and local level was $124.7 million.

Immigrant labor constituted an estimated 17.6 percent of the workforce in Connecticut in 2015.

Immigrants face unique challenges in a number of areas, including the education system, employment, housing, and access to health services. Some of these are examined below.

7.3 Education Among the systemic challenges that immigrant students face in the area of education are language barriers, discrimination, a lack of cultural competency, and the chronic and persistent achievement gap that continues to plague the state of Connecticut. While state and federal laws prohibit school districts from denying access to schools because of one’s immigration status, undocumented youth face some unique challenges under the current administration when it comes to education. The population of undocumented youth in Connecticut is sizable, with an estimated 15,000 enrolled in school.110 An additional 40,931 students are U.S. citizens who live in “mixed-status” households, meaning that they live with family members who are undocumented.111 There are approximately 3,800 recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program that has shielded these young people from deportation.112 Immediately in the aftermath of the 2016 elections, immigration advocates in Connecticut began to receive frantic calls from undocumented parents, asking whether it was still safe for their children to attend school. Some educators and administrators noted a significant drop in the attendance of immigrant students. And while the administration of Governor Malloy stepped up to provide protection for the students, the administration’s continued antiimmigrant rhetoric; the fear of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the precarious status of DACA (which is the continuing subject of litigation) has created a climate of stress and fear for immigrant students and their families: 110

Migration Policy Institute. “Profile of the Unauthorized Population: Connecticut.” Retrieved from




C. Connery. (July 23, 2018). “The Impact of Undocumented Status on Children’s Learning.” Retrieved from

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Undocumented youth face uncertainty, fear, and stress, leading to psychological issues including depression, anxiety and an increased risk of suicide. ...Fear of deportation negatively shapes self-image and positively predicts stress. ...Extended exposure to stress, especially during childhood and adolescence, is known to create long-standing consequences (e.g., decreased cognitive performance, short term and working memory, and impulse control) due to structural and functional changes in individuals’ capacity to deal with and react to stress.113

7.4 Employment While immigrants in Connecticut are 26.4 percent more likely to be employed than native-born residents, they are disproportionately less educated (with less than a bachelor’s degree) and employed in the low-wage, low-skilled sectors.114 An estimated 45.2 percent of the immigrants working in Connecticut fill low-skill occupations, including as domestic workers and housekeepers, while over 50 percent of those working in construction are immigrants. Immigrants can also be found working in the jobs that native-born workers are loath to fill, including as farm workers and in low-skilled industries that require workers to clock in at odd hours. Exploitation in the workplace is a challenge that plagues the undocumented. Among the types of abuses commonly directed against them are wage theft, rampant and forced overtime (often with no pay), sexual harassment (particularly in the restaurant industry), and unsafe working conditions. Workers subject to this type of abuse are often found working as day laborers, domestic workers, or in nurseries.

7.5 Housing Immigrants often rely on community support to navigate new communities, including housing. Word of mouth is usually the way that information about neighborhoods and housing is obtained. Among the systemic problems that affect an immigrant’s ability to secure adequate housing are a lack of credit history (especially for newly arrived immigrants), the shortage of affordable housing units, discrimination, and one’s immigration status. Constant mobility is also a challenge for seasonal workers, including farm workers.


Connery, 2018.


New American Economy. “The Contributions of New Americans in Connecticut.” August 2016. Report. Retrieved from


Landlords have also been known to take advantage of undocumented immigrants, relying on their fear of ICE in order to oppress. For example, one particularly notorious landlord in New Haven, Connecticut, rented units targeting the undocumented, charging rent per person, rather than per unit. One of the units housed nine adults, each of whom was paying $400 a month. When the tenants tried to assert their rights, the landlord and her spouse began to visit the apartment regularly, threatening to have them deported. The tenants eventually moved out. The type of exploitation described here, which is all too common, has led to chronic overcrowding and unsafe conditions among immigrants. Currently, immigrants are more afraid to avail themselves of advocacy and support, for fear that they will draw the attention of ICE.

7.6 The Way Forward Connecticut had already established itself as an immigrant-friendly state prior to the 2016 elections. A number of laws and policies that protect and benefit immigrants were in place previously, including: •

In-state tuition and financial aid for undocumented students;

The availability of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program for immigrants;

The 2013 Connecticut Trust Act, which allows local and state police to ignore detainers that request that an immigrant be held for immigration officers if he or she has not committed a serious felony; and

The issuance of driver’s licenses to all immigrants, including the undocumented (law passed in 2014).

