NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Homelessness has become a growing issue in the state of Connecticut. One that will need more support to combat.
"All a person needs is a steady place to stay," said Representative Justin Farmer of Hamden's 5th District.
Although finding that place to stay hasn’t been so easy. A global pandemic making matters worse for some whose financials were already stretched thin.
"It only takes one crisis to be in that situation," said Farmer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created housing insecurity and pulled more people into homelessness. Federal and state aid can only go so far for people who already were without a safety net.
Hamden and New Haven officials are pushing for more affordable housing to spread out the burden being placed on cities that can’t keep up with the demand.
"There’s not enough affordable housing. Job opportunities aren’t there. We don’t have regional government, so we don’t share cost," said Farmer.
Mayor Justin Elicker of New Haven was one of those who spoke in support of several proposed planning and zoning reforms. He believes the “mansion tax” will help lighten the financial burden on cities whose citizens are forced to foot the bill for a state-wide issue.
"Our over emphasis on hyper local property tax funding definitely needs reform if we want to move our state forward to make it more equitable," said Elicker.
New Haven has invested over $1.2 Million from the CARES act to accelerate the pathway from homelessness to permanent housing. They are providing over a year of rent payments for some.
"When you increase the amount of affordable housing statewide, that helps with the overall supply of affordable housing," said Dr. Mehul Dalal, New Haven's Community Service Administrator. "Which is what we need to reduce and even potentially eliminate homelessness."
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