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New London housing project dubbed “affordable for all”

Shovels and hardhats for the ground breaking.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
Shovels and hardhats for the ground breaking of the new 64 home, mixed-income housing project in the city of New London.

A new 64 home, mixed-income housing project in the city of New London broke ground this week. The multi-million-dollar project will provide housing for people of different income levels to lease.

Julie Savin, President and CEO of Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities welcome speech.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
Julie Savin, President and CEO of Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities welcome speech

Julie Savin, the president of Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities, which leads the housing project, said it’s time for the stigma-inducing tag of “affordable housing” to go.

“The low-income and affordable housing initiatives are a part of this country's past,” Savin said. “And while the terminology may be just words to many, it’s a past that consists of countless wrongs in the production of housing. Specifically housing to individuals and families who had limited housing choices and opportunities.”

Savin said the project is “affordable housing for all” to be more inclusive of people’s race and economic status. Connecticut has a shortage of affordable homes, and the pandemic has driven house costs to a point where some homebuyers are being priced out.

Kathleen Stauffer, the CEO of The Arc Eastern Connecticut, said the nonprofit will also help place people with different intellectual and developmental abilities in nine of these homes.

She said for too long, they have been denied housing.

“We’re here to celebrate choice. Because for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities choice has been an elusive word,” Stauffer said. “Whether it was going to school in first grade or going to college, the people we serve have not had choice.”

Stauffer said the housing will empower them with more personal independence and less reliance on a group home setting.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.