In February 2017, Governor Malloy and several commissioners issued a series of guidelines115 providing recommendations for school superintendents and police chiefs regarding immigration enforcement. Several suggestions were made, including that local police not engage in immigration enforcement, and that school superintendents follow a series of due diligence measures in case an ICE agent shows up at a school to ask about a student(s).


Office of the Governor, Press Room, “Memo-State Guidance for Superintendents on Immigration,” Feb. 22, 2017.

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7.7 Recommendations While progress has been made to advance, support, and protect immigrants, more can and should be done. Below are some recommendations for Connecticut lawmakers, stakeholders, and community residents.

7.7.1 State Government •

Establish an Office of Immigrant Affairs. The office would be responsible for monitoring systemic challenges and conditions for immigrants in Connecticut; developing recommendations that can be advanced at the state and regional level; working directly with affected communities to advance goals around integration and inclusion and developing model legislation on immigration-related issues.

7.7.2 Stakeholders Specific to the topics addressed earlier, below are some proposed recommendations: •

Education •

Stakeholders should ensure that immigrant populations are aware of their rights to a public education, the laws that exist protecting undocumented students, and the resources available to support immigrant students and families.


All school districts should develop protocols to ensure that staff have plans in place in case a large-scale immigration raid takes place or if ICE decides to visit a school.

Schools should consider offering workshops tailored for immigrant families and children, and their parents.

Additional resources should be set aside for schools with large immigrant populations to ensure that students have the support they need to be successful in school.

Employment •

Legal advocates, community organizations, and state agencies should create a task force dedicated to stamping out wage theft and workplace abuse of immigrant populations.

City and state governments should support community-wide efforts aimed at providing culturally competent workshops related to workers’ rights.

Community-based organizations and advocates should create “report cards” that call out the most notorious companies with documented histories of wage theft and employee abuse targeting immigrants.

Housing •

Municipal agencies responsible for public housing and monitoring of housing stock should ensure that specific programming and services are available to immigrant populations. They should also create multilingual materials about landlord/tenant rights, neighborhoods, available housing, and organizations that provide support, assistance, and advocacy.

City government should support and encourage community organizations that offer housing support and services to create programs specifically geared to immigrant families.

Community-based organizations should create and share lists of “notorious” landlords who target immigrants and engage in organizing efforts to educate immigrants about existing scams and provide “Know Your Rights” workshops on housingrelated issues.

7.8 Conclusion For the foreseeable future, immigrants will continue to face extremely challenging circumstances. How communities and jurisdictions respond matters—including state and local governments. It is therefore incumbent on local communities to step up and lead the forms of advocacy and resistance that will preserve our democracy, defend some of our most vulnerable residents, and advance vibrant communities.

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REFERENCES American Immigration Council. (October 13, 2017). Immigrants in Connecticut. Connery, C. (July 23, 2018). The impact of undocumented status on children’s learning. UConn Neag School of Education Issue Brief. Retrieved from Migration Policy Institute. Profile of the unauthorized population: Connecticut. Retrieved from New American Economy. (August 2016). The contributions of new Americans n Connecticut. Report. Retrieved from Office of the Governor. (February 22, 2017). Press Room. Memo-state guidance for superintendents on immigration.


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RE-ENTRY JUSTICE: The State of Second Chance Citizens by Stacy R. Spell Retired Homicide Detective, New Haven Police Department, Program Manager for Project Longevity (New Haven)

8-2 | State of Urban Connecticut

The re-entry population—often referred to as “second chance citizens”— encounters barriers and challenges when re-entering society after being incarcerated in a federal or state correctional institution.116 The conditions, problems, and plight of second chance citizens affects us all. In today’s times, with the crisis of an opioid epidemic, those entering correctional institutions and returning to our communities span the gamut of all races, religions, and ethnicities. If we are to address the challenges this population faces, it is going to take innovative thought and consistent follow through to change the barriers and correct problems that have existed for decades.

8.1 Introduction Cities in Connecticut have numerous nonprofit organizations that boast of programs and services designed to serve the ever-growing re-entry population. Most often the promise of supportive services offered by these organizations is inadequate and results in further demoralizing a population that consistently encounters barrier after barrier. After paying their debt to society, these individuals are still branded and discriminated against for their past indiscretions. The inability to foster a new path after incarceration leads to an inability to earn a living wage, access decent housing and adequate health care, and reconnect with children. Without addressing the barriers they face, many will return to crime or fail to ever become productive members of society.

