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    Local Columns
    Friday, January 27, 2023

    This giving season, help us have impact

    You’ll want to catch up on our Housing Solutions Lab stories, photos, videos and podcasts because there’s much more to come.

    A year ago, we started raising funds for our first-ever community- and grant-funded investigation. We chose housing as a topic, and since we began our reporting, the need for safe and affordable housing in our region has become even more dire.

    With your help, we’re already having an impact, particularly around our reporting on mold-infested apartments in Groton.

    And we’re just getting started.

    On Sunday and Monday, we’re rolling out the next set of stories. Reporter Elizabeth Regan will introduce an affordable housing developer who has successfully navigated the bumpy bureaucratic and local landscapes to win approval for two projects. Regan also takes a look at the state’s affordable housing law and how each of the region’s towns is complying.

    Housing is a deeply personal topic, and we’re grateful for the people who are sharing their stories. This weekend’s package includes a profile of a North Stonington woman who has spent her entire life “on the run” from rising rents.

    We hope you’ll enjoy the photos, videos and graphics by Sarah Gordon, Peter Huoppi and Scott Ritter.

    How to help

    On Tuesday, Nov. 29, a day known nationally as Giving Tuesday, we begin fundraising for the next round of investigative stories. If you support this kind of local, in-depth reporting, we’re asking you to give what you can.

    Working with the Local Media Association, we’ve set a goal of $50,000 for our online campaign, which can be found at https://givebutter.com/thedayhousing. Since we started the online campaign a year ago, we have raised $10,925, and we’re thankful for every dollar.

    We’re hoping to raise a total of $150,000 for the yearlong project. To date, we’ve raised $69,000. A list of our donors can be found at https://www.theday.com/housing-solutions-lab/20220814/thanks-to-our-donors/. We’re asking you to continue supporting this project on Giving Tuesday and into 2023 as we turn our focus to solutions.

    Join us on Facebook

    If you want to hear more about the project, join members of our Housing Solutions Team at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday for a live presentation and chat on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thedayct.

    A little more about our Housing Solutions Lab: We started reporting in April and published our first set of stories in August, amplifying the voices of homeless people living in hotels, renters whose homes are contaminated by mold and lead and those who are stuck in untenable living conditions because they can’t afford to move.

    We analyzed data, spoke with public health experts and elected officials and, most important, told stories through the voices of our neighbors in need of affordable housing.

    As we started the investigation this past spring, the City of New London began tearing down the Thames River Apartments, a federal housing complex once thought to be an affordable housing solution but later deemed unsafe and slated for demolition. It was a topic we’d written about for years, but we felt we’d never told the full story of the Thames River buildings and residents.

    We’re proud of the stories produced by reporter Johana Vazquez and photographer Sarah Gordon, and we’ll soon be publishing some of that content in Spanish in order to reach a growing and important audience.

    Our reporting on housing and health by Kimberly Drelich and intern Julia Walker has already had an impact. We amplified the voices of Branford Manor apartment residents suffering from respiratory issues due to mold contamination, and town, city and federal officials are taking action to ensure their living conditions improve.

    We’ll stay with the mold story in the coming months.

    Make a difference

    In a separate, but just as important appeal, we’ll begin publishing our annual Make a Difference series on Monday in which we highlight a person or family being helped by a local organization each day, through Dec. 24, with instructions on how you can help. Make a Difference is now 15 years old, and we’re proud of the way we, and our readers, come together to help our neighbors in need.

    Thank you for supporting the important work of your local newspaper. Together we are truly making a difference.

    Karen Florin is The Day’s engagement editor. Reach her at k.florin@theday.com or (860) 701-4217.

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