Gov. Malloy Vetoes Legislation Aimed at Weakening Affordable Housing Standards
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he has vetoed legislation aimed at weakening affordable housing standards in the state, saying that the guidelines are necessary for spurring the creation of affordable homes in communities with good schools, jobs, transit access, and vital services. At a time when the number of affordable housing units in the state has grown larger during the past several years than it has over the last several decades, state laws should be encouraging this continued growth, not moving in the opposite direction, he explained.
The legislation, House Bill 6880 – An Act Concerning the Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Procedure, would have made it easier for cities and towns to qualify for moratoriums on appeals of local zoning denials under the housing statute commonly known as 8-30g that encourages municipalities to ensure a certain amount of their housing stock is deemed affordable.
“Every resident of Connecticut should have access to housing they can afford in the town where they work. So, too, should everyone be able to live affordably in the town that they choose, with access to good schools, safe neighborhoods, and basic services, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or income,” Governor Malloy wrote in a veto message to the Secretary of the State. “However, for many lower-income residents who must work in areas of the state where the cost of housing is high, a long history of decisions and discriminatory policies has made securing that housing persistently difficult. Those decisions include the historical practice of redlining – denying mortgages to entire neighborhoods because of the residents’ race or ethnicity – and passing restrictive zoning rules that make it nearly impossible to build multifamily housing, or that require home lots to be so large that only the wealthy can buy them. These kinds of rules effectively price people of limited means who work in such towns out of the market.
“It is our responsibility as a state, and the responsibility of every city and town in Connecticut, to correct this injustice. It is also imperative for our state’s economic vitality that we provide more housing for our workforce within a reasonable commuting distance of their jobs. We are far from attaining this goal.”
**To read the veto message in its entirety, click here**
State Senator Douglas McCrory (D-Hartford) agreed, stating, “I had serious concerns with the potential for this bill to reduce access to safe and affordable housing for thousands of Connecticut residents, so I am happy that the Governor vetoed it.”
Since Governor Malloy took office in 2011, the creation of affordable housing in communities throughout the state has been a top priority for his administration. Over that time, the state has supported the development of nearly 21,000 units of housing, with approximately 18,500 of those units affordable to persons of low and moderate income. The state’s investment in affordable housing totals about $1 billion dollars – a testament to the high level of commitment being made to prevent and end homelessness, while ensuring every resident has a place to call home. This investment in the housing industry has spurred another $2.5 billion in direct economic activity from the private sector and other sources across the state.
“The Department of Housing, under the Malloy Administration, is meeting the needs of a 21st century Connecticut,” Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein said. “As a newly created department, we took the opportunity to meet with nonprofit housing providers, housing advocates, elected officials, and developers to ensure our housing policy is forward thinking and responsive to the needs of individuals and families across the state. Though challenges remain, progress ensues. We’re helping to meet the needs of the working single mother who makes the tough choice each month between buying healthy food, which costs more, or paying rent; of struggling seniors who want to stay in the community in which they’ve lived and raised their family, but where social security is not enough to meet their expenses; and of the recent college graduate who would like to live in their home state, but who cannot find an affordable rent. What we all know is that a multi-generational Connecticut is vibrant.
“It is for these reasons the Department of Housing proposed statewide inclusionary zoning. This important tool is effective in responding to the needs of local communities as well as the needs of individuals and families. The changes in House Bill 6880 do nothing to increase the much-needed stock of affordable housing. It is essential that legislation supports forward thinking and incorporates policy that promotes inclusion, vibrancy, and economic development. I applaud Governor Malloy for standing up for the voices of our citizens and for vetoing these damaging changes to the Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Act.”