8.2 Employment Barriers Individuals re-entering society are hampered by their criminal history, and even barred from holding employment that pays a livable wage. The technological advances that have occurred during their incarceration further impede their ability to compete in an already competitive job market. A task as simple as applying for work represents a significant challenge, as most companies have done away with filling out an application on site, and now use an online application process. In addition, the applicant must be able to navigate the internet. Today, even a minimum wage job running a cash register at a fast food restaurant requires basic computer skills. The loss of manufacturing jobs throughout most urban areas in the state has drastically reduced employment within light industrial, skilled trades, retail, food service, institutional, hotel, and hospitality-related services. Often an employer might be barred from hiring a candidate for the most basic, entry-level employment position because of the applicant’s felony status. These rules result in generational poverty when a felony conviction prohibits a parent from earning enough money to take care of him- or herself and/or any children. A significant barrier to success for second


The author of this chapter is a retired New Haven Police Department homicide detective, active community activist, and current program manager of Project Longevity New Haven, which is a group/gang gun violence reduction initiative out of the United States Attorney’s Office of the District of Connecticut. The author is a gang intervention expert with decades of first-hand experience addressing the needs and challenges of re-entry populations.


chance citizens, therefore, is the inability to attain a wage that will sustain a family or finance a college education for their children. This reduces their lives to menial labor, restrictions, and discrimination. There are a number of basic skills that need to be taught to second chance citizens prior to release, or shortly after re-entering the community. Simple tasks, such as the proper way to enter a room and conduct one’s self in an employment interview are often as foreign as creating rocket fuel. These individuals must be taught the basic principles of how to dress, posture, shake hands, and make eye contact during a job interview. Second chance citizens are not well served if they are not taught interviewing and employment skills. They also need to know how to address the gap years in their employment history, and the pros and cons regarding self-disclosure. Outreach to the reentry population is limited, as organizations that offer support do not have a budget to market the skills and services of this population, which often go underutilized.117 It is not uncommon for returning citizens to take advantage of enrolling in every training program and seeking every opportunity for improvement upon returning home. Even after taking all of these actions, this population is thwarted in their efforts to make a better life for themselves and their families. An example of the potential effects of self-disclosure is evident through Lydia’s case.118 Lydia, a self-assured young woman who is articulate and knowledgeable, was presented with an employment opportunity as an office manager at a large corporation. During the hiring process she awed all whom she encountered. She made the appropriate decision to self-disclose her criminal background, and despite her history, was hired. She worked a full day, and at the end of her first day was escorted out of the building. The company’s Human Resource attorneys believed that she was a liability due to her criminal past. Even though she worked hard to overcome her past, there were those who would remind her of it, thus limiting her potential for redemption. This is a prime example of how second chance citizens are viewed. In light of the young woman doing everything possible to make herself a viable candidate and selfdisclosing her criminal past, she was viewed as a criminal liability. This was and currently remains a demoralizing fact for those who have done their best to live better lives and not recidivate. They are often held hostage by their past, and prohibited from moving toward a better future. There are also situations in which individuals secure employment upon their release and find themselves starting to earn enough financially to support themselves, only to have the rug pulled out from underneath them due to a 117

For example, local universities sometimes offer outreach programs to inmates. Quinnipiac University in Hamden has several programs designed to help inmates and those re-entering society. See


All of the names are fictionalized to protect the individuals’ identities.

8-4 | State of Urban Connecticut

child support arrearage that has come to light. Paychecks are usually garnished and the ability to make support payments and maintain basic necessities is impacted. What previously looked to be a viable, redemptive sustainable solution is now viewed as a detriment, leaving these individuals without enough to support themselves. This results in a return to criminality or a decision to stop working altogether, because “you can’t pay what you don’t have.” One young man who encountered this dilemma was Jason. Due to the arrearages that had accumulated, Jason was struggling to take care of himself. His proud, clean lifestyle morphed into a situation of excessive drinking, evading his parole officer, and ultimately recidivating on technical violations. Unfortunately, Jason continued his downward spiral, never regaining the footing he had lost, and he continues to struggle. This is a classic example of the effects of arrearage in child support, and what they can cost second chance citizens. More assistance is needed to help these individuals, male and female alike, navigate this legal dilemma.

