New Jersey Just Took Bold Action on Exclusionary Zoning. Will Other States Follow Its Model?

With the U.S. in the worst housing affordability crisis of our lifetimes, lawmakers at all levels of government are increasingly feeling pressure to act. In March, President Biden unveiled a housing plan featuring two new tax credits, while state and local leaders across the country are proposing policy measures to protect vulnerable residents and increase the supply of affordable housing.

Read more
Share

Neighboring CT school districts have some of nation's starkest inequalities, new data shows

Connecticut is home to some of the nation's starkest inequality between neighboring school districts, new data shows.

As part of a project examining disparities in education, the Washington D.C.-based think tank New America analyzed thousands of adjacent school systems across the U.S., comparing the median household income of one district against the other. By this measure, previously unpublished data shows, Connecticut is home to 23 of the top 300 most unequal borders in the country, including eight of the top 100.

In most cases, these borders are between the state's largest cities and their suburbs, though in some instances the disadvantaged district is a small city or suburb. The border between Hartford and South Windsor represents the starkest disparity, followed by Hartford and West Hartford, Bridgeport and Fairfield, Bridgeport and Trumbull, and Waterbury and Cheshire.

Read more
Share

Housing Authority Branches Out To Branford

For the first time, the Housing Authority of New Haven is providing site-based housing vouchers outside of the Elm City itself, covering 40 low-income apartments in the town of Branford.

As housing advocates continue to push for a state bill that would allow local public housing agencies to build apartments in nearby towns, the Housing Authority of New Haven (HANH) is testing an alternative approach to funding affordable housing out of town: using the federal ​“Section 8” Housing Choice Voucher program, which the agency administers on a local level.

Read more
Share

Thousands of CT residents wait years for housing vouchers, officials say

The need for housing assistance has rapidly outpaced voucher supply in the northeast, leaving tens of thousands of people on waitlists that often only open every few years, representatives from three states said Thursday.

Housing officials from Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts spoke at a housing forum in Hartford on Thursday. Partnership for Strong Communities organized the event, which focused on rental assistance and voucher programs. These programs aim to offset rent costs for people with low incomes. In most programs, having a voucher means the government pays a portion of the tenant’s rent.

Read more
Share

CT’s racial and economic segregation among worst in the country, report finds

Connecticut is one of the most racially and economically segregated places in the country and both forms of division are increasing in at least some areas of the state, according to a new state-funded study.

Read more
Share

Housing, child care rank among CT residents’ top priorities for legislators. We’re ‘struggling.’

Black and Latino residents are concerned about health care, tipped wages, traffic enforcement, cash advance apps, community college funding and psilocybin decriminalization, among other things, and they want their legislators to take action.

That was the message at a recent virtual public policy forum, hosted by the Connecticut General Assembly Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, that drew more than 600 viewers for a constituent-led discussion on the issues affecting Black and Latino residents ahead of the 2024 legislative session.

Read more
Share

Lack of affordable housing causing longer shelter stays for homeless, CT advocates say

In the nearly eight months Christiana Anderson has been staying at a New London shelter, there were a few times she thought she’d found an apartment for herself and her teenage son.

But each time, the option fell through.

Anderson lost her housing in January, after her son had behavioral problems and the family members she was staying with decided they didn’t want them there anymore. “I was shaky. I was just thinking of how this could have happened to me,” she said of the day she lost her place to live.

Anderson is one of many people experiencing homelessness who are spending months looking for a new place to live in Connecticut, faced with high rent costs and a dearth of housing they can afford.

Read more
Share

This City Made Developers Build Affordable Housing or Pay Up. They All Paid.

A law designed to build affordable housing in Montreal—and which an elected official predicted would lead to 600 new units a year—has led to zero units of affordable housing, according to the city’s data. The law required developers to either build housing or pay into a fund. Every developer chose the second option.

In April 2021, Montreal adopted the Bylaw for a Diverse Metropolis. According to the law, developers who build five dwelling units (or the equivalent in terms of space) must sign an agreement with Montreal to either construct new city-subsidized housing or new affordable housing subsidized by the developer, along with other subsidies. If developers don’t build this housing, they can either donate land or pay directly into a fund that the city will use to build affordable housing units.

Read more
Share

There’s a Human Cost to All This Denied Housing

Connecticut’s media is full of stories about exclusionary planning commissions denying or delaying housing developments. But while these stories often quote people opposed to a project, they rarely discuss the consequences for our fellow residents. We need to focus on the human cost of all that denied housing and realize that each home that’s never built is a loss for the state and the families that would have made lives here.

2023 has not been a banner year for housing abundance in Connecticut. During the long legislative session, the two major housing proposals— Fair Share and Work Live Ride— did not pass (though the General Assembly did approve some parts).

Read more
Share

Smaller towns are not helping solve CT’s housing crisis

The acuity of the state’s housing shortage bears repetition. We need 89,000 affordable homes immediately.

The inventory of active real estate listings has declined 79% –from 18,610 in June of 2018 to 10,228 in 2020, to 3,932 in 2023 while the state’s population has increased 1.4%.

The story of this oft-told paradox is usually presented in the context of interest rates, restrictive zoning, and even as part of a larger supply and demand cycle. These explanations each hold merit. However, when we take a closer look at the towns, especially by population size, we observe a distinction, indeed, a bifurcation, in the allocations of their grand lists over time.

Read more
Share

  • Open Communities Alliance
  • 75 Charter Oak Avenue
  • Suite 1-200
  • Hartford, CT 06106
  • Phone: 860-610-6040