© 2023 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lawmakers and advocates address homelessness in CT, explore solutions

The tents of a homeless camp line the sidewalk.
Michael Dwyer
The tents of a homeless camp line the sidewalk.

Connecticut lawmakers and advocates explored ways to address the state’s housing crisis at a conference on Thursday.

At the beginning of the year, there were more than 3,000 people in Connecticut experiencing homelessness, according to the federally-mandated 2023 Point In Time Count. That’s almost a 3% increase from the year before.

Gov. Ned Lamont said it’s due in part to mental health, addiction and a rise in housing costs. He said those problems have to be addressed in order to attract and retain residents.

“We were one of the fastest growing economies in the country last year,” Lamont said. “But our future will be determined by whether there's affordable places for people to live across the state.”

The conference included breakout rooms where attendees explored potential solutions.

One of them is a new program called “Time To Own,” which gives down payment assistance loans of up to $50,000 to qualifying homebuyers.

State Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said 10% of the loan is forgiven every year until it is fully forgiven a decade later. It's an attempt to help first-time home buyers who may not have enough for a down payment saved.

“We started about a year and a half ago, and we have a little over 2,000 people that became first time homeowners,” Mosquera-Bruno said.

As of Oct. 30, the program has more than $18 million available for loan reservations.

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