8.3 Medical and Mental Health Barriers The need for medical and mental health support for the re-entry population is as great or greater than the need for the basics, such as housing and employment. Many second chance citizens, especially those who are elderly and served longer sentences, are affected by health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, and heart disease at the same rate of nonincarcerated populations, and will eventually need medical treatment and follow-up care. In the absence of institutional caretakers, these individuals are left to find care on their own, with most not being able to receive that care until emergency symptomatic treatment is needed. Area hospital emergency rooms are where medical care is often sought. In the absence of an organization like Transitions Clinic in New Haven, a program dedicated to serving transitioning second chance citizens, this is a continual problem for these citizens. The ongoing need for medical care is a serious concern, especially in the absence of employment and public assistance. For those with mental health issues, the need for counseling services and the ability to obtain psychiatric medications, without coming under the scrutiny of public safety and police intervention, must be taken into consideration. Disastrous situations can occur when second chance citizens no longer have access to their needed psychiatric medications, and do not have a sustainable way to pay for them, leading them to show visible signs of depression, anger, and paranoia that bring them back into the police and criminal justice system. Additionally, second chance citizens need assistance in dealing with substance abuse and problems of addiction, which may have been the primary reason for their initial incarceration. If these root causes of behavioral distress aren’t addressed, it often leads to a spiraling course of recidivism. There are


numerous clinicians who specialize in treating second chance citizens, but there still exists the stigma in black and brown cultures that seeking mental health counseling labels you a victim. This cultural narrative must be changed so that this population will view themselves as victors in actively seeking to address their mental health concerns. People of color have generational and systemic issues, and yet they don’t view therapy as a viable solution to cultural problems of poverty, lack of education, economic inequality, and racism, so they cannot see that there is a rainbow at the end of the perceived storms of life. We have to admit that not enough emphasis has been placed on counseling and other essential needs, by policymakers, legislators, business people, and others, to help assist in creating venues and places where this population can be edified and empowered to be model citizens despite their criminal past.

8.4 Prison Reform Several presidential administrations have touted their desire to address “prison reform,” and all have fallen short due to taking the same approach of making false promises, hyping the issue with much media attention, and using a political approach that lacks a long-term solution. Even the current occupant of the Oval Office was heralded for addressing national prison reform—he held meetings with cabinet members and governors, speaking to them about his plan to provide resources to help the formerly incarcerated; yet, following the rhetoric, no legitimate actionable steps were taken. Connecticut’s governor has also created a platform for addressing the re-entry population, yet the result was very much the same as the federal response. Second chance initiatives were heralded in the media but fell short to provide adequate long-term funding, and during the state’s fiscal crisis, left organizations scrambling to find the resources needed to be effective. However, Connecticut has undergone fiscal restraints and challenges due its recent issue with the state budget in 2017 that affected a number of related institutions, nonprofit organizations, and law and judicial enforcement officers who serve second chance citizens. Correctional institutions are not designed to provide services to ensure that upon release those incarcerated will re-enter society seamlessly. The current commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Correction, Scott Semple, has made strong, decisive steps to change the culture in establishing multiple prerelease centers that help second chance citizens gain some skills, but not all take advantage of these opportunities. Similarly, it is not mandatory for those entering the system without a high school diploma or GED to acquire one prior to their release date. Second chance citizens must overcome some of the personal challenges that fostered their criminal behavior and work toward selfempowerment while they are in pre-release status. How can second chance citizens overcome those challenges, move past criminality, and recurring recidivation when some of them have never held legitimate gainful employment?

8-6 | State of Urban Connecticut

8.5 Recommendations There are promising advances coming from Connecticut’s Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple’s office. Commissioner Semple has attempted to create positive change in an antiquated system of housing those who have committed criminal offenses. In recent years there has been a drop in violent crime alongside efforts to deal with nonviolent offenses that are rooted in opioid addiction. Education •

Provide academic support and remediation, if necessary, for second chance citizens to obtain a high school diploma or GED prior to their release date.

Employment •

Establish multiple pre-release centers to help re-entry citizens gain employable skills and training.

Provide mentors and services to assist in a seamless re-entry into society by offering training to assist in job seeking and attainment, including job and interview preparedness, and managing instances dealing with self-disclosing.


Establish and/or educate more agencies and nonprofit groups with knowledge regarding the process of child support arrearage, including outreach personnel to help re-entry citizens navigate the system, and resources to manage court costs.

Health Care •

Create facilities similar to Transitions Clinic in New Haven, a program dedicated to serving transitioning second chance citizens, to address the ongoing need for medical care for this population.

