The Fairchild Nichols Memorial Library in Trumbull. By Tomticker5 /

Trumbull was a year behind on its legally mandated affordable housing plan, and the town released its affordable housing community survey results at the end of April. Building on those results, the Planning and Zoning Commission released its affordable housing plan on May 31. As a pro-homes advocate and Trumbull resident, I found both the survey results and affordable housing plan disappointing.

We should be in the business of welcoming families to our wonderful town, not deciding which groups of people are “worthy” of living here. More affordable housing will be a win-win for Trumbull—and Connecticut.

Thomas Broderick

The results of the survey were disappointing (and at times embarrassing) for Trumbull. As the Trumbull Times reported out,“57 percent [of respondents], disagreed that ‘Affordable housing options and choices should be located in all areas of Trumbull,’” and about “ 31 percent of them agreed the town should increase the number of affordable housing units through the purchase, construction and rehabilitation of properties, while 56 percent disagreed.”

But perhaps the most disheartening response was that “40 percent of respondents agreed Trumbull should consider whether any town property could be used to provide affordable housing for families, while 49 percent disagreed with the statement.” These kinds of anti-family, anti-affordable housing views go against everything Trumbull stands for—and they’re also bad for the town’s continued success.

More affordable housing will help families at all incomes move to Trumbull, and the town needs that growth. We have a blossoming restaurant scene, and these new establishments are taking advantage of a growing population to keep their seats full. We also need more families to help maintain our existing infrastructure.

Trumbull Parks and Recreation boasts that we have “the most recreational and open space per capita in the state of Connecticut,” but we’re struggling to keep them in good condition with our current tax base. Additionally, a recent inspection by an architectural firm found that many of Trumbull’s school buildings are at or near the end of their useful life, which could cost the town anywhere from $100 million to $300 million. Fortunately, there’s a solution to these issues —welcome more families. School buildings and parks are relatively fixed costs, so more taxpayers and more businesses will help pay for their maintenance.

Not only will new affordable homes help Trumbull, but they’ll help the families who live in them. Harvard University’s Raj Chetty and his colleagues at the Opportunity Atlas found that “neighborhoods in which children grow up shape children’s outcomes in adulthood” and concluded that “low-income families are segregated into lower-opportunity areas.”

Trumbull is full of high-opportunity neighborhoods and great schools , meaning we have the rare chance to simultaneously help our town while changing people’s lives for the better.

Parts of Trumbull’s plan, such as focusing affordable housing in walkable areas/transit nodes, make lots of sense. But other parts, such as emphasizing certain groups of people, make less sense. Seniors and workers are important, but so are families, children, and anyone else who wants to call our wonderful town home.

Unfortunately, there is a loud minority across the entire state determined to push back against any and all housing, including affordable housing. Simsbury, for example, held a public meeting where residents pushed back against a new development on all the usual grounds, including individual architectural preferences, perceived loss of property values, and wetlands encroachment (even though the town’s inland wetlands commission already deemed those spurious).

But it’s worth emphasizing how few people are actually objecting to new housing in Trumbull, Simsbury, and the rest of the state. In Trumbull, only 1,300 people responded to the affordable housing survey, which is about 3.5% of the town’s overall population, and in Simsbury, only “dozens” out of a population of 25,000 came out to oppose the project. I don’t think buying a home and achieving your American dream gives you the right to stop other people from achieving theirs, and Trumbull, Simsbury, and Connecticut should ignore the housing haters—this tiny minority of anti-homes voices—and allow more housing.

I have a positive vision of Trumbull where everyone who contributes to our community can make a home here, and I think this ethos should apply to Connecticut as a whole. I urge the leaders and residents in Trumbull, Simsbury, and the rest of the state to reject exclusion and side with prosperity and opportunity—more affordable housing will be a win-win for all our towns and the future families that will call them home.

Thomas Broderick lives in Trumbull.