Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few myths and facts about affordable housing…

  • Allowing different housing types negatively affects homeowners’ property values.

Studies reviewing trends from ArkansasVirginiaWisconsinMinnesota, and nationally among many others, show that allowing different housing types has a neutral or even positive effect on the value of nearby property. Homes near multifamily housing appreciate faster on average than homes in single-family neighborhoods. Also, If you choose to carve out a small accessory apartment in your house, you will benefit from higher resale value (about 50% according to one study) and have rental income, which may be especially important to seniors on fixed incomes hoping to age in place.

  • Creating mixed-income/affordable housing will burden our schools.  

Actually, single family homes produce the highest school enrollment. Studies consistently show that multi-family housing results in fewer schoolage children per unit compared to single-family homes. In addition, school enrollments are decreasing in certain grades and school systems and there is available capacity in those situations.

  • Creating more housing types will increase our town’s mill rate.

False. The more housing that is built, the more taxable property there is, and the lower everyone’s mill rate is. In many situations, recent housing built in a town, particularly multifamily housing, can become its largest taxpayer. Studies show that targeted upzoning for diverse forms of traditional housing and multifamily housing generates more property revenue per acre than single-family homes.

  • Affordable housing makes other taxpayers pay a larger share of municipal services.

Affordable and subsidized housing developers pay local property taxes just as any private homeowner or management company do. In fact, most affordable housing complexes include a mix of affordable units and those renting or selling at market rate. Affordable housing is funded in Connecticut at both the state and federal level.

  • People are “given” affordable housing.

False. Affordable housing is for people and families earning modest incomes and who may be struggling with the basic cost of living. Affordable housing units are priced according to people’s ability to pay and their housing payment is capped at 30% of income. The units are price restricted to eligible people.

  • Multi-family housing hurts the environment.

Just the opposite. According to the EPA, conventional, large-lot, dispersed housing development challenges our ability to maintain and protect air and water quality. Conventional housing development has contributed to converting rural land at a rate three times faster than population growth. A smart growth approach to housing, with compact development, green design and construction, and transportation options, can help communities and their residents protect the environment and create more affordable neighborhoods.

  • Multi-family housing brings crime.

Not true. Research shows that the rate of police activity in multi-family communities is no worse (and in many cases better per housing unit) than in single family subdivisions. Apartment residents are socially engaged people who identify closely with their communities. In fact, they are more likely than homeowners to socialize with their neighbors and just as likely to be involved in their local sports leagues and book clubs.