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.
All three officials painted a similar picture: people in need across the region who may have to wait years for help. In Connecticut, the Rental Assistance Program waitlist hasn’t been opened for 17 years, and the costs of offering the program have risen, said Steve DiLella, director of the Individual and Family Support Program Unit at the state’s Department of Housing.
“I think one of the biggest challenges we’ve seen is dramatic cost increase in the last few years,” DiLella said. “Just looking at our numbers, it was shocking to me when I actually looked back from two years ago.”
Rents have risen in Connecticut in recent years, and are up about 20% since 2021, according to data from the Partnership. Experts say rising rent costs are worsened by a shortage in the number of housing units available, particularly housing that’s affordable to Connecticut’s lowest-income renters.
Thousands of CT residents wait years for housing vouchers, officials say, Ginny Monk, CT Mirror, February 1, 2024, available here