Support mental health needs by providing the ability to obtain psychiatric medications without coming under the scrutiny of public safety and police intervention. Subsidize or provide lower cost options for re-entry citizens who do not have a sustainable way to pay for needed medications.

Assist in dealing with substance abuse and problems with addiction through counseling to address root causes of behavioral distress to potentially thwart recidivism.

Support groups are common in the majority of cities across the state for the re-entry population, which allows concerned individuals to come together in support of those who have been incarcerated. There is a shared power in being able to build up one another. Groups are usually chaired and run by individuals who have emerged from incarceration, found their way out of the muck of life onto a road of prosperity. They speak to the needs of those who have yet to find their pathway. More spaces for healing, and additional opportunities for funding through philanthropic and private sources need to be created.

8.6 Conclusion There must be a way to disregard the current myth in urban culture that suggests that “you are not a man until you have done a bid.” It is a foolish narrative that deserves to be eradicated by community leaders, whether they are clergy, business owners, mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, or other family members. It will take an investment from all to stop generation after generation from repeating the sins of their fathers, and even in some cases the sins of their grandfathers. We need to call a “time out” for the buses from correctional facilities dropping off young men and women in the midst of urban cities without a dime or resource to find a way home. Because, in the face of hopelessness, folks will easily revert to what they know best, even though what they know best might be criminal behavior. What should we expect when we force their backs up against the wall in their first few hours of release from correctional custody?

8-8 | State of Urban Connecticut

Hopefully, those in the State of Connecticut’s Department of Corrections and its parole officers will continue on the course established by Commissioner Semple, the Department of Probation, and the states. Many nonprofit partners will find the financial support to boost the number of personnel needed to effectively manage the re-entry population. They all should not be encumbered by financial and fiscal restraints, and instead utilize data-driven results that support innovative thought and social change. At some point, our legislators have to learn that it is more cost effective to have a less recidivating population of second chance citizens and less correctional institutions. It is only when we, as a compassionate, empathetic country, move past operating norms and protocols on how we treat returning citizens and their families that we will see a shift in the number of individuals returning to patterns of incarceration. What affects the individual will, for generations, affect the family and community. It has long been said that, when a person is sent away for a period of incarceration, his or her family does the time with them. Although they may not be physically locked up in a correctional facility, the families of those incarcerated suffer similar fears, anxiety, pain, and remorse as their incarcerated loved one. Re-entering citizens are faced with a variety of challenges, but with the proper support, overcoming those challenges need not be insurmountable. It will require tenacious, consistent engagement pre-release and post-release. The old metrics of assigning a re-entry citizen to probation or a parole officer and demanding they find a job, keep their nose clean, and have no further police contact is an antiquated way of thinking. Delegating such a mandate to this population might be as foreign to them as reading a street sign in a foreign language. There is a need to establish some new norms. Some re-entry citizens will recidivate no matter what measures are taken to help them, because they are mentally institutionalized, are sociopaths, or must endure repeated incarcerations before maturation and wisdom set in. Just as modern-day Connecticut law enforcement has had to evolve and recognize that locking up everyone will not solve the problems, so too should the policies regarding re-entry evolve. It is in the humane, respectful, and innovative creation of collaborative efforts such as Project Longevity that has helped decrease group/gang gun violence in the state. We as a society must realize that there will always be second chance citizens among us, so how can we address this issue to change the previous systemic ways of treating them? As this population is stabilized, the expungement process can be pursued, but only after a lengthy time has passed, with no law enforcement contact. The option of being able to apply for an application of expungement, and having a number of resources available statewide to assist those who have met the mark to have their criminal history eradicated and cleared would be a step in the right


direction. It is obtainable to those who have a made-up mind, walk the path of hard work, and give back to their communities. The straight and narrow is obtainable for even those who walked a crooked path in the past. As we address this issue of re-entry, we also need to support the family structure, which is the heart of every community. Our communities are better off when we have fathers and/or mothers raise their own children and support their parents and extended families. We can do better and must do better, or we risk doing a disservice to a crucial population.

