Affordable Housing

Housing is a basic human need.  In addition to providing shelter, the types of housing available in a municipality help define community character and, based on the cost and size of available units, determine who is able to reside in a particular town.  An adequate supply of safe, sanitary and affordable housing (defined by HUD as housing that costs no more than 30 percent of a household’s gross income) is essential to both retaining existing household members as they move through their life cycle and attracting new residents to the region.

In 2012, Connecticut was ranked by the National Low Income Housing Coalition as the sixth least affordable state in the nation in terms of housing costs.  To address this reality, stakeholders from the public, private and non-profit sectors are working to provide a broad range of housing opportunities for people of all incomes, ages and races, on a fair and equitable basis.  Housing diversity is a key component of sustainability, as single and multi-family, renter and owner-occupied, mixed-income, assisted and supportive housing options must be readily available within the regional marketplace if the needs of all people are to be met.  A library of affordable housing materials and resources are highlighted in this section.

Reports / Plans

Regional Plan of Conservation and Development Update-Housing11_Housing_CRCOG_Regional_Plan_2014_FINAL_001

Updated by CRCOG in 2014, the Capitol Region Plan of Conservation and Development: Vibrant. Green. Connected. Competitive. is a general guide for the future conservation and development of the greater Hartford area. It encourages the creation of a more sustainable region and presents some of the challenges and choices that will ultimately shape the region’s future.  The Housing chapter includes an overview of housing conditions in the Region, an affordability assessment, indicators of housing needs (current and future) and goals and policy recommendations that target increasing housing opportunities and choice, enforcing fair housing laws, supporting neighborhood revitalization, and improving linkages between housing, jobs and services.

Click here to download the Chapter.

Click here to download the Executive Summary.

Click here to access the full plan.

 

 

Housing Affordability, Housing Choice

Housing_Brief_001This two-page issue brief, published by the bi-state Sustainable Knowledge Corridor, includes an overview of why access to affordable housing choices is important and discusses trends and issues that have contributed to inequalities at the local and regional level. Metrics that can be used to measure progress in this arena, opportunities to support change and resources for learning more are included as well.

Click here to download the brief.

 

 

HousingInCT2014PSC_HousingInCT2014_Final_001

This report, published annually by the Partnership for Strong Communities, provides the public with a snapshot of Connecticut’s housing market and needs, using current data and research.  According to the 2014 edition, Connecticut remained one of the most expensive states to buy or rent a home and the demand for rental housing increased significantly.  While data showed a 4% decline in homelessness and a 10% decline in chronic homelessness, housing prices remained out of reach for many Connecticut households.

Click here to download the report.

 

 

Out of Reach 2015

OOR_2015_FULL_001Published by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach quantifies the challenges low and moderate-income families throughout the nation face in finding decent, affordable housing.  The report provides a side-by-side comparison of wages and rents in every county, Metropolitan Area and state in the U.S.  This edition “highlights some of the economic challenges facing low income renters, including lagging wages, inconsistent job growth and the rising cost of living”. Click here to visit Out of Reach’s new interactive website, which allows users to quickly find key statistics for their state and compare county-level data to state-level data or to data from other county or metropolitan areas within the state.

Download the full printable report (.pdf) to read more.

 

 

Opening Doors: Greater HartfordOpening Doors full-plan_001

Opening Doors: Greater Hartford is an initiative aimed towards eliminating homelessness in the capitol region. Realizing that there are numerous causes for homelessness, Opening Doors: Greater Hartford offers a multifaceted approach to combat it.  By utilizing resources already available and working in the community to create new programs, Opening Doors: Greater Hartford is our community’s comprehensive plan to prevent and end homeless in the Greater Hartford Area.

Download the full printable report (.pdf) to read more.

 

 

State of the Nation’s Housing, 2013

son2013_001The State of the Nation’s Housing, now in its 25th year, is released annually by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. This year’s report “provides a current assessment of the state of the housing market and the foreclosure crisis; the economic and demographic trends driving housing demand; the state of mortgage finance; and ongoing housing affordability challenges”.

Download the full printable report (.pdf) to read more.

 

 

 

 

2015 Housing Data Profiles PSC_2015HsgProfile_CT (1)_002

Published by the Partnership for Strong Communities, this compendium includes municipal Housing Data Profiles for every town in Connecticut, each county, and a statewide profile as well.  The 2015 edition includes charts and graphs visualizing data on housing stock, income, age distribution of residents, housing characteristics, housing costs and affordability, housing production and affordable units.  In addition, a narrative analysis of housing conditions for each municipality, and a list of Key Stats, is provided as well.

