Affordable housing units in short supply

New London

Look around and you see signs on multi-family houses in New London.

Rental units are available but are they affordable? 

“I think that they are very expensive,” says Emarie Hagen of New London. “Families have to live together just to make ends meet.”

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition in order to afford a two bedroom rental, the average Connecticut resident has to make $24.90 an hour or work 99 hours on minimum-wage.

“That’s kind of shocking statistics but also it doesn’t really surprise me,” said Kolisha Fiore the executive director of the New London Housing Authority which manages the public housing complexes in the city.

She sees many come in looking for an affordable place to live. 

The waiting lists are full for the city’s elderly and disabled public housing complexes and there are none for families now that the Thames River Apartments is closed.

“It is. It’s very hard,” said Fiore. “You know we try our best to kind of give them any information that we have.”

She refers families to the Norwich Housing Authority, privately owned affordable communities, and state voucher programs but there are waits there too. 

Realtor Jennifer Roe is renting several units in New London. 

The lowest she’s seen is about $800 for a two bedroom but usually it’s higher. 

“$1,500 a month is not unheard of it’s usually what you’d find for a two bedroom rental,” said Roe.

We asked Emarie Hagen if she thinks the state needs more affordable housing. “Oh absolutely,” said Hagen. “One hundred percent.”

“Our goal would hopefully once our current properties are stabilized is to redevelop more housing in New London,” said Fiore.

Along with public housing there are also private developers who could add to the affordable housing market. How that is done is the developer would build a complex with fair market units and affordable units and that gives the developer a tax credit.

It also provides some affordable housing units which many say are much needed.

Some of those units have been built in Pawcatuck with others being proposed.

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