Gov. Lamont’s budget makes 'historic' investment in housing, but will it work?

The Lamont administration estimates his budget proposal will create 6,400 new housing units.

John Craven

Feb 10, 2023, 10:21 PM

Updated 491 days ago


If you've shopped for a home lately, you know how expensive Connecticut is – and that's if you can even find a house. Gov. Ned Lamont’s new budget invests $600 million in new housing, but it faces significant obstacles.
“We're still desperately short of housing,” Lamont told lawmakers in his budget address on Wednesday. “Having just climbed out of a fiscal crisis, I don't want to fall into a housing crisis.”
The Lamont administration estimates his budget proposal will create 6,400 new housing units.
Half of the money goes toward affordable housing initiatives, but builders say many towns throw up too many obstacles.
“Minimum lot size requirements, setback requirements, and other kinds of exclusionary zoning that require the builder to basically build a larger lawn,” Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, recently told legislators.
And that's where the next batch of money comes in. A third of it goes to "workforce development" housing. On this week's “Connecticut Power and Politics,” Lamont said that money offers towns and developers incentives.
“$200 million in competitive grants, right now,” the governor told host Eric Landskroner. “You want faster rail? You want a new train station? I want some housing here there as well. And I'll help provide the funding to get that done.”
But some top lawmakers think the state needs to get more aggressive.
“My feeling is that we have lots of state property we can build on. We can work with the communities, but as the governor said, a 'no' answer is not going to do it,” said state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk).
Finally, the last batch of money goes to the popular "Time to Own" program. It offers first-time buyers up to $50,000 for a down payment – forgivable after 10 years.
When the program launched last June, new homebuyer Robert Madden told News 12 it would help.
“It certainly would've helped and hopefully it will help a lot more families that might be paying those interest rates get into houses,” he said.
Time To Own has already funded more than 1,000 home purchases, according to the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management.

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