Bridgeport residents facing eviction face shortage of affordable housing
A growing number of people in Bridgeport are facing eviction, and local officials say the severe shortage of affordable housing is making the crisis worse.
Reisa Williams, 44, says she's been very happy in her apartment on the East End of Bridgeport for the past seven years.
"Because it was so nice and cozy," Williams says.
She says she was happy until a new property owner took over and said she wanted her out so the multi-family house can be renovated.
Now Williams, who's renting on a month-to-month basis, says her once happy life is now packed up in boxes and she's terrified because she can't find a decent rental to fit her budget under Section 8.
"Wondering what am I going to do? What's the next step? And then when I go to look for another apartment, I have application fee after application fee. People are rude, people are mean, people don't care," Williams says.
Takeisha Cooper says she's in the same boat and it's sinking fast.
"They don't want to renew my lease," the 39-year-old says.
Like Williams, she loves her current place but says due to a dispute with the landlord, she's being forced out and every apartment she's looked at has been, in her words, "simply unlivable."
"I'm not living like that. I'm not moving out of a condo into a slumlord apartment. I'm not doing that," Cooper says.
Then, there's the case of 77-year-old Gloria Manning who says she has disabilities and needs to find an affordable apartment that's handicap-accessible because her current place is not.
Bridgeport City Council Member Jeanette Herron says with eviction protections vanishing as the pandemic winds down, Bridgeport is in the midst of an eviction and an affordable housing emergency.
But Herron says new units are being built across the city and more affordable housing will soon be available.
"I'm hoping that we can get the development done quickly and hoping that developers will come here and take the benefit of what is needed. They're going to make out and our residents will make out," Herron says.
But for Williams, Cooper and Manning and many residents like them, they say what's coming down the road is of zero help to them in the here and now.
"It's hard and I just can't go find an apartment like that. Snap!" Williams says.