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Only municipalities can decide whether housing is created in their towns and the HOMEConnecticut program, officially known as the Connecticut Housing Program for Economic Growth, was designed to complement that reality. It is a voluntary, incentive-based land use program created by the General Assembly in 2007 and begun in 2008. The program, administered by the state's Department of Housing, provides towns with incentives if they choose to create an Incentive Housing Zone in a smart growth location in their community.
An Incentive Housing Zone (IHZ) is an area which has a zoning overlay that allows developers to increase housing density in exchange for creating mixed-income housing. The program provides municipalities with complete control over the location, amount, type and design of the homes created, while also offering a tool that allows all residents of a town to have input into housing decisions: where it should be built, what it should look like, or whether it should be created at all.
Connecticut has a low supply of affordable homes and most of Connecticut's existing affordable housing is located in only 19 percent of its towns and cities, with significant impacts on the state:
The HOMEConnecticut program is a tool that towns can use to create mixed-income communities with both affordable and modest, market-rate homes throughout the state.
A municipality’s first step in the HOMEConnecticut program is typically to receive a planning grant to help it determine its housing need, where housing could be accommodated, and how to zone successfully. There is no obligation to create housing or establish a housing zone after receipt of the planning grant.Towns that choose to create more housing using the HOMEConnecticut program can create an Incentive Housing Zone (IHZ) with only two requirements:
When an IHZ is created, towns then qualify for:
Towns may use Incentive money for any purpose.
Click here for more detail on HOMEConnecticut program benefits and requirements.
To Date, Success!
The program has helped many Connecticut municipalities see the potential of housing to meet their residents’ needs and improve their local economy and tax base. More than 70 municipalities have taken part in the program – cities, suburbs and rural towns, all across the state. 15 of them have had Incentive Housing Zones (IHZ)or similar zoning adopted. 5 have IHZ or similar zoning adoption pending and 17 towns have conducted studies to identify potential sites for IHZ or similar zoning. They now have a tool that allows them to create housing that meets their unique local needs. A recent infusion of state money into the program will allow many more towns get help with their housing needs.
The HOMEConnecticut program is helping to set the stage for thoughtful local planning of dynamic, mixed-income communities throughout the state. In addition, the program provides a way for towns to create mixed-use development that incorporates both housing and economic development. By allowing towns to plan for mixed-income housing and mixed-use development in smart growth locations, the program will foster communities throughout the state that are both economically and ecologically sustainable.