A | State of Urban Connecticut



Approach to Data Analysis The audio-recordings of 9 interviews and 9 focus groups were transcribed verbatim for analysis. Multiple codes were initially developed that focused on the 5 research questions (see below), and the interview questions presented in the focus groups and interviews. The codes were used to identify substantive themes within and across the transcripts. Data were analyzed thematically using both open-coding and analytic memos. Dedoose was the qualitative software used to analyze the data.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. How can residents who live in the urban communities of Connecticut be empowered with equal access to education, which focuses on academic excellence, preparation for the 21st century workforce, equity, and cultural competence? 2. How can residents who live in the urban communities of Connecticut be empowered with access to employment opportunities that offer apprenticeships, pay living wages, and eliminate barriers for those with criminal records? 3. How can residents who live in the urban communities of Connecticut be empowered with policies that will reduce place-based income inequality? 4. How can residents who live in the urban communities of Connecticut be empowered with access to safe, affordable housing that is linked to transportation options that give access to employment that pays living wages? 5. How can residents who live in the urban communities of Connecticut be empowered with access to higher levels of health insurance, primary care provision, and culturally competent healthcare providers to reduce health disparities and promote health protective behaviors? The focus group participants included millennials, urban professionals, people from working families with children, seniors, and people from low-income communities. The sample was 71 participants. It is noted that while this research project was qualitative, future research can build on the present study by using a larger sample and a mixed-methods approach, i.e., using qualitative and quantitative methods.

B | State of Urban Connecticut


APPENDIX B: Demographics Characteristics Sex Female Male



41 30

57.7 42.3

Age 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 or older

7 28 18 6 10 2

9.9 39.4 25.4 8.5 14.1 2.8

Race/Ethnicity White Black Hispanic Asian Other (Bi-Racial)

12 38 18 1 2

16.9 53.5 25.3 1.4 2.8

Marital Status Single Married Separated or Divorced Widowed

50 11 5 3

70.4 15.5 7.0 4.2

Table B-1: Sociodemographic characteristics of focus group participants.

B-2 | State of Urban Connecticut

Table B-2: Education, employment status, and income of focus group participants.

Characteristics Education Less than high school High school Technical/vocational training Some college Associate’s degree Bachelor’s degree Advanced degree



4 15 1 15 3 14 18

5.6 21.1 1.4 21.1 4.2 19.7 25.4

Employment Full-time Part-time Unemployed

49 11 9

69.0 15.5 12.7

Income $0-$19,999 $20,000 – $29,999 $30,000 – $39,999 $40,000 – $49,999 $50,000 – $59,999 $60,000 – $69,999 $70,000 – $79,999 $80,000 – $89,999 $90,000 – $99,999 $100,000 or over

19 8 3 13 6 2 4 5 4 7

26.8 11.3 4.2 18.3 8.5 2.8 5.6 7.0 5.6 9.9


Characteristics Health Insurance Yes No



64 6

90.1 8.5

Insurance Type Employer-provided Self-insured Medicare Medicaid HUSKY Other

32 3 6 5 18 18

45.1 4.2 8.5 7.0 25.4 25.4

Characteristics Housing Rent Own Living with family member(s) or friend(s) Living in a homeless shelter Other (please define)



43 11 12 1 3

60.6 15.5 16.9 1.4 4.2

Children in Household Zero One Two Three Four

37 19 6 4 2

52.1 26.8 8.5 5.6 2.8

Adults in Household One Two Three Four

26 26 13 1

36.6 36.6 18.3 1.4

Table B-3: Health insurance status of focus group participants.

Table B-4: Housing status of focus group participants.

CB-1 | State of Urban Connecticut


Quinnipiac University Faculty Bios Robert M. Brown III, PhD, is a medical sociologist who is a visiting professor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, in the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Anthropology. He is also the project manager for State of Urban Connecticut report, a collaborative research effort between Urban League of Southern Connecticut and Quinnipiac University that was conducted to investigate the impact of education, employment, income, affordable housing, health disparities, and other issues on the quality of living for people who reside in urban areas of Connecticut. He is the author of Economic Stress: Harsh Truths & Keys to Empowerment, and he has published on stress management, strengthening families, and family and community violence. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, PhD, is associate professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, and board chair of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Brown-Dean’s work stands at the intersection of law, politics, and public policy. She is featured in the documentaries “The Color of Justice” and “Extinction,” and received the Fannie Lou Hamer Award for Outstanding Community Service. She is a highly sought after political analyst who has authored numerous academic and popular pieces on topics such as mass incarceration, voting rights, and education. BrownDean’s forthcoming book from Polity Press is titled, Identity Politics in the United States. Mark Gius, PhD, is a professor of economics at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. He earned his PhD in economics from The Pennsylvania State University. His teaching interests include labor economics, law and economics, and industrial organization. His main area of research interest is applied microeconomics with an emphasis on public policy research. His research has appeared in Applied Economics, Applied Economic Letters, and the Social Science Journal.


