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New Haven educators receive move-in ready, rent-free housing in CT

Community volunteers working with the Friends Center for Children furnish the latest home in the center’s Teacher Housing Initiative.
Abigail Brone
Connecticut Public
Community volunteers working with the Friends Center for Children furnish the latest home in the center’s Teacher Housing Initiative.

Early childhood education teachers, and their children, will soon be moving into apartments in New Haven free of charge.

The apartments are also move-in ready. Dozens of community volunteers worked with the Friends Center for Children Wednesday to furnish the latest home in the center’s Teacher Housing Initiative.

Two single mothers, who teach at the center, and their respective sons will move into a newly-completed duplex on Howard Street next week.

Once the two teachers move in, a total of six teachers will live in homes provided by the center.

By 2027, Friends Center plans to expand its teacher force to 80, and provide free housing for 24 teachers.

The program was established in 2021 and is one of the first of its kind in the country.

Many early childhood educators in Connecticut struggle to earn a livable wage. And The Friends Center Teacher Housing Initiative addresses two prevalent issues in the country, according to Executive Director Allyx Schiavone.

“One is the child care crisis. And the second is the housing crisis. So our solution is an intersection of those two issues,” Schiavone said.

The Friends Center partnered with the Yale School of Management and Architecture on the project.

Yale architecture students began construction on the home in May and completed it in October. The design portion of the project is required for all first-year architecture students.

Jessica Chen, a second year student in the school’s master’s program, said she stayed on as a construction intern and helped build the home.

“This project is a wonderful way of bringing and reminding us of the value of the teachers. So often in our society, teachers are just so incredibly undervalued, whether that be through salary, whether that be through how they're treated,” Chen said. “I think that being able to design and build a home for these teachers is such a wonderful way of bringing something that has monetary value but isn't exactly just, you know, throwing money.”

Chen fulfilled her internship requirement for the project at the start of the new semester. However, she volunteered to return to the home to help furnish it before an afternoon class.

Friends Center and Yale plan to construct eight additional rent-free teacher housing units in the next three years.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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