Click here to access the 2015 Housing Data Profiles.

 

 

FoodatHome_001Food at Home: Affordable Housing as a Platform to Overcome Nutritional Challenges

This report, published by Enterprise Community Partners and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provides a series of actionable recommendations that demonstrate how affordable housing and housing providers can serve as a crucial conduit for providing low-income families with access to healthy foods and fostering healthy eating. It also highlights some of the existing programs and best practices in addressing the nutritional needs of low-income communities.

Download the full printable report (.pdf) to read more.

 

 

2015 Age-Friendly: Inspiring Communities ReportAge-Friendly-Inspiring-Communities-2015_001

AARP International looked at efforts in the United States and worldwide to identify projects and programs that are worth sharing and, when possible, replicating. The 2015 Age-Friendly: Inspiring Communities Report presents a collection of age-friendly “good practices” and features 16 communities. The report is organized according to which of the World Health Organization’s “8 Domains of Age-Friendliness” (referred to in the U.S. as the “8 Domains of Livability”) the work most represents. However, since the efforts underway in each community touch upon needs in multiple domains, sub-domains are identified as well. Individually and together, the case studies show the inspiring work now underway to meet the needs of older adults. Creating great places for people of all ages enables older residents to participate in community life.

Click here to access the report and to review the Housing section (Domain 3).

Toolbox

Smart Growth Guidelinestoolbox3

In 2008, the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Smart Growth Program to identify tools and strategies for implementing a state affordable housing program, HOMEConnecticut, to grow smarter, ensure healthy and affordable housing, and support long-term economic competitiveness at the local and regional levels.  The guidelines in this document are a result of that collaboration and will help guide development in the 30 urban, suburban, and rural municipalities that make up the Connecticut Capitol Region.

Download the full printable version (.pdf) to read more.

 

Sustainable Land Use Model Regulations

toolbox1

CRCOG’s innovative booklet of Sustainable Land Use Model Regulations equips towns with model regulatory language covering ten specific topic areas, including Housing Diversity and Affordability (with a focus on accessory dwelling and live/work units). A separate section focuses on inclusionary workforce housing as an element of compact, mixed-use development patterns. The project, funded by a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, also included the creation of renderings to help communities visualize the physical impact of implementing the regulations. The visualizations were created for urban, suburban and rural communities at both a bird’s eye and street-level view. Click here to access: specific regulations by topic, the complete compendium of regulations, the accompanying visualizations and a video about the project.

 

Sample Local Regulations

Town of Simsbury-Workforce Housing Overlay Zone

Adopted by the Simbury Zoning Commission in April of 2013 as one tool to create “workforce” (affordable) housing, thisSimsbury Town Seal_black regulation uses many of the components of the Incentive Housing Zone legislation that was passed by the Connecticut Legislature, but does not fully meet the criteria for the process requirements and density limitations contained in the legislation.  The regulation does include specific density requirements which the Town feels provides significant incentives to create attractive, yet affordable housing units. It also contains graphic illustrations to show specific types of acceptable development for each of the six (6) subzones allowed under the regulation.

Download the regulation here.

 

Resources

PSC-LogoThe Partnership for Strong Communities seeks to create safe, secure homes and expand opportunities for all residents of Connecticut through its Reaching Home Campaign, which aims to prevent and end homelessness; its HOMEConnecticut campaign, which seeks to increase the affordable housing stock in locations where there is little or none; and by conducting forums that explore solutions in community development, transportation, education and other disciplines intimately connected to housing policy.

 

 

Connecticut Housing Coalition new logo

The Connecticut Housing Coalition works to expand housing opportunity and to increase the quantity and quality of affordable housing available to people with low and moderate incomes throughout Connecticut through advocacy, education and collaboration.  The Housing Coalition is the state’s foremost membership organization for affordable housing, representing the broad, vibrant network of community-based, affordable housing activity across the state.

 

 

Logo IconJourney Home is a nonprofit organization leading the implementation of Opening Doors-Greater Hartford, the regional comprehensive plan to prevent and end homelessness.  Journey Home works with local, regional, and statewide agencies and municipalities to accelerate progress towards preventing and ending homelessness.  Through collaboration and innovation, Journey Home develops new initiatives based on data, research, and best practices.

 

 

 

CFHC-color-small

The mission of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center is to ensure that all people have equal access to housing opportunities in Connecticut.  Because low-income people are particularly affected by discriminatory housing practices, the Center devotes the majority of its resources to assisting these Connecticut residents.  The Center also assists homeowners who have been hit hardest by the nation’s ongoing foreclosure crisis.

