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About Connecticut's Affordable Housing Conference: Road to Recovery

Partnership for Strong Communities (PSC) hosted Connecticut’s second annual Affordable Housing Conference (CAHC) virtually across November 15, 16 and 17, 2021This year the CAHC focused on our Roadmap to Recovery-- how our state can leverage existing and new capital, and drive affordable housing policy and programmatic changes that support both equitable short-term and long-term recovery. The CAHC featured a menu of 20 sessions relevant to affordable housing developers, tenants and tenant advocates, lenders and funders, public housing authorities, municipal and state policy leaders, housing advocates and partners.

Recordings of each session are available on demand on the Partnership's YouTube channel

The CAHC was free and open for all to attend with the generous support of our sponsors. For questions or more information, contact

In 2020, PSC organized the inaugural Conference: Tipping Point which offered a virtual multi-day event with conversations that explore challenges, share best practices, and coalesce us around critical next steps to address key affordable housing issues in our state. 

Conference Agenda

Open the full conference agenda or see below for full list of sessions. 

Monday November 15

9:30    Conference Kick-Off  Sponsored by Webster Bank and People's Bank

Welcome: Kiley Gosselin, Executive Director, Partnership for Strong Communities

Opening Remarks: Governor Ned Lamont, State of Connecticut

10:00   Ripple Effect: Exploring the Toll of Evictions on Connecticut's Communities

A Partnership for Strong Communities IForum Sponsored by Liberty Bank and Bank of America

The Partnership for Strong Communities annual IForum Series showcases the interdisciplinary nature of housing policy. 'Ripple Effect: Exploring the Toll of Evictions on Connecticut’s Communities' will explore the human experience of eviction. Speakers will share the ripple effect evictions have throughout individuals' lives and their communities. An interdisciplinary panel will look at evictions from a holistic perspective and will include participants from faith-based organizations, legal services, education, and mental health.  Presenters:  Sophie House, Housing Solutions Lab, NYU Furman Center; Cecil Thomas, Greater Hartford Legal Aid; Sylvia Cooper, Ministerial Health Fellowship

11:30   Does the Road to Integration Run Through Your Town? Sponsored by LISC and National Equity Fund

Presenters will share an overview of findings in the recently completed Connecticut Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. The analysis suggests that Connecticut is more segregated than even just five years ago. This session will share what the findings of the analysis mean for pandemic recovery, and future housing and land use policy. Presenters will investigate the reasons why Connecticut has made little versus no progress in creating more diverse communities. The session will provide housing advocates, developers, and municipal leaders with suggestions for reducing barriers to integration.  Presenters:  Erin Kemple, Connecticut Fair Housing Center; Michelle Riordan-Nold, Connecticut Data Collaborative; Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens, Connecticut Fair Housing Center

12:30   Partnership for Strong Communities Research Associates Program: Spotlight on the Researchers Sponsored by CT Association of Realtors

The Partnership for Strong Communities Research Associates Program engages Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) freelance writers and researchers to produce policy and research materials on affordable housing and homelessness in Connecticut. Hear the inaugural group of Research Associates present an overview of their original research and writing on key affordable housing and housing stability issues facing our state.  Presenters:  Thalia Giraldo, Trinity College; Alexis Meehan, Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments; Jamil Ragland

2:00   Tenants’ Right to Legal Counsel in Evictions  Sponsored by CT Voices

In 2020, Connecticut passed a path-breaking law creating a right to legal representation for tenants facing eviction, just the third state in the country to do so. Tenants’ Right to Legal Counsel program will be phased in over time, with the first phase expected to begin in January 2022. Hear from the organizers that led the campaign for a tenants' right to counsel and the advocates that are designing the program.  Presenters:  Melissa Marichal, Connecticut Fair Housing Center; Justin Farmer, Hamden City Council; Natalie Wagner, Connecticut Bar Foundation; Sarah White, Connecticut Fair Housing Center; Luke Melonakos-Harrison, CT Right to Counsel Coalition, Central CT DSA

3:00   Preserving Affordable Housing: Assessing Risks and Tracking Outcomes  Sponsored by Rockport Mortgage, Enterprise, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners and Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc.

PAHRC will discuss preservation strategies for subsidized affordable housing properties and how to access and use data tools supporting decision-making found in the National Housing Preservation Database. Presenters will discuss data-driven strategies and the race equity considerations for investing in resident opportunity and building resiliency to disaster and climate events using the NHPD and other data tools. Presenters:  Keely Jones Stater, PAHRC; Kelly McElwain, PAHRC

Tuesday November 16

9:30    Keynote AddressDiane Yentel- National Low Income Housing Coalition

11:00   Housing Connecticut's Future: Meeting the State's Affordable and Accessible Housing Needs Sponsored by Trinity Financial, CCEH, CSH, and Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of the City of New Haven 

National and local experts led by Fairfield County’s Center for Housing Opportunity and the Urban Institute published this groundbreaking report for CT's Department of Housing outlining current and future supply and demand for affordable and accessible housing throughout Connecticut in 2021.  Presenters:  Christie Stewart, Fairfield County's Center for Housing Opportunity; Peter Tatian, Urban Institute; Billy Huang, Source Development Hub

