July 20, 2005
HUD RECOGNIZES STATE OF CONNECTICUT FOR INCREASING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
State cited as a model for removing regulatory barriers that drive up
WASHINGTON - They are teachers, police officers, nurses, firefighters and returning veterans - the sort of people anyone would be happy to call a neighbor. In some communities, however, excessive regulations are creating
barriers that artificially drive up housing costs on working families. Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development acknowledged the State of Connecticut for its efforts in breaking down these barriers and creating
a more inclusive environment for families struggling to afford decent homes.
As more Americans become homeowners, rising housing costs are pricing out millions of hard-working families who hope to find homes close to their jobs and within their budgets. Often, regulations that drive up the cost of housing are to blame.
HUD is taking a fresh look at these barriers to affordable housing with its America's Affordable Communities
Initiative. This initiative is designed to combat the outdated, excessive and duplicative regulations that significantly increase the cost and limit the supply of affordable housing and is motivating Connecticut and local communities to take a look at their housing regulations and determine which ones no longer serve a valid public purpose.
"We know that regulatory barriers can increase housing costs by as much as 35 percent, making it impossible for
many working families to live in the cities where we work," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "Other communities around the country can learn from Connecticut's efforts to open more doors for the very people who should be our neighbors."
The Connecticut Legislature amended its zoning regulations in 1995 to require towns to adopt zoning regulations
that promote certain housing goals that promote affordable housing. The statute requires local zoning regulations
"encourage the development of housing opportunities, including opportunities for multifamily dwellings, consistent with soil types, terrain and infrastructure capacity, for all residents of the municipality and the planning region in which the municipality is located, as designated by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management under CGS § 16a-4a. Such regulations shall also promote housing choice and economic diversity in housing, including housing for both low- and moderate-income households...."
In 1999, the State created a Blue Ribbon Commission to Study Affordable Housing. The Commission has issued 44 recommendations, most of which concern municipal zoning powers and the affordable housing land use appeals procedure and illustrate actions that can be made in many states and localities.
Barriers being targeted by HUD include public statutes, ordinances, regulations, fees, processes and procedures
that significantly restrict the development of affordable housing without providing a commensurate health or safety benefit. These barriers can effectively exclude working individuals from living in the communities where they work.
In addition, senior citizens often find it impossible to locate suitable homes or apartments near their adult children, and young families are unable to find a home in the communities where they were raised.
By recognizing states such as Connecticut, HUD hopes to encourage others around the country to reexamine their own regulatory climate and work closely with builders and urban planners to find creative solutions to allow for the development of more affordable housing.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.
NOTE: More information about America's Affordable Communities Initiative.