 

 

 

HUD logoHUD’s Sustainable Communities eNews highlights information on emerging best practices that America’s communities and regions are generating to make their communities more economically competitive, inclusive, and energy efficient. Read the eNewsletter to learn how America’s communities are developing strategies to help ensure their economic, environmental, and social sustainability.

 

 

COA-NewLogo-Horizontal-tag-co

Connecticut’s Legislative Commission on Aging is the non-partisan, public policy and research office of the Connecticut General Assembly.  For more than twenty years, the Legislative Commission on Aging has served as an effective leader in statewide efforts to promote choice and dignity and to enhance the quality of life for Connecticut’s older adults and persons with disabilities.  Through the livable communities initiative, Connecticut’s Legislative Commission on Aging is providing information and inspiration for community leaders to shape places that can support Connecticut residents across the lifespan.  Livable communities offer affordable, accessible and diverse housing and transportation options and public spaces and buildings, supportive community features and services, and vibrancy and opportunities for community engagement.

 

 

Funding Sources

New Alliance Bank LogoThis New Haven-based foundation provides support to the non-profit community in four key areas, including Community Development, and targets “programs and initiatives that support and encourage affordable housing and/or, expand home ownership opportunities, leading to safe, economically viable neighborhoods”, as one of its many funding priorities. Fifteen CRCOG towns fall within its funding jurisdiction.  The deadline for submitting applications in 2016 is July 1st. For application guidelines, visit www.newalliancefoundation.org.

 

Bank of America Logo2The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is offering grants for nonprofits working to address issues pertaining to community development. Examples of funding priorities include: Affordable Housing (housing, home buyer education, homeowner retention, financial stability), Neighborhood Preservation (addressing distresses properties and blight), and Community Revitalization (comprehensive place-based revitalization, community anchors, fostering green communities, transit-oriented development and economic development).

The application period for grants focusing on Community Development is open from April 19 through May 6, 2016.  To learn more about the Bank of America Charitable Foundation program, visit the Foundation’s webpage. To review specifics about the Community Development funding priority, click here.

 

In the News

Newspaper clip artJourney Home, Inc. Launches Greater Hartford Universal Housing Application

Web-based tool simplifies process for those experiencing homelessness to access supportive and transitional housing and rapid re-housing programs

 HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 5, 2013 – A new web-based Universal Housing Application launched this week at a number of Greater Hartford agencies and programs that serve the region’s homeless population. Journey Home, Inc., in conjunction with Empowered Solutions Group and many community partners, developed the system to simplify the process for those experiencing homelessness to access supportive housing, transitional housing, and rapid re-housing.  At the launch, 19 housing programs within twelve different agencies were participating in this streamlined application process.

“The path to safe and stable housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness is currently time-consuming and confusing,” said Matt Morgan, Executive Director, Journey Home, Inc.  “For clients experiencing homelessness, identifying the resources, determining eligibility, and ultimately applying for each housing program can be an insurmountable challenge. It isn’t easy for their case managers either, as they are expected to be experts on housing resources that often change faster than information can be disseminated.”

Clients and social service providers will both benefit from the Greater Hartford Universal Housing Application as it reduces the amount of time it takes for clients to apply for multiple housing programs and pre-screens them for basic eligibility.  For the housing programs, the system’s pre-screening tool lets them know whether the applicants meet the basic eligibility criteria. Clients only have to fill out one application with their case manager, and their information can be updated at any time to assess them for changed eligibility and allow for higher rates of contact when someone comes to the top of a pre-screened waiting list. Each housing program can then follow up to request any additional documentation and verifications once an applicant reaches the top of their pre-screened wait list. 

“There are approximately 900 homeless individuals in the Greater Hartford region at any point in time, and more than three times that number over the course of a year, according to data from the statewide Connecticut Homelessness Management Information System.  With resources as scarce as ever, a coordinated system will go far in helping local service providers find people experiencing homelessness a place to live,” Morgan said.

Development of the Greater Hartford Universal Housing Application system was funded primarily by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving in addition to three other funders: Fisher Foundation, Charles Nelson Robinson Foundation, and the George and Grace Long Foundation. 


Implementation Projects

SINAHomeownership Incentive Program, South End, Hartford

In 2012, The MetroHartford Alliance launched a Homeownership Incentive Program and today, all three members of the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA)–Trinity College, Hartford Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center–have implemented their own version of the program to promote homeownership in the South End of Hartford. Employees in good standing have the ability to receive a loan of $10,000 to be put towards a home that is forgiven in its entirety after five years of residency and continued employment with the institution. To learn more about the program, visit SINA’s website.