Cathy Osten


Cathy Osten



July 29, 2021

Eastern Connecticut Delegation Disappointed After Housing Finance Authority Tax Decision Hurts Eastern Connecticut

Today, a bipartisan coalition of state legislators responded to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s new rules governing the state’s distribution of tax credits for affordable housing development, a change that is disconnected with eastern Connecticut. A month after winning a brief delay of the new tax credit rules, the legislators were disappointed that the CHFA voted to change a key metric in how state tax credits are levied.

The CHFA has long focused on “opportunity score” when deciding affordable housing projects to receive state tax credits, which lower the cost for builders. Cities and towns are graded according to the levels of “opportunity” in the surrounding community, including school rating, poverty rate, proximity to community colleges and jobs-to-population ratio, among others. A high score is important and a low one makes receiving state grants an arduous challenge; with the new scoring system, just 1% of Tolland, Windham and New London counties qualify as “high” opportunity areas, compared to 20% statewide.

In a letter to CHFA, signed by legislators including State Senators Osten, Paul Formica, Mae Flexer, Norm Needleman and Heather Somers, State Representatives Emmett Riley, Christine Conley, Brian Smith, Joe de la Cruz, Anthony Nolan, Kathleen McCarty, Holly Cheeseman, Greg Howard, Susan Johnson and Kevin Ryan, legislators recognized they recently met with CHFA officials to discuss the matter.

Despite the meeting, “we still believe that the proposed changes would continue to have an adverse effect on housing projects in any Eastern Connecticut counties rendering it nearly impossible for them to get funding,” the legislators wrote. “While you purport that the modifications to the plan do not represent any significant change, we do. Therefore, we fail to see a reason to modify the QAP in this way.”

“With this change, Eastern Connecticut will find itself in an extreme struggle to compete with the rest of the state for these key grants,” said State Senator Cathy Osten. “My colleagues and I agree that Connecticut needs affordable housing and the resultant job growth that comes with these projects. We disagree with CHFA’s decision to reassess how grant funding will be assigned, especially as it will predominantly harm one part of the state above others. Everywhere in Connecticut needs affordable housing, Eastern Connecticut included.”