© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
89.9 FM is currently running on reduced power. 89.9 HD1 and HD2 are off the air. While we work to fix the issue, we recommend downloading the WSHU app.

Rep. Himes says this Fairfield County community is a model for affordable housing

Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04)
Molly Ingram
/
WSHU
Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04)

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) and local legislators visited the Pine Tree apartments in Fairfield to discuss affordable housing on Monday.

Himes said the state and country do not have enough housing stock. He estimated that Fairfield County is in need of more than 30,000 units.

The Pine Tree apartments in Fairfield have 50 affordable units, with both one and two bedroom apartments.

Himes said places like Pine Tree add to the community and are good examples of affordable housing in the suburbs.

“Too many of our constituents are thinking of affordable housing as Cabrini Green in Chicago, you know, nine story brick buildings where you're concentrating poverty with all of the sorts of social ills that are associated,” Himes said. “This is what 21st century affordable housing looks like. And we just need people to see this.”

Rep. Jim Himes addresses local legislators and affordable housing advocates.
Molly Ingram
/
WSHU
Rep. Jim Himes addresses local legislators and affordable housing advocates.

Advocates from The Partnership for Strong Communities and the Fairfield County Center for Housing Opportunity say the demand for affordable housing in Connecticut remains high — especially since the pandemic.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, run by the Fairfield Housing Authority, is trying to change that, but progress is slow because the program needs more funding.

Carol Martin is the executive director of the Westport and Fairfield Housing Authorities.

“We need to address the affordable housing crisis here in our state,” Martin said. “We're lucky enough to live in a high cost community, which brings tons of social benefits. But it's also a place where we need to grow and create more affordable units.”

Westport and Fairfield Housing Authority Executive Director Carol Martin.
Molly Ingram
/
WSHU
Westport and Fairfield Housing Authority Executive Director Carol Martin.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program serves around 120 families. Last time they opened their waitlist, they received more than seven thousand applications.

Senator Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, said the housing needs are not just in urban areas. Affordable housing stock is also needed in the suburbs, where working class families currently struggle to live due to increasing costs.

“I readily admit, we have a housing crisis in the state of Connecticut,” Hwang said. “But it's a housing crisis that doesn't just exist in our suburbs. It exists in urban settings, where the quality of housing is not adequate. We have a need for housing in rural settings for our first responders, particularly volunteers, municipal workers that can't even stay in the towns that they work and support.”

State Senator Tony Hwang (CT-28)
Molly Ingram
/
WSHU
State Senator Tony Hwang (CT-28)

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.