A lot gets said about the need for affordable housing in Connecticut, but state-based Capital for Change is actually doing something about it. Its focus is on the development and financing of affordable housing, and energy-efficient upgrades to existing properties.
Why is this so important? To afford a two-bedroom rental, a Connecticut resident on average needs to make $24.90 per hour or work 99 hours weekly at minimum wage. Think that doesn’t affect that many people? Half of Connecticut renters and about one-third of homeowners spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
In addition to sky-high housing costs, much of Connecticut’s affordable housing stock is old — 50 years or more and deteriorating. Those seeking an affordable place to live are exposed to poorly insulated units, drafty windows, inadequate roofing, and antiquated heating systems. So, rent may be a bargain, but by the time the state’s high utility costs are figured into the monthly budget, it’s still a no-win.
Connecticut’s Partnership for Strong Communities reports that among Connecticut’s 169 towns, only 31 can claim that 10+ percent of their housing stock is deemed affordable. And the lack of affordability has future negative ramifications for all Connecticut residents.
The US Census provides additional discouraging insight on the issue: 41.6 percent of millennials in Connecticut live at home with their parents due to lack of affordable housing options. It also places Connecticut at the bottom of all states with a cohort of skilled, educated young workers.
In the past few years, the state has funded the building or renovation of 172,556 affordable units. Wow! Sounds like a lot, but in reality it only bumped affordable housing stock by 2 percent.
Capital for Change’s lending helps lessen this problem by targeting its investments to low-income communities across the state, stabilizing neighborhoods by developing more affordable housing units, increasing quality of life, creating jobs, lowering utility costs and improving air quality.
Another great thing Capital for Change does? It allows individuals seeking a socially responsible investment to invest $1,000 or more to its lending pool.