From policy reform to requests for financial infusions, affordable housing advocates are looking at different ways to address the widespread lack of housing affordability when the state legislature convenes on Jan. 4.
A separate coalition of more than 45 mostly nonprofit social service and advocacy groups called Growing Together Connecticut has taken up the banner of zoning reform. The group was launched earlier this year by the Hartford-based Open Communities Alliance, a group that started almost a decade ago to address racial segregation.
The new consortium brings together advocates in the realms of housing, civil rights, medicine and the faith community to push for building up existing urban communities and more affordable housing options in the suburbs.
Erin Boggs, the founding executive director of Open Communities Alliance, said in a December press release that the state is “in the depths of a housing affordability crisis.”
“There are over 135,000 households in Connecticut who earn only 30% of median income – that’s about $30,000 for a family of 4 – and pay over half of that income towards housing costs,” she said.
Housing is considered affordable when a household does not pay more than 30% of its income on expenses including mortgage or rent, utilities and taxes.
A 2020 report from Open Communities Alliance said 10,200 households in southeastern Connecticut meet those criteria. The group is advocating for zoning reform that would spread that need more equitably across the region instead of concentrating affordable housing in urban areas.
Advocates plan affordable housing priorities for 2023 legislative session, Elizabeth Regan, The Day, December 31, 2022, available here