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Housing committee sets the stage for fight over CT affordable housing

The Crossings at Fairfield Metro is expected to add 700 new apartments to the area.
Molly Ingram
The Crossings at Fairfield Metro is expected to add 700 new apartments to the area. It's part of a push for more transit oriented development, which encourages people to use public transit.

An extensive affordable housing bill made it out of committee in the Connecticut Legislature on Thursday.

If passed, it would expand the jurisdiction of local housing authorities to build in other towns and allocate $50 million a year into a Housing Growth Fund, which would support municipalities as they build affordable, mixed-use and transit-oriented developments.

Senate Bill 6 is the Democrats' priority housing bill this session.

State Representative Tony Scott, the ranking Republican member on the bicameral Housing Committee, said he is concerned that the bill will overwhelm the state Department of Housing.

In public testimony, the department did not support the bill.

“I do think putting things on paper, as requirements, as asks, if they don't end up going through or doing them, then it's just words on a piece of paper,” Scott said. “And it's not actually going to help the situation we're trying to do which is, you know, affect more housing in the state of Connecticut.”

But State Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) said she doesn't agree.

“If we pass the legislation, they have to deal with it. Right? There's never enough staff. There's never enough money. But we have to prioritize what's important,” Moore said. “And we did hear from many people that this was an important issue on both sides of the aisle.”

The bill would also allocate $20 million to the state’s homelessness services and $25 million for the Rental Assistance Program.

The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote. Thursday’s Housing Committee meeting was the last of the session.

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