There are affordable housing units built in towns across Connecticut, often amid controversy and despite some public outcry.
The arguments against affordable housing often center around a town’s right to self-determination, to define the look, feel and character of a community, without interference from state officials.
Advocates say affordable housing is an economic imperative, and that racism and classism are often undercurrents beneath opposition to new developments.
Erin Boggs, executive director of housing advocate Open Communities Alliance, said the goal is mixed income housing in otherwise “exclusionary” communities.
Boggs defined “exclusionary” zoning as “zoning practices that put a priority and even in many cases have a complete requirement on having only large lot, single-family homes and not allowing the kind of density that can create beautiful housing that costs less.”
“I think affordable housing conjures up for many people, high-rise public housing developments, which have failed and aren't being built anymore,” Boggs said. “What's being built instead is much more likely to be mixed income, really beautiful housing.”
More common, Boggs said, and more aligned with the intention of 8-30g, are what she called, “inclusionary developments,” with “market rate units that are rented at a level that can offset some of the lower level, deed-restricted units.”
“That's a model that really works and if you go around the state and look at the 8-30g developments, it's very hard to pinpoint them and say, ‘Ah, that's affordable housing and that isn't.’ It's really, really impossible to do,” she said.
Why everyone in CT should care about affordable housing and 8-30g, Jordan Nathaniel Fenster, CT Insider, December 11, 2022, available here