BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Bridgeport resident Barbara Dancy has a legacy that spans several decades.
"I turned 86 last month," Barbara said with pride as she reflected on how much she has done and how her age hasn't slowed her down.
"I love what I do; I wouldn't want to do anything else," Barbara explained.
Since 1986, she and her husband of 86 years, James Dancy, has worked to resolve poverty and create affordable housing cooperatives in Connecticut through their non-profit organization, TechniCo-op, Inc.
"It allows more people than ever before, more poor people than ever before, to access the American Dream," James explained.
James said Affordable Housing Cooperative helps people get real estate.
Barbara emphasized that it's a development that the people do not own, but a cooperative effort where buildings are occupied by people that are signed occupancy agreements instead of leases.
"They are able to build up equity from their monthly payment that they actually make," said Barbara.
She said co-ops are vital to have in the community because it provides the membership for the opportunity to perform, be a part of, and make decisions where you work closely with city agencies.
While they work with predominantly Black and brown communities, their focus is on low-income families.
However, Barbara Dancy says she hopes the community values the impact and efforts she and her husband have in making a difference in the community.
Cassandra Gaines is a former employee and resident with Dancy's co-op housing. Through mentorship and community service with the church, she says that Barbara has genuinely made strides to change the trajectory of so many lives in the community.
"I went to a meeting one time, and they asked me, who influenced you, and I started crying because I thought of Barbara Dancy," passionately explained Gaines. "She brings that motherly love into everything she does and to anybody she meets."
Barbara says no matter her age, she will strive to make a difference to inspire other women and people of color to be movers and shakers in history.
"Life is a special occasion, and you have to get the most out of it," said Barbara. "You have to work hard; you have to believe in what you're doing."
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