© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hispanics celebrate their ‘Orgullo y Poder’ while addressing housing insecurity in CT

Movimiento Cultural Afro Continental Inc.- Puerto Rico, perform the Bomba y Plena dance as Members of the General Assembly and the Connecticut Hispanic Federation gathered at the Connecticut State Capitol to celebrate the 9th Annual Latino Legislative Summit on 05-19-2023
 In Hartford, Connecticut.
Maricarmen Cajahuaringa
/
Connecticut Public
Movimiento Cultural Afro Continental Inc.- Puerto Rico, perform the Bomba y Plena dance as Members of the General Assembly and the Connecticut Hispanic Federation gathered at the Connecticut State Capitol to celebrate the 9th Annual Latino Legislative Summit on 05-19-2023 in Hartford, Connecticut.

Leer en Español

Members of the General Assembly and the Connecticut Hispanic Federation recently gathered at the state Capitol to celebrate the 9th Annual Latino Legislative Summit.

The Hispanic community enjoyed traditional Peruvian dances such as La Marinera Norteña and Puerto Rico's Bomba y Plena and savored Peruvian and Puerto Rican dishes.

During the event, Hispanic leaders talked about Latino-Americans' accomplishments in the state. But they also focused on areas of particular concern like housing.

In Connecticut, Hispanics comprise 24% of the homeless population and only 14% of the general population. African Americans comprise 38% of the homeless population, but only 10% of the overall population. A report by Advancing CT Together shows while chronic homelessness declined there was an increase of 13% in overall homelessness between 2021 and 2022.

During the summit, leaders from the General Assembly's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus said approximately 150,000 people in the state live in poverty and many more struggle with cost burdens.

State Rep. Juan Candelaria, D-New Haven, said Hispanic leaders have been discussing affordable housing bills during the legislative session.

"The need is so big. So our goal today is to engage in those discussions specifically targeting and speaking to the Latino community's needs," Candelaria said.

Advocates have asked legislators to fund $50 million to alleviate homelessness, including cold weather response for emergency shelters.

Alex Avendano, a priest at Maria Reina de la Paz in Hartford, said the church is 95% Latino.

"We receive a lot of applications for help with rent,” Avendano said.

Susan Schnitzer is a director at the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants.

Schnitzer said over the past three years they’ve provided about $6.5 million in rental assistance to immigrants. However, families are struggling even if they have more than one job.

"We do see people working two, three, sometimes four jobs to make ends meet for folks that have small children,” Schnitzer said. “There's a constant struggle to navigate childcare and the need to go to work."

Schnitzer said that most recent refugees to Connecticut are from Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Seila Mosquera-Bruno, the commissioner for Connecticut Department of Housing, pointed to relief programs, such as the construction of 3,500 housing units for lower income individuals and house ownership programs.

"We have a program called Time to Own that has been very popular with our restaurants in Connecticut, where we provide up to $50,000 for downpayment and closing costs. And first-time homebuyers,” she said.

Yanidsi Velez is a New England Regional Director at the Hispanic Federation. She said during the past three years, the organization provided $1.5 million in emergency funds to Latino families and $2.5 million to nonprofit organizations to build their capacity and stabilize their operations.

"The Connecticut legislature and the state leadership have the power to ensure equitable access to safe, affordable housing, workforce development opportunities, health care access, and education pathways to ensure we make Connecticut a state that values equity ... through thriving communities," she said.

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content