One of the top issues across Connecticut is housing—of all types, but particularly affordable housing. The state and in particular Fairfield County have seen home and rent prices skyrocket.
The Fairfield County Community Wellbeing Index 2023 from CT DataHaven found that one of the biggest needs in the region is affordable housing, as many residents are cost-burdened by housing—meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on it.
“Fifty-two percent of renters in Fairfield County are cost-burdened, meaning they put more than 30 percent of their monthly income toward housing costs,” the report states. “While half of Black and Latino households in Fairfield County are cost-burdened, only a third of white households in the region are.”
And while Fairfield County is one of the few areas in Connecticut that has been growing, much of that growth is concentrated in its urban areas, particularly Stamford which is the fastest growing city in the state.
This has ripple effects across the entire region.
- People looking to buy houses, whether they’re looking to move to the area or “settle down” and stop renting, are struggling to find ones they can afford.
- Businesses have said some of their challenges with finding workers are because people can’t afford to live in this area.
- Those who do work here, but don’t live here, are often forced into long—and expensive—commutes.
- People who have lived here their whole lives are seeing their children leave the area or struggle to find housing in the area.
And it’s also one of the biggest topics at the state legislature with lawmakers feeling the pressure to do something, but not sure what the best steps are.
These are just a few of the reasons why we feel it’s important to really dive into this issue from multiple angles, perspectives, and really understand what some of the problems are, what challenges there are, and examine some potential solutions.
Here’s where we’re starting.
We published three pieces to start our coverage of this issue:
- Part 1: The Cost of Living: Examining Southwest Connecticut’s Affordable Housing Plans
- Part 2: A Need for Affordable Housing: Plans Across Southwest Connecticut Share Common Themes
- Part 3: Southwest Connecticut Communities Affordable Housing Plans Have Key Differences
We also asked Chris Giolitto, a local realtor, to provide some on-the-ground perspective into the housing market, since we’ve heard from some of you about the challenges of looking for housing. We thought he could provide insights that many of us don’t see day-to-day.
Check out Chris’s piece on why home prices are high in Fairfield County.
We’ll update this page as we continue our reporting.
We also want to have more you involved in our reporting process on this issue. If you have a story about trying to find housing in this region or ideas about the topic, we’d love to hear from you as we continue to report on this issue. As mentioned, this is just the first story we’re doing to help you better understand this critical topic.