Affordable Housing, Homelessness, State News

Affordable Housing A Central Focus of Bond Bill, Implementer

 

The bond authorization bill and budget implementation legislation passed over the last several days by the General Assembly makes affordable housing creation a central focus, with hundreds of millions of dollars in potential new resources provided by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and endorsed by the legislature.

The bond bill provides $100 million in new affordable housing capital - $50 million in each year of the biennium - split equally between the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)'s Housing Trust Fund and its Flex program, which provides funding for housing creation, restoration and other related uses. The bond bill also provides DECD with $30 million in the first year of the biennium for up to 150 new units of permanent supportive housing. Beyond that unprecedented increase in direct funding for housing, the bond bill also authorizes:

  • $25 million in each year of the biennium for brownfields remediation administered by DECD. Old factories and other sites that require environmental cleanup can be converted to mixed-income and affordable housing.
  • $50 million in each of the two years for Urban Act funding, which can go toward affordable housing creation.
  • $20 million in each year for Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants that, likewise, can be used to support housing creation.

"Gov. Malloy and the General Assembly have made it crystal clear that they are committed to ending homelessness by expanding the highly successful supportive housing initiative and that a safe, affordable and secure home is not only the ticket to individual opportunity but also the path to Connecticut's economic growth," said Howard Rifkin, interim executive director of the Partnership for Strong Communities. "This investment will create thousands of construction jobs and new, affordable homes for workers, families, disabled and elderly residents and the young adults we need to make Connecticut a prosperous place to work, live and build a business."

Additionally, regional planning organizations will get $7.2 million in the first year of the biennium and $7.4 million in the second year for grants to municipalities that provide joint services, which could be used for joint housing and development initiatives. The Department of Social Services will also get 150 Rental Assistance Payment (RAP) certificates for households being served by the Department of Children and Families.

The state budget, which was approved in May by the legislature, also included:

  • Authorization to expand the FUSE program for frequent users of expensive health, mental health and other state services so they can be served in less expensive, more effective supportive housing units with related services. The authorization would allow creation of 160 new FUSE units for individuals - beyond the current 80 FUSE units now in place - through use of budget funds that have been authorized.
  • $4 million in PILOT payments and tax abatements for municipalities with public housing to deter rent increases for public housing residents.
 
 

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