12:00   Affordable Housing Opportunities from Pandemic Impacted Commercial Real Estate  Sponsored by Beacon Communities

Beacon Communities and its partners will discuss the transformation of 140 Clarendon Street, a mixed use property featuring the YWCA’s flagship building and a hotel in Boston’s Back Bay that closed due to the pandemic. The hotel will be converted to 110 permanent housing units for persons experiencing homelessness. 20 Security Drive, a 1970s Class B office building that also became vacant during the pandemic, will be reborn as a 150 unit mixed income community in Downtown Avon, CT using affirmative fair marketing efforts to support the diversity of the community.  Presenters:   Michael Freimuth, Capital Region Development Authority; Monique Hall, BSC Group; Gina Martinez, Beacon Communities; April Ognibene, Beacon Communities

1:00   Legislative Roundtable Sponsored by JHM Group

The Legislative Roundtable will feature a discussion with members of the Housing and Planning and Development Committees. Moderated by Bill Welz of Gallo & Robinson, the panel will explore topics including bonding/housing development, zoning, COVID-related housing concerns, and more. Following the moderated panel discussion, the legislators will engage in an audience question and answer period.  

2:00   Capacity-Building as Recovery: Creating Innovative Staff Development Opportunities for the Sector Sponsored by The Community Builders, Inc.

The Housing & Community Development Leadership Institute (HCDLI) is a new initiative operated by LISC CT and supported by Connecticut’s Department of Housing and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority to support entry for BIPOC to the community development sector, as well as strengthen professional development opportunities for the community development sector broadly.  Presenters: Kasey LaFlam, LISC Connecticut; Fran Martin, solutions4community, llc

3:00   Adapting Historic Structures into Intentional Communities  Sponsored by Pennrose, LLC and Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA)

Connecticut is a state rich with historic places that contribute to the character of our town and municipal communities. The State has expended significant effort in surveying and categorizing our mill buildings and many developers have undertaking adaptive reuse of these mills into housing. In this session, we would like to present some additional building typologies that can be good candidates for reuse as housing - including a former school, church, and even office building. When a historic structure has reached the end of its useful life in its former user, adaptive reuse is an effective strategy to tap into resources that can preserve these assets and bring them back to productive use in our communities. Pennrose has used these opportunities to create intentional communities for underserved populations, such as veterans and LGBTQ seniors. Presenters:  Karmen Cheung, Pennrose,LLC; Charlie Adams, Pennrose, LLC.

4:00   Ninth Square Apartments and the Challenges of Mixed Income and Mixed Use Development During COVID-19  Sponsored by Beacon Communities

Ninth Square Apartments is a vibrant, mixed-use, mixed-income community located in downtown New Haven’s Ninth Square historic district which combines 50,000 square feet of retail space with 335 rental apartments, 190 of which are reserved for low-income families. Development Associate Jaissa Feliz will discuss how her team adapted when the COVID-19 pandemic struck mid-construction, and how these lessons helped Beacon Communities recharge a historically diverse neighborhood and cultural district. Presenters:  Jaissa Feliz, Beacon Communities; Romulo Samaniego, Beacon Communities; Alejandro Cordido, Somos Handcrafted Arepas

Wednesday November 17

9:30      Opening Remarks: Seila Mosquera-Bruno, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Housing

RemarksNandini Natarajan, CEO, Connecticut Housing Finance Authority

10:00    Keynote Address: Richard Rothstein: The Color Of Law: A Forgotten History Of How Our Government Segregated America (Liveright, 5/2/17)

​Racial segregation characterizes every metropolitan area in the U.S. and bears responsibility for our most serious social and economic problems – it corrupts our criminal justice system, exacerbates economic inequality, and produces large academic gaps between white and African American schoolchildren. We’ve taken no serious steps to desegregate neighborhoods, however, because we are hobbled by a national myth that residential segregation is de facto—the result of private discrimination or personal choices that do not violate constitutional rights. The Color of Law demonstrates, however, that residential segregation was created by racially explicit and unconstitutional government policy in the mid-twentieth century that openly subsidized whites-only suburbanization in which African Americans were prohibited from participating. Only after learning the history of this policy can we be prepared to undertake the national conversation necessary to remedy our unconstitutional racial landscape.

