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
“We kind of held the place together for a long time with duct tape and bubble gum,” said Doug Denes, who served on the board of the Branford Housing Authority for more than two decades, including as chairman, until 2019.
Attempts over the past nine years to raze and replace the three deteriorating buildings have all failed, however, because of local opposition to the housing authority’s plan to lift the age restriction for the complex. Instead of housing 39 older residents, the new complex would accommodate 126 people of all ages, including families.
Some residents and elected officials in Branford, an affluent shoreline town near New Haven, have reacted with hostility to the plan, saying it would spoil the character of the community and attract undesirable people.Read more