Over the course of the semester, our Liberal Arts Action Team has been closely working with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner to research homeownership rates in Hartford. Breakfast Lunch and Dinner asked us to research this topic because the city’s homeownership rate is low.
Hartford's homeownership rate at 23.7% is significantly lower than the national rate of 63.6%.
Through living in the city our team has realized that Hartford is extremely separated. We, like many other people in this city, believe that generating housing could be a potential solution that unifies the community. Good, affordable housing is an important part of generating wealth and stability in a city. Hartford, being one of the poorest cities in the country, could benefit from more research focusing on homeownership.
WHAT IS HOMEOWNERSHIP AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Homeownership entails more than just owning a home. It is a place to call home, personalize your space, make memories with loved ones and gain an overall feeling of stability. Homeownership also benefits the community by generating wealth and connecting residents to one another. Hartford is a very separated city that consists of mostly renters, and we think homeownership is an important part of life that should be achievable for everyone.
Our mission was to answer this research question:
How do homeownership rates vary in the city and the region, what factors affect homeownership rates, and what are potential solutions to increase homeownership?
Breakfast Lunch and Dinner is an organization that works with and advises local start-up ventures within the Hartford region to try and help solve problems within the city of Hartford. Through ventures, they build a creative and unique experience that benefits citizens. Jeff Devereux, from BL&D stated “We are a social enterprise and our mission is to create collective culture. We want to build things that will bring people together”. While they do produce their own ideas, BL&D also serve as consultants for other people. Hartford is a community that lacks this collective culture, and the low rate of homeownership may have something to do with this.
BL&D strives to create collective culture in Hartford. In one of their previous projects “KNOW GOOD MARKET”, BL&D put together a market of local street vendors in Hartford. It consisted of trying samples from local food trucks, restaurants, and had live music. This project demonstrates how BL&D takes action in improving the collective culture of Hartford.
Below is a video of a recap of this event.
BL&D is making a positive impact on Hartford’s community, and is looking to continue making a difference by improving the homeownership rate.
INTRODUCTION TO METHODS
To answer this question, we gathered both quantitative data (such as data sets and public records) and qualitative data (such as personal stories). We first gathered quantitative data by looking at historic trends to try and understand why the homeownership rate was so low.
Using data from the Decennial Census and the American Community Survey, we found that many of Hartford’s neighborhoods are unaffordable, and there is a low housing stock of affordable homes.
Then, as we talked with our community partner, he wanted to find out if there were a group of people in Hartford who wanted to buy homes, but for some reason could not. To explore this question, we created an interview survey and interviewed 30 residents in two Hartford neighborhoods. Results to the analysis of interviews and raw data can be found under our findings section.
Ultimately, we are hoping that our findings will serve as a springboard for social advocacy, whether that be in the form of political legislation or non-profit efforts.