HARTFORD, Conn. — With a legislative session three weeks away and campaign season over, a consortium of 45 agencies and faith leaders marched to the Legislative Office Building Tuesday with a clear message for lawmakers.
“We’re at a point of crisis both with housing affordability and housing segregation," said Erin Boggs, Executive Director of Open Communities Alliance.
Growing Together CT held a press conference calling on law makers to adopt a proposal that would grow Connecticut’s affordable housing stock by 135 thousand units over the next decade. They want lawmakers to adopt a set of proposals that would protect tenants from unfair practices, invest $50 million a year in housing, and incentivize zoning practices so more suburbs share in the affordable housing stock.
“We are asking for an annual appropriation that will be used to fund communities that are doing their share to build more housing in our state," said Karen DuBois-Walton of Elm City Communities.
They said the housing crisis is impacting thousands of families like a mom of two, Jahaira Vega, who says she was evicted in West Hartford for calling the fire department about a dangerous heating concern.
"I had to leave my home and became homeless with my two daughters. We bounced from hotel to hotel," she said.
The 16-year West Hartford resident became a recipient of a housing voucher, or Section 8, after losing everything in a fire. When her home heating skyrocketed to 90 degrees and her landlord didn’t take immediate action, she called the fire department out of fear. She says her landlord raised her rent and eventually had her evicted.
“I found out that even me being homeless, she was still collecting the Section 8 payments. She collected October, November, and December while me being homeless," she said.
Connecticut has some 33 thousand housing vouchers but half are left unused due to a lack of housing stock.
“The future of the state’s economy. We have 100 thousand unfilled jobs in Connecticut right now and workers need a place to live. Our economy will thrive if we can create housing and do this correctly," said Boggs.
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