For much of the past year, businesses across the state — from manufacturers in the northwest to military contractors in the southeast — have been raising alarms about Connecticut’s housing shortage.
Employers say they’ve had trouble recruiting staff because skilled tradespeople can no longer afford to live in much of the state. Many companies have attributed the state’s estimated 100,000 unfilled job openings to the lack of housing.
That urgency drove the Connecticut Business and Industry Association to form an unlikely coalition with housing advocacy group Desegregate CT and the Connecticut Council of Municipalities. These groups together have pushed for legislative solutions to the housing crisis during this year’s General Assembly session.
One of the recommendations the coalition put forward was a proposal incentivizing private sector investment in housing development. Business advocates have referred to such a proposition as “workforce housing.”
The legislation would provide tax incentives for companies that fund rental housing developments where a portion of the units are set aside for employees in a certain workforce — such as teachers, police officers, emergency medical personnel or other professions specific to the local area — and offered at a slightly discounted rate. Forty percent of the units would have to serve that specific appointed workforce, and 10% would need to be offered at a lower rate for low-income families. The rest could be rented at the going “market rate.”
Any such development also would have to be located in a federally designated distressed area, also known as an “opportunity zone.”
With the legislative session nearing its June 7 terminus, both chambers have been refining the last details of broad proposals to address the housing crisis — one of this year’s top priorities.