The Problem: Losing Existing Affordable Units
Connecticut is at risk of losing thousands of units of affordable housing over the next several years. Currently, the units that are considered at risk are occupied by a population that is largely very-low-income. The state and municipalities where these residents live benefit when they have safe, secure and affordable homes. Conversely, a failure to preserve them will increase the cost of homelessness prevention and services for the state and its municipalities.
The Solution: Investment, Rehabilitation and Preservation
To keep these properties from losing their affordability, a range of actions may be needed. Some properties can be minimally rehabbed while others are configured in ways that make them obsolete and must undergo substantial renovation to make them useful and habitable. Others face no serious physical issues, but are not financially sound and require significant financial workouts to ensure their affordability for years to come.
There are approximately 14,000 units in the state’s public portfolio. Some of these are in good condition and require no capital, most likely because they are younger or have had enough resources to be maintained over time. The bulk of units require some kind of funding to fix problems like leaky roofs, drafty windows or an old heating system.
Most preservation activities require the use of multiple resources, with state funds used to leverage federal, local and private dollars. By leveraging funds from other sources, the state’s investment will help save more units than if it were the sole source of financing.
What We're Doing About It
In 2010, the Partnership, working closely with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, and others, began to develop a better picture of the scope and needs of the state's at risk affordable housing. The working group confirmed that the reasons that properties are at risk varies, including the expiration of affordability agreements, capital needs, deferred maintenance, depletion of capital reserves and limited revenues. The ongoing analysis of the state portfolio includes examining whether any patterns emerge with regard to geography, population served, vacancy or funding program for properties experiencing financial and/or physical distress.
This analysis will be used as a policy and priority tool by the Partnership and other advocates and policymakers within State government.