11:00   Connecticut’s Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP): What's New and Exciting  Sponsored by CHFA & Whittlesey

After nearly two years of research, planning, and focused outreach efforts, Connecticut has a new Low-Income Housing Tax Credit QAP! Come learn about CHFA’s vision for expanding housing choice and creating vibrant, environmentally sustainable and economically healthy communities for low- and moderate-income residents through the QAP. Highlights include discussion of new classifications, changes in evaluation criteria and sustainability measures, and more. Join us and bring your questions.  Presenters:  Terry Nash Giovannucci, CHFA; Deborah Alter, CHFA; Seema Malani, CHFA

12:00   Zoning for Equity: A Demonstration of Town Planning and Zoning for your Fair Share Housing Goal Sponsored by Dakota Partners

This summer Open Communities Alliance completed an in-depth analysis of the zoning impediments to affordable housing in 12 wealthy Connecticut suburbs. Organizers in one of these towns took this as a challenge to make their town more equitable and in doing so began a journey to create a plan to achieve their Fair Share of the need for affordable housing. This session will cover the zoning and planning principles and methods used to achieve this ambitious but critical goal.  Presenters:  John Guszkowski, Tyche Planning and Policy Group; Roger Maldonado, Open Communities Alliance; Sam Giffin, Open Communities Alliance

1:00   Unlocking Energy and Money Savings through Energy Efficiency & Solar  Sponsored by CT Green Bank & Housing Enterprises

In 2022, new programs focused on climate change and environmental justice will be rolled out, in addition to changes to existing programs and incentives. The CT DEEP will present on their new Energy Efficiency Retrofit Grant Program for Affordable Housing, the Weatherization Assistance Program (CTWAP), and potential infrastructure bill funding. The Green Bank will speak on changes to solar programs for single and multifamily properties, and introduce battery storage program. Presenters:  Victoria Hackett, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection;  Peter Ludwig, CT Green Bank

2:00   Be My Neighbor in Fairfield County - ADUs and Conversions Sponsored by Fairfield County's Community Foundation and Fairfield County's Center for Housing Opportunity

More than 35% of households within Fairfield County are cost burdened. Communities can help alleviate cost burden and create more housing diversity, which is necessary for communities to thrive economically and socially, through Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and conversions. In this session, RPA staff will review the findings of their report, Be My Neighbor in Fairfield County, engage with audience members through Q&A, and talk about how HB 6107 and ADUs can create more housing opportunity.  Presenters:  Melissa Kaplan-Macey, Regional Plan Association; Marcel Negret, Regional Plan Association

3:00   Addressing the Racial Wealth Gap Through a More Equitable Homebuying System  Sponsored by CHFA, CT Department of Housing, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, Leviticus Fund, Citi Community Relations, Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance

During this workshop, participants will learn about obstacles that prevent first generation homebuyers from purchasing a home, proposed special purpose credit programs to give first time homebuyers and people of color access to capital, and tools for developers to address the shortage of quality starter homes in Connecticut. Presenters:  David Lavery, Connecticut Fair Housing Center; Rashida Rattray, Connecticut Fair Housing Center; Jon Cabral, Connecticut Housing and Finance Authority

Conference Keynote Presenters


Mr. Richard Rothstein

Richard Rothstein: Author

Richard Rothstein is the author of THE COLOR OF LAW: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.  A Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute, the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and of the Haas Institute at the University of California (Berkeley).  In addition to his recent book, The Color of Law, he is the author of many other articles and books on race and education, which can be found at his web page at the Economic Policy Institute: Previous influential books include Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Improvement to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap, and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right.  He welcomes questions and comments at

TITLE: THE COLOR OF LAW: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

AUTHOR: Richard Rothstein


PAGES: 368

ISBN: 978-1-63149-285-3 

Diane Yentel

Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition

Diane is the President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a membership organization dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. Diane is a policy expert and advocate with over two decades of experience on affordable housing and community development issues. Among other roles, she previously served as Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs at Enterprise Community Partners and Director of the Public Housing Management and Occupancy Division at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.



Conference Speakers

Speaker information can be viewed by visiting the Zoom Event for each day of the conference!

Monday November 15

Tuesday November 16

Wednesday November 17


Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Thank you to our generous sponsors who make Connecticut's Affordable Conference a success and affordable to all! For more information on sponsoring the conference, click here or contact

Please view the full conference agenda including sponsor advertisements here!

Leading Sponsors

CHFA logo

Melville Charitable Trust


Collaborating Sponsor

Connecticut Department of Housing logo

Rockport Mortgage Corporation

Webster Bank Logo


Supporting Sponsors

Corporation for Supportive Housing

Elm City Community logo

Fairfield County's Community Foundation

FHLBank Boston Logo

JHM Development logo

LISC logo

National Equity Fund logo

CAHC Sponsor Trinity Financial

Session Sponsors

Bank of America


Citi Logo



CT Green Bank Logo

CT Realtors Logo

Connecticut Voices for Children

Dakota Partners Logo

Enterprise Community Partners Logo

FCCHO logo

Housing Enterprises, Inc.

Housing Ministries of New England

Leviticus Fund Logo

Navigate Logo

Pennrose logo

Preservation of Affordable Housing

SINACommunity Builders Logo

Whittlesey logo

Conference Advertisers

Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust

Charter Oak Communities

CT Data Collaborative

CT Fair Housing Center

Crosskey Architects, LLC

Elderly Housing Management

Heritage Housing

Hoopes Morganthaler Rausch & Scaramozza, LLC

Millennium Realty Services

Schadler Selnau Associates. p.c.


Conference Supporter

Bristol Housing Authority

Corporation for Independent Living

Carabetta Management Co.

Hands on Hartford

Hartford Community Loan Fund

Housing Development Fund, Inc.

Regan Development Corp.

Sheldon Oak Central, Inc.