All of the affordable housing bills pending before the Connecticut State Legislature are about
providing more affordable rental housing not affordable owned housing in Connecticut. Most
accomplish it through building market rate rentals with a small percentage of affordable
rental units that after a certain time revert to market rental rates.
Towns where affordable condominiums or homes are either constructed or repurposed from
commercial units do not count towards a town or city’s affordable housing stock. This is
sending a message that the Connecticut Legislature is against towns striving to increase the
rate of home ownership by working class and middle class residents.
The argument that affordable owned units cannot be constructed by any means is incorrect.
The proof is that affordable, not luxury affordable housing can be built is that it was done on
a large scale in the post World War II period.
At the end of World War II a large number of soldiers returned home, quickly married and
needed housing for their new families. Creating political stability required employment and
the opportunity to live the “American Dream” of employment, home ownership and family.
Entrepreneurial builders overcame the obstacles of what had been an expensive and
inefficient housing industry which was plagued with shortages leading to higher pricing and
unaffordability. This was accomplished using the Levitt Model of building smaller sized
houses that were built in an assembly line model where the assembly line moved from house
to house completing up to 30 houses a day.
New affordable housing should prioritize affordable ownership rather than rentals. Towns
should work to find appropriate sites where they can be built and streamline the regulator
process for affordable home construction.
Submitted by Dr. Michael Goldstein, Greenwich