What We Talk About When We Talk About Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is the subject of a number of bills before Connecticut lawmakers. But what do we really mean when we talk about “affordable housing”?

That conversation could start with a question much like the one from state Sen. Dan Champagne at a virtual Planning and Development public hearing last week.

“Do you know how many affordable housing units exist in Connecticut?” Champagne asked Sara Bronin.  Bronin is a lawyer, professor and lead organizer of Desegregate CT, a group of organizations started in the wake of racial justice protests last summer that is focused on addressing segregation through land use laws.

“No one knows the answer to your question,” Bronin replied.

Why? Bronin says it’s complicated. She urged Champagne to focus more on the affordable part, rather than the housing part.

“Maybe it’s not the number of units that are affordable,” Bronin said, “but the percentage of families that actually can afford the housing that they live in.”

This nuance is key to what Bronin and many housing advocates are trying to accomplish right now.

Read the rest of the story at Connecticut Public Radio’s website.