"We want communities, mixed income communities where people who worked and grew up in those communities can live in those communities," said Congressman Jim Himes.
"Where do we go from here?" That was the question asked Monday during the Southern Connecticut Regional Housing Summit in Norwalk.
"It's a gathering of an amalgam of public, private and non-profit partners who are coming together to really examine what the issues in affordable housing are, both from a national and a legislative stand point and how they impact Southern Conneticut," said Pastor Carl McCluster of Shiloh Baptist Church in Bridgeport and Managing Director of F.R.E.E.D.O.M. (Faith Restoration Empowerment & Economic Development Outreach Ministries Inc.).
Congressman Himes said "We've got areas in this community where a half acre of land will cost you a million dollars. It is extraordinarily difficult in that context to create housing where people who are in the bottom half can afford to live there."
"It's your local Planning and Zoning, it's your common councils. When these projects come up, you have to raise your voice and make enough noise and say "we're not going to allow that" When they are going through their master plan of development which always requires your imput, you have to be there at the table to say "We're not going to allow gentrification." said State Representative Bruce Morris.
Keeping the public informed about what is going on in their area was a key part of discussions.
Vaughn Irons, CEO of APD Solutions said, "There has been a lot of misinformation out there, which is why the opportunity like this in order to discuss and credible imformation out is very important for people."
"Fairfield County is one of the richest counties in America. Bridgeport is a struggling city in the middle of one of the wealthiest counties in America. So you look at the issues here, you have all the issues in a microcosm," said Larry Parks, Senior Vice President of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.
A foreclosure prevention clinic will take place on Wednesday, June 18th in Bridgeport. For more information, visit www.ctfairhousing.org.