Addressing Housing Needs in CT

February 28, 2023
As the legislative session continues, I wanted to update you on some of the latest housing initiatives proposed by the Governor and legislative leaders. Later this week, I will share more about the Public Health Committee’s hearing on Medical Aid in Dying, access to voting, and transportation proposals.

Just over a week ago, I joined fellow Bridgeport delegation members for the Governor's press conference highlighting his proposals to address the need for more housing for our residents. It struck home yesterday when Senator Murphy’s office reached out for a local contact to help find shelter in the storm, quite literally, for a woman living out of her car and struggling to connect with resources. Homelessness in Connecticut rose 13% last year, but the need for more affordable housing spans many income levels. Below, you will find more information about the Governor's efforts, recent articles and activities highlighting the need for housing, housing need statistics, and an upcoming mental health webinar.

You can click on any of the links above to jump to that section of the email. I hope that you find these resources helpful.
Governor's Housing Proposals
I recently joined Governor Lamont and the Bridgeport delegation to highlight the fiscal year 2024-2025 biennial budget proposal that includes efforts for increased access to affordable and workforce housing throughout Connecticut. In total, the budget proposal invests $600 million over the biennium for affordable housing using a mix of state and federal resources – nearly doubling our current efforts.

How the funding breaks down:

  • $100 million ($50 million annually) - Added to the state’s Time-To-Own program
    • Down payment assistance to low and moderate-income homebuyers
    • This level of funding is expected to assist in the purchase of about 1,250 homes annually
  • $200 million ($100 million annually) - Expand workforce development housing
    • Provide an additional 2,000 units of housing with a focus on those with a household income of 60% to 120% of the area median income
  • $100 million ($50 million annually) - Housing Trust Fund, with an emphasis on multi-unit housing in downtown areas close to transportation
  • $200 million ($100 million annually) - Flexible housing

These investments are projected to create 6,400 new units of affordable and workforce housing over the biennium, a needed step in addressing our significant gap in housing.

I was proud to join my colleagues as one of the newest members to the Bridgeport delegation. I also want to recognize Governor Lamont for his efforts in addressing the complex housing issues our state continues to face. This is an issue that we will need all stakeholders, community members, and local leaders to assist in addressing. I look forward to our continued conversations.

To read more about the press conference, please click the button below:

WSHU Article
In addition to the Governor's budget efforts, he has also proposed two housing-related bills that support renters' rights, and incentivizes the production of new housing units for low and middle-income families.
Housing Need Statistics
Connecticut continues to face a crisis level shortage of workforce and affordable housing. The Center for Housing Opportunity, in conjunction with the Urban Institute has issued a report finding that we need 86,000+ units for low income households alone. That is only for those making 0-30% of area median income. It’s tens of thousands more when you include others making more.
Joe Carbone - President and CEO of The WorkPlace in Bridgeport - recently highlighted the dire need for workforce and affordable housing in a CT Post OpEd.

In his piece, Joe shares some startling statistics that put into perspective the urgency of our housing crisis:

  • Connecticut is the 6th oldest state in the nation with an aging workforce
    • Younger, skilled workers are leaving the state for more affordable opportunities
  • Our vacancy rates have dropped by half from 6% - 3% over the last few years
    • Vacancy rates for income-restricted housing is even lower at 2%

You can read Joe's OpEd by clicking the button below:

Housing Shortage OpEd
Affordable Housing in the Community
Two weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes visited the Pine Tree apartments in Fairfield to bring awareness to our continued need for housing in the community, including the need for housing vouchers. Of those 86,000+ units short for workforce housing statewide, Fairfield County alone is estimated to need more than 30,000 units to address housing needs.

The Pine Tree apartments in Fairfield have 50 affordable units, with both one and two bedroom apartments and are a great example of how we can provide safe and affordable housing in the community. Housing vouchers can be used in many locations, but it is difficult to make use of a voucher if housing units are not available.

Fairfield County Talks Housing 8-30g
Last week, the Center for Housing Opportunity hosted a discussion titled: Fairfield County Talks Housing: Just the facts about 8-30g.

The discussion was co-hosted by Evonne Klein, Founder of Fairfield County Talks, and Dave Goldenberg, Chair of the Ridgefield Affordable Housing Committee. The hosts were joined by Community Development Specialist for the Department of Housing Mike Santoro, and Sean Ghio, Policy Analyst for Partnership for Strong Communities. Mike and Sean answered questions posed by both the hosts and the audience about 8-30g, an affordable housing appeals law that has generated significant discussion in the community related to affordable housing development.

If you want to learn more about 8-30g, please click the button below to watch the recorded version. Please note, the video starts around 2:18 into the recording.

Watch Recorded Discussion
Mental Health Webinar
On Thursday, March 2 from 6:00PM - 7:30PM, the Region 1 Local Health Departments will host their second mental health webinar in their series. This webinar will focus on the mental health crisis and ensuring emotional health and resilience in our families, adolescents, and teens.

Panel experts will provide information on mental health, how best to support our adolescents/teens, and community resources. Please register ahead of time by clicking the button below.

Register for Webinar
Join Webinar