New Haven, CT 2022 Finalist

More About New Haven

While originally named for its harbor, New Haven’s name has become more literally appropriate over the generations since its founding. Our city’s history is one of refuge for many. As the Housing Authority for New Haven and the lead organization behind our application, we’re proud to be reifying our city’s commitment to shelter, and proud to be working to undo the legacies we’ve inherited.

For generations, New Haven has welcomed migrants fleeing persecution or poverty around the globe. From the revolutionaries resisting slavery aboard the Amistad, to Italians seeking prosperity in a booming manufacturing hub, to

A replica of the Amistad, courtesy of Mystic Seaport

Jews escaping the holocaust, to Black Southerners escaping segregation, to a now-flourishing community of Puerto Ricans, Syrians, Iraqis, West Africans, and more, New Haven is rooted in a history of migration, assimilation, and cultural uplift. The city is a true melting pot, one that FiveThirtyEight identified as the most representative of the US as a whole.

But just like the history of the US, New Haven’s diversity and integration has come hand in hand with discrimination and segregationist policy. Despite this legacy of migration, New Haven is in one of the twenty most segregated metro areas in the country, and over the last few decades has been segregating faster than all but thirteen other metro areas, largely due to urban renewal in the 1950s that pushed wealth and resources to the suburbs and a set of surrounding towns that have prohibited nearly all multifamily housing. These investments in suburban living by the federal and state government have left New Haven balancing concentrated poverty with deep need for public spending, all while hosting a world-class private university.

New Haven urban renewal Before and After, courtesy of Rutgers University.

Recently, however, the presence of that university and new trends towards urbanization has sparked a New Haven upswing. New Haven has seen a jump in new economic development and an increase in population, and the pandemic accelerated that trend. And while New Haven has been rebounding, Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of New Haven has been doing the same.

Over the last ten years, ECC/HANH has used creative programs and financing to redevelop our public housing and build communities of choice. Our new developments are spread throughout the city and offer high-quality mixed-income housing that has stabilized communities at threat of gentrification and displacement. Elm City Communities now provides housing support for more than one-third of the students in New Haven Public Schools, and we have used this relationship to build a system of educational supports for students in the district that work hand-in-hand with our redevelopments.

Over the last two years, our programs and the families we serve have been strained by the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant school and social closures. We have responded by expanding our supports, but our community is still grappling with the impacts and we will continue to work with partners to ensure that we can mitigate those impacts. New Haven has immense potential, with a growing economy and a primary place in Connecticut’s future. Our goal and our task is to ensure that our residents have a sustainable and prosperous place in that future.

Return to the Civic Action Fair.

No Thoughts on New Haven, CT

Leave A Comment