Ae-Sook Kim, PhD, is an assistant professor of management at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. Her primary research interests include state politics and policy-making process, focusing on social and health policies, the effects of public policies on the well-being of citizens, and health services research focusing on nursing home quality in relation to market conditions and management practices. Health disparities and social determinants of health are additional research interests. Her publications appear in leading journals including Policy Studies Journal, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, and Health Care Management Review. Catherine Anitha Manohar, PhD, is an assistant teaching professor of finance at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. She received her bachelor of arts in mathematics and economics from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, and her PhD in finance from the University of South Carolina. She teaches courses on options and futures, international finance, portfolio theory, investments, and financial planning. She also teaches a service-learning course where her students design and conduct financial education workshops for high school students in New Haven, Connecticut. She is currently the faculty advisor for Beta Gamma Sigma—The International Business Honor Society. Her research interests are in the areas of financial derivatives, behavioral finance, and corporate finance. She has presented her research at refereed academic finance conferences and is published in the Banking and Finance Review journal. Courtney Marchese, MFA, is an associate professor of Graphic + Interactive Design at Quinnipiac University, teaching a wide range of design theory, research, and technical skills at the undergraduate and graduate level. She is also a professional designer with over a decade of experience specializing in data visualization, information graphics, UX design, and usability studies. As an academic and practitioner, she has done a number of presentations and publications regarding information design for social causes including global health, politics, and diseases. Marchese’s forthcoming book from Bloomsbury Press is titled, Information Design for the Common Good.

CB-3 | State of Urban Connecticut

Katherine M. McLeod, PhD, is an assistant professor of medical sciences at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, Quinnipiac University. She completed her PhD at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, and post-doctoral training at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina. The focus of her research involves improving care gaps, including health behavior change for chronic disease prevention and management, appropriateness of care, and health disparities. Don C. Sawyer III, PhD, is associate vice president for academic affairs and chief diversity officer at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. He is also a tenured associate professor in the department of sociology, criminal justice, and anthropology as well as assistant clinical professor in the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine. He teaches courses on race, education, social research methods, and hip-hop culture. He earned his PhD in sociology and MS in cultural foundations of education from Syracuse University and a BA in psychology from Hartwick College. His scholarly focus is on race, education, global community engagement, and re-entry of formerly incarcerated people. His current research project is a qualitative analysis of the lived experiences of men re-entering society after serving time in prison. Diane Stock, PhD, is associate professor of anthropology and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut. As associate dean, she works with faculty on new programs and budgets, and with students to plan their academic programs. Currently, she manages the budget for the College of Arts and Sciences and is a professor of anthropology, teaching courses in human evolution and evolutionary theory, with research interests in the origin of modern human diversity. She holds a master of public administration from the University of Connecticut, where she focused on local government issues.


Mark A. Thompson, PhD, is the executive vice president and provost at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. Dr. Thompson’s areas of expertise include Urban and Regional Economics and Economic Development. He has worked with many private and public constituents in their efforts at regional economic development. He has completed more than 100 technical reports (economic impact assessments, strategic plans, feasibility studies, and business plans) as a part of these efforts. His academic research efforts include studies of the consequences of residential housing segregation, issues related to labor market discrimination as well as assessing the impact of intellectual property rights on economic growth rates of developing countries. His research appears in academic journals that include Economic Development Quarterly, Journal of Economic Development, Journal of Enterprising Culture, and Journal of Economics and Finance. Teresa Twomey, EdD, RN, is an assistant professor of nursing in Quinnipiac University’s School of Nursing. She is also the director of global nursing experiences. She received her doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Hartford. Her clinical expertise lies in neonatal intensive care and children with special health care needs. Her educational and research passion focuses on cultural humility and relativism of health care providers and leading them toward a path of global citizenship. Over the past 4 years, she has led several nursing experiential learning trips to Central America where she collaborates with local community health care organizations. Currently she serves as an editorial board member of Pediatrics and Neonatal Nursing – Open Journal.

