THE WEALTH GAP

Spring 2014 Day of Service
Monday, May 19, 2014

Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states in the US, but also has some of the poorest cities. The wealth gap here is growing much faster than in most states. The poor live among the wealthy, but experience very different opportunities. Often, only a few feet can separate two different worlds: the have-lots and the have-nots. Seemingly different worlds, separated by thousands of miles, share this same phenomena. Some of the richest cities and countries also have the highest homeless populations. In May of 2014 Woodhall community members had the opportunity to experience and see this gap in communities throughout the state.  Immersion sites included meeting with organizations at the forefront of improving the inequalities in Connecticut.

Urban League of Greater Hartford and Attorney General of the State of Connecticut (Hartford, CT) In the morning, the group visited a Hartford based organization that promotes the self-empowerment of individuals to achieve educational, occupational and economic equality for themselves and their families. Following their visit, they ended the day with a private meeting with Attorney General George Jepson at his office, where he talked on how his office participates in issues of ensuring equity in the state of Connecticut.

Operation Hope (Fairfield, CT) In addition to learning more of the process and system behind the organization’s operation of the local shelter and food pantry, students were put into the shoes of a Fairfield resident experiencing food insecurity. Students were able to see how their desires and what was available conflicted.

Dwight Hall – Yale University Center for Public Service & Social Justice and Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven A walking tour of New Haven provided the chance to see the wealth disparity and inequality examining the housing along the sidewalk. The group also met with a group of local residents to help with a beautification project for the neighborhood.

Hands on Hartford (Hartford, CT) A driving tour of the wealth inequality in Hartford was given by a professor of social work at UCONN where the Section 8 housing (“projects”) and mansions are less than a half a mile apart. Following the tour, the group met two individuals as part of the “Faces of Homelessness” speaker’s bureau and visited local shelters to see the various facets of the inequality in the state capital.