Twenty years ago, Jim lived under a highway bridge in New Haven. He was in his 50s and had once been in the Army. After an honorable discharge, he bounced from one job to another, drank too much, became estranged from his family and finally ended up homeless. A New Haven mental health outreach team found him one morning sleeping under the bridge. The team tried for months to get Jim to accept psychiatric services. Finally, one day, he relented. The outreach workers quickly helped him get disability benefits, connected him to a psychiatrist and got him a decent apartment. But two weeks later, safe in the apartment, Jim said he wanted to go live under the bridge again. He was more comfortable there, where he knew people and felt like he belonged, he said. In his apartment he was cut off from everything.
As the legislature considers whether to override Gov. Malloy’s veto of changes to the state’s affordable housing law, it should be aware of the facts about the law and what it accomplishes.