HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The issue of affordable housing has again landed on the doorstep of the state legislature.

Advocates are now pushing for Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) and the legislature to pass reforms. According to advocates, families are being priced out of the market in this post-pandemic world.

There are lots of layers to the issue, but advocates said lawmakers can start by simply agreeing on how much affordable housing is needed.

Members of Growing Together Connecticut took a short walk to the legislature on Tuesday. These affordable housing advocates are in for a long journey to make sure people like Jahaira Vega have a safe place to live.

“Aliya attends school in West Hartford, and she has been there her whole life. She does very well in school and is on the high honor rolls,” proud mom Jahaira Vega said. “My oldest daughter, Natasha, is in college.”

Vega is a single mom whose experience using a section 8 voucher for housing has been a nightmare. The voucher is a federal program that provides a subsidy for tenants to make their rent more affordable. But for Vega, it has meant several evictions for reasons beyond her control.

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“She was able to evict me simply because she was angry with me. I had been in West Hartford for six years… It was home to my girls,” said Vega.

Advocates like Erin Boggs, from Open Communities Alliance, joined with faith leaders asking for reform.

“Connecticut is one of the most expensive places to find housing in the country. We are also one of the most segregated places in the country,” Boggs said.

They want legislation that includes; Statewide Zoning reforms to expand affordable housing, Protections for tenants from unfair practices, $50-million Housing Growth Fund. Karen Dubois-Walton from the New Haven Housing Authority explained how the fund could work.

“This new funding is the kind of investment that Connecticut needs to make, one that rewards towns and cities for doing the work,” Dubois-Walton said.

She said that post-pandemic the housing vouchers are not meeting the higher cost of apartments.

“There are many clergy in this room who can attest to the profound stress and anxiety families are under when they lack affordable housing,” Rev. Vanessa Rose from Fairfield said.

Advocates said over the next decade at least 135,000 affordable housing units will be needed to meet the demand.

Jahaira says after living in hotels and being denied 50 times, she finally found a nice landlord who accepted her voucher and her bad luck. “There was someone who saw beyond my evictions and offered me a chance and I am so grateful for that,” Vega said.

The state’s housing commissioner, Seila Mosquera-Bruno shared the following statement with News 8:

“In the upcoming legislative session, Gov. Lamont will propose different measures to improve affordability, including housing, in Connecticut.”

The legislative session begins in less than a month.

Watch News 8’s Mike Masciadrelli’s report on News 8 at 6 a.m. on Dec. 14, 2022.