CB-5 | State of Urban Connecticut

EXTERNAL SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS BIOS Michael J. Critelli, Esq., was the chairman and CEO of Pitney Bowes between 1996 and 2008. He also was the chair of the National Urban League from 2002 to 2007 and was a board member from 1997 to 2010. He has advocated for transportation improvement and equity since 1985. Two different Connecticut governors appointed him to chair statewide transportation reform commissions. He has also focused on creating cultures of health in communities and has been an advisor to RAND Health and the Harvard School of Public Health, and a board member of the Community e-Health Consult Network, Pro Health Physicians, and the Regional Plan Association. He is also a member of the Eaton Corporation Board. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin (1970) and Harvard Law School. His website is Karen DuBois-Walton, PhD, is the executive director/president of the Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of the City of New Haven, Connecticut. Trained as a clinical psychologist, DuBois-Walton has led the agency since 2008 integrating progressive housing policy, community development, and social service provision in ways that create communities of opportunity for lowincome residents in the City of New Haven. ECC/HANH’s vision is a New Haven where every resident has a safe and decent home that they can afford and opportunities to fulfill their goals.


Kica Matos, Esq., is the director of immigrant rights and racial justice at the Center for Community Change, an organization whose mission is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and public policies for the better. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with her husband Henry, her son little Henry, and her dog Logan. Stacy R. Spell is the project manager of Project Longevity, a demonstration of community interdependence, solidarity, and upstanding citizenship that work in partnership as community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, private sector organizations, and the general public to end group-involved gun violence in New Haven, Connecticut. He is a veteran of the United States Army Military Police Corp, a retired New Haven Police Department detective who worked in the major crimes unit, firearms unit, narcotics enforcement unit, and the Connecticut State Police Gang Unit. He is also the current president of the West River Neighborhood Services Corporation, a nonprofit organization with the goal of creating a green, peaceful community through events and community engagement.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS MAJOR FUNDER William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund 2319 Whitney Avenue #2B Hamden, Connecticut 06518

ADDITIONAL FUNDERS Quinnipiac University 275 Mount Carmel Avenue Hamden, Connecticut 06518 The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven 70 Audubon Street New Haven, Connecticut 06510 The Prosperity Foundation 1287 Chapel Street New Haven, Connecticut 06511

FOCUS GROUP FACILITATORS Booker T. Washington Academy Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust Career Resources EMERGE Connecticut, Inc. Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (PT Partners) The WorkPlace, Inc. Urban League of Greater Hartford Urban League of Southern Connecticut

INTERVIEWEES David Addams, Esq, Executive Director, The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund Joseph Carbone, President & CEO, The WorkPlace, Inc. Erik Clemons, CEO & President, Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology (ConnCAT) William W. Ginsberg, Esq. President & CEO, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven The Honorable Toni Harp, Mayor of New Haven, Connecticut Scott Jackson, former Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Labor Juanita James, President & CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation The Reverend Dr. Boise Kimber, Senior Pastor, First Calvary Baptist Church, New Haven, Connecticut Shuana Tucker, PhD, Chief Talent Officer, Consolidated School District of New Britain

DATA COLLECTION Robert M. Brown III, PhD (Project Manager) Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, PhD Mark Gius, PhD Ae-Sook Kim, PhD Catherine Anitha Manohar, PhD Katherine M. McLeod, PhD Don C. Sawyer III, PhD Diane Stock, PhD Mark A. Thompson, PhD (Principal Investigator) Teresa Twomey, EdD, RN

EXTERNAL SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS Michael J. Critelli, Esq. Karen DuBois-Walton, PhD Kica Matos, Esq. Stacy R. Spell


EDITING Audra Barrett Dembele, Lead Editor, Consultant Donna Pintek, Senior Copy Editor, Office of Integrated Marketing Communications, Quinnipiac University

WORD PROCESSING Chantell Atere, Consultant

DATA VISUALIZATION, COVER DEVELOPMENT, AND DESIGN Courtney Marchese, MFA, Associate Professor of Interactive Media & Design, School of Communications, Quinnipiac University

Urban League of Southern Connecticut is one of 68 affiliates that are a part of National Urban League. Our Mission The mission of Urban League of Southern Connecticut is to enable African Americans and other minority groups to secure and sustain economic self-reliance and parity. Our Vision The vision of Urban League of Southern Connecticut is to unify, inspire and empower our community through leadership, advocacy and development. New Haven Office 458 Grand Avenue New Haven, CT 06513 Bridgeport Office 1000 Lafayette Blvd Bridgeport, CT 06604 Stamford Office 137 Henry Street Stamford, CT 06902 (203) 327-5810

Urban League of Southern Connecticut thanks its board of directors, advisory board, young professionals, and staff for their commitment to and support of this research effort.

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