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If anything is to be learned from the massive Urban Renewal programs of the mid-20th century and the emergency shelter systems of the 1970s and 1980s, it is that giving people shelter, while essential, is not enough to in and of itself solve the social problems that caused the need for shelter in the first place. Just as supportive housing combines permanent housing with support services to solve chronic homelessness, the overarching social problems of which unaffordable housing is a symptom cannot be solved simply by rent subsidies or public housing projects.
The Partnership is dedicated to helping communities achieve sustainable, mixed-use and mixed-income places to live for all of Connecticut's households. We work to make sure that, in addition to housing being affordable for those households, comfortable and safe housing can be found near transit, developments are built or preserved in an environmentally friendly manner, and that communities are strengthened by engaging residents with things like youth sports leagues and civic engagement organizations.
Through the HOMEConnecticut program, municialities have 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. This is essential for cities and towns to build affordable housing not as an unwanted neighbor, but as a part of their community.
The state of 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.
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.