WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) hosted U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro for several different events with federal, state, and local leaders around Connecticut. The officials highlighted key federal partnerships in Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport that are expanding opportunity and leveling the playing field for residents across the state.
In Hartford, the senators and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin invited Secretary Castro to meet with city residents for an update on the implementation of North Hartford’s designation as a Promise Zone. North Hartford secured the Promise Zone designation in April 2015 after more than a year-and-a-half long community campaign. Following their meeting in Hartford, Murphy, Blumenthal, U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp hosted Secretary Castro and Connecticut’s Latino leaders at the Christopher Columbus Family Academy for a roundtable discussion on the community’s priorities. Murphy, Blumenthal, U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-4), and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim hosted Secretary Castro for his last visit of the day to celebrate the grand opening of Bridgeport’s newly-constructed Milestone Apartments complex. The Milestone Apartments complex will offer affordable housing rental units to veterans and other low-income Bridgeport residents.
“It’s clear the people of Connecticut have leaders that are driven by a desire to serve and level the playing field for our citizens. I was honored today to join Senators Murphy and Blumenthal for a wide-ranging tour of communities that are working hard to expand opportunity in Connecticut, including North Hartford’s Promise Zone. Hartford’s Promise Zone designation is a testament to the passion in the community to increase quality of life and build a stronger local economy for all,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro.
“I’m so grateful that Secretary Castro accepted my invitation to come to Connecticut so he could see firsthand just how hard we’re working to create life-changing opportunities for our local families,” said Senator Murphy. “In Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport, we’re providing more affordable housing for families, making our communities safer and giving a leg up to those who need it most. I’m particularly proud of the work we’re doing in North Hartford with the Promise Zone, which I dove into head first about a year and a half ago with a coalition of community leaders who saw the potential of this neighborhood.”
Senator Blumenthal said, “Today’s visit was about promise— the rich, historic promise of our cities, and the promises that we have made, and must make, to revitalize, restore and reinvigorate our uniquely vibrant urban communities. Secretary Castro came to Connecticut and heard firsthand from community leaders in Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven about their priorities—universal needs like safe, affordable housing and good local job opportunities. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Secretary Castro to ensure that Connecticut’s communities continue to receive the support and resources they need and deserve.”
“I enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with many of our Latino leaders for a discussion on the ideas that can move our state and our country forward. The advocacy by Connecticut’s Latino groups is second-to-none and their work to address issues of disparity in our state – whether in access to affordable housing options, pay equity, healthcare parity, or access to capital funding – makes such a difference,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “We still have much work to do and Congress needs to act on several issues critical for the Latino community. When we recently learned that DHS is deporting families back to Central America, I called on the agency to immediately stop. Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform and end the cruel practices of breaking up families. And Congress must also act on the economic crisis in Puerto Rico before the situation devolves into a humanitarian crisis.”
Representative Himes said “As someone who has worked extensively on creating affordable housing in my career before Congress, I know how essential housing is to the fabric of this nation and our sense of security and identity. Yet, for many people in Southwest Connecticut, the lack of affordable housing is one of the greatest financial hurdles they face. These new units will help ease this burden on lower income individuals and veterans in Bridgeport, and I will continue working with local leaders, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and Secretary Castro to ensure all Connecticut families have an affordable place to call home.”
Mayor Bronin said, "It's an honor to welcome Secretary Castro to Hartford, and I'm grateful for the tireless advocacy of our Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and Congressman Larson. We're fortunate to have federal partners who understand that the challenges we're discussing today -- emotional trauma and gun violence, quality affordable housing, and common-sense support for those re-entering our community from prison -- are deeply intertwined. The Promise Zone designation gives us priority status when pursuing federal grants to combat those challenges, and my administration will be working aggressively, alongside our federal partners, to make sure that we deliver on the promise here in the North End."
Mayor Harp said, "It was an honor to welcome Secretary Castro to New Haven. The Secretary's visit demonstrated HUD's commitment to the city and the residents of Church Street South during this difficult time. Their partnership will be invaluable to the city as we continue to support the relocation of residents at Church Street South."
Mayor Ganim said, "Here in Bridgeport we are committed to partnering with Park City Communities, HUD, the State of CT, and the community to replace outmoded and inhospitable public housing projects with high quality mixed income neighborhoods throughout the city. Housing is an important component of the city’s community building and development strategy. We look forward to building on the strong existing relationship with HUD Hartford, HUD Region 1, DC, and state department of Housing to continue to make smart investments in the future of our city and its residents."