Across Connecticut, thousands of government-subsidized affordable housing vouchers have gone unused in recent years, a Hearst Connecticut Media Group investigation found.
Residents who’ve won lotteries for the vouchers, in some cases after waiting years, often find themselves mired in government red-tape and restrictions.
The problem has worsened since the pandemic, with many voucher recipients finding themselves outmatched as they compete in a red hot housing market.Read more
Just days before Christmas, LaResse Harvey received the gift of a lifetime.
After spending two years on a waiting list, she received a call from the Bristol Housing Authority notifying her she had won the lottery for a government-subsidized housing voucher for low-income families. The voucher would cover a significant portion of her rent, allowing her to afford a place ranging from $1,089 to $1,144 per month, depending on the location.
Finally, she’d be able to rid herself of the constant anxiety of how she would come up with enough money for rent each month. She imagined never again being stuck in an unhealthy relationship because she couldn’t afford a place on her own. She was thrilled she would soon not have to sleep on her sister’s couch or in her SUV at highway rest stops.
“I was so excited,” Harvey said. “I go online. I start looking for an apartment.”Read more
Building subsidized low-income housing actually lifts property values in a neighborhood, contradicting NIMBY concerns
Building multiple publicly subsidized low-income housing developments in a neighborhood doesn’t lower the value of other homes in the area – and in fact can even increase their worth, according to a new peer-reviewed study I co-authored.
For the study, we looked at 508 developments financed through the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and built in the Chicago area from 1997 to 2016. We then examined their influence on more than 600,000 nearby residential sales, using data from local property assessments and tax records. We chose Chicago because of its size, well-established neighborhoods, substantial amount of subsidized housing developments, well-documented racial and ethnic segregation, pockets of persistent and concentrated poverty and excellent data coverage. While some readers may have pictures of dilapidated buildings in their minds, the projects we looked at were generally well built and well maintained.Read more
Griswold Hills has 128 units in nine low-rise, well-kept buildings constructed in what is called the “row and garden” style, sort of clusters of row houses. What is somewhat unusual about the complex is not its appearance but its origin — it is a set-aside development, meaning some units are set aside for persons earning less than the median income.
This and many other set-aside developments in Connecticut were aided by a state law known by developers, housing advocates and town officials as “8-30g.”
That is the statutory citation for the state’s Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Procedure, a process created 33 years ago to promote development of affordable housing. The law, which allows developers to override local zoning restrictions, has been highly controversial almost since it passed in 1989. There have been several efforts to abolish it, and there may be one more, depending on the gubernatorial election’s outcome.Read more
Planning and zoning meetings across Connecticut have been punctuated for decades with public comments to the effect that low-income housing will, should the commission dare allow for the introduction of such housing to their town, lower housing values of incumbent homeowners. The argument might be summarized that low-income housing development, by its very proximity to existing homes, reduces the sale value of this homes, thereby imposing, in effect, an additional property tax on the incumbents.
My analysis of the data demonstrates otherwise.Read more
Advocates believe Connecticut is in the midst of a housing crisis. They say the cost of housing at all levels is pricing out renters and potential owners who only a short time ago could afford their homes.
People are forced to move, these advocates say, because the apartment they could afford two years ago has now become far too expensive. For the first time in years, this has increased housing instability and homelessness in Connecticut.Read more
Government-backed affordable housing in Chicago has largely been confined to majority-Black neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty over the last two decades, a design that has perpetuated the city's long history of segregation.
As the neighborhoods faced rising divestment, gun violence and food deserts, the lack of affordable housing in other parts of the city restricted many people of color from leaving.
But now, using its largest pot of federal housing funding, Chicago wants to chart a corrective path by aggressively pushing for more affordable homes in high-income, well-resourced areas, which housing experts say would unlock previously unavailable opportunities for communities of color.Read more
On Wednesday, President Biden announced and outlined the next priority on his legislative agenda: a climate-centered infrastructure bill.
At $2 trillion-plus, the American Jobs Plan is a far-reaching proposal to modernize and transform the built environment and infrastructure of the United States. The scope of it is impressive. The plan would, if passed, provided a total of $115 billion for roads and bridges, $85 billion for public transit, $80 billion for passenger and freight rail and $111 billion for water infrastructure including $45 billion for lead abatement, to prevent another Flint, Mich., or Jackson, Miss.Read more