Are you interested in promoting affordable housing in your community?
There are a number of ways you can affect change in your town.
1. Educate yourself, your friends and neighbors about the best current research on the impact affordable housing has on a neighborhood.
- Partner with OCA to hold an event in your community to generate support for affordable housing to create diversity.
- Help Your Community Thrive, an OCA Fact Sheet
- Lessons from Mount Laurel: The Benefits of Affordable Housing for All Concerned, Douglas S. Massey
- The Property Value Myth: Mixed-Income & Affordable Housing Doesn’t Lower Property Values, Partnership for Strong Communities
- The School Cost Myth: All Housing Doesn’t Increase School Costs, Partnership for Strong Communities
- Identifying Neighborhood Thresholds: An Empirical Exploration, George Galster
- Study Shows the Benefits of Affordable Housing, Howard Gillette
- Myths and Facts about Affordable and High Density Housing, California Planning Roundtable and California Department of Housing and Community Development
- Myths and Stereotypes about Affordable Housing, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest
2. Become involved with town planning and zoning.
- Investigate the Connecticut Zoning Initiative website and see how your town compares to other towns
- Does your town require a larger minimum lot size than other towns?
- Does your town seem to have burdensome requirements for multifamily development as compared to single family development?
- Check out your town's planning documents, including the Plan of Conservation and Development, zoning regulations, and other planning documents, and become involved with updating them
- Example: Glastonbury's Plan of Conservation and Development
- Advocate for changes to zoning in your town
- Apply for an Incentive Housing Zone under HOMEConnecticut
- Work with LISC and the Housing Coalition to create housing connections
- Ease the ability to convert single-family homes to multifamily home
- Simplify the process for adding in-law suites (also called accessory apartments)
- Explore the possibility of allowing, as a right, the ability to reduce minimum lot size to 1/2 an acre for up to 30% of lots in a zone
- Increase the maximum allowable heights to add an additional story on commercial buildings to promote mixed-use buildings
3. Explore where opportunity housing would work best in town.
- Envision a development that would include affordable units in a way that could work in your town
- Would your town benefit from affordable multifamily homes? Mixed use development?
- Is there a particular property that would be a great location for development?
4. Join our partnership to continue this conversation.
Identify specific properties for future development or redevelopment.
Research developers with a good track record.
5. Work together to create a more welcoming town.
- Explore with neighbors of color their thoughts on the feeling of inclusion in the town and challenges that need to be overcome.
- Reach out to local landlords to educate them on why the Housing Choice Voucher program (formerly known as Section 8) is a good thing, in order to counteract the stigma associated with the program.
- Consider whether town activities are open to nearby communities that may be more racially diverse (sports leagues, town beaches or ponds, town parks and playgrounds, annual town events).
OCA is available to answer any questions you might have about any of these suggestions, or if you have your own ideas.