What We Talk About When We Talk About Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is the subject of a number of bills in Connecticut right now. But what do we really mean when we talk about "affordable housing"?

That conversation could start with a question much like the one asked by State Senator Dan Champagne at a virtual Planning and Development public hearing last week.

"Do you know how many affordable housing units exist in Connecticut?" Champagne asked of Sara Bronin.


Sam Giffin, a data and policy analyst with Open Communities Alliance, a civil rights organization focused on housing, believes he has an answer to Senator Champagne’s question. There aren’t enough affordable housing units in Connecticut.

It all starts with the definition of "affordable housing." He measured it a few ways in a recent OCA report. Looking at the most severe need —that is households who pay 50% of their income to housing and make 30% of the area median income— Giffin found that 135,740 households in Connecticut need affordable housing.

“When we talk about the 135,000 households in need of affordable housing in Connecticut that is in addition to all the low income households that are in subsidized affordable housing,” Giffin said.

There are 174,208 households getting some kind of assistance, according to the Connecticut Department of Housing’s Affordable Housing Appeals List.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Affordable Housing, Ali Oshinskie, Connecticut Public Radio, Mar. 26, 2021, available here

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