One factor that Llodra found essential in successfully implementing policy was clarity of vision and goals. Llodra modeled how a leader effectively unites a group of people around a shared vision. In this case, she conveyed the goal to provide housing opportunities for aging residents to remain in Newtown as well as opportunities for millennials to move in. “A diverse community in age and economics is healthier,” she said. “We’re better if we have options.”
Throughout the process of proposing and approving projects, Llodra trusted her community and was very honest. She was willing to hear concerns and fears, and have ongoing conversations. Llodra recalled, “I’d say to people, ‘your life will change but I think we can manage it.” She admitted that the development projects would bring change and respected the fact that this would be a cultural shift. She also offered realistic and sincere reasons to support the change.
There are numerous reasons why multifamily and mixed-income housing developments are beneficial for towns in Connecticut; affordable housing provides support for aging members of the community, millennials that are interested in living in town, teachers and other professionals who work in the town to also live in the town, and so on.
Llodra spoke of the “moral/ethical imperative”: that providing more affordable housing options was the right thing to do to diversify the community and provide opportunity. But she also employed the “practical imperative”: acknowledging the insufficient supply of affordable housing in Newtown to meet the changing needs of residents, the economic and demographic factors, and the requirements of the state’s 8-30g statute. As she stated, “there was the practical imperative to get ahead of the problem.”
A Deeper Look Inside Newtown
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