HARTFORD - As the financial meltdown continues and talks of recession grow louder, hundreds of people came together in Hartford Wednesday to tackle issues in the housing industry.

More than 700 people attended the 20th annual Conference of the Connecticut Housing Coalition, discussing ways to decrease the number of foreclosures, bring down the unemployment rate and make affordable housing more readily available.

During a workshop on job opportunities, Elizabeth Roop, of Housatonic Community College, said that beginning in June 2009, the institution she represents will be offering people seeking employment practical, non-credit classes in fields like property management.

?The goal is to provide positions for people who have not necessarily been employed, but who are familiar with the housing and supportive housing environment,? Roop said.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D- Conn.) addressed the conference, outlining his solution to the economic crisis. Dodd said he intends to push forward a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, which was proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

Dodd added that the silver lining of the current economic situation in the U.S. is that the issue of affordable housing will finally receive the attention it deserves.

?I?ve tried for 20 years and haven't succeeded, and now I think we can get it done,? Dodd said.