Wide-ranging CT affordable housing bill sparks familiar arguments

Ginny Monk | CT Mirror

Housing Committee members heard familiar arguments Tuesday on a wide-ranging bill that aims to increase affordable housing supply in Connecticut. While opponents argued for local control and less density, advocates spoke about a need to alleviate the fallout from the affordable housing crisis.

Senate Bill 6, the Senate Democrats’ priority bill on housing this session, would also allow housing authorities to build in other towns, give more money to the homelessness response system and add funding to the state’s Rental Assistance Program.

Advocates of the bill spoke to a dire need for more affordable housing. People are struggling to find a place to live, they said, and it’s difficult for people with low incomes to live in many communities in the state. Some also said it’s hard for employers to hire people because there isn’t enough housing for staff.


Housing advocates largely spoke in favor of S.B. 6, saying it would help create the housing the state desperately needs.

“This proposal for a Housing Growth Fund is intended to reward municipalities playing a meaningful role in generating the housing needed to meet the state’s affordable housing crisis with access to a $50 million municipal support fund,” Erin Boggs, executive director for the Open Communities Alliance, wrote in public testimony. “This type of state support for municipalities that are being true partners sends a clear message to municipalities that support for the overall needs of the state will be rewarded.”

Leaders from some larger cities that have the bulk of the state’s designated affordable housing also supported the bill.

“We believe in this incentive-based approach because we know that municipalities face unique circumstances and value the ability to make community-based decisions,” wrote Karen Dubois-Walton, president of New Haven’s Elm City Communities, in her public testimony. “This approach will provide municipalities with the flexibility to decide if and how they want to contribute to this shared issue and will reward the municipalities that choose to do so.”


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