Barolak & Camillo: Affordable Housing Trust Fund is Win-Win

Submitted by First Selectman Fred Camillo and Greenwich Affordable Housing Trust Fund Chair Bob Barolak

To the Editor,

In Hartford, debate is raging over how to spur statewide development of more affordable housing, particularly in higher income towns like Greenwich. But this debate is disregarding the local solutions that are already underway to help.

The 8-30g law mandates 10 percent affordable housing and we have been working diligently to establish a local program that will see more affordable units built in a way tailored to our Town’s unique needs. The Greenwich Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) is backed by private donations and remaining federal COVID stimulus, and has emerged as a beacon of localized solutions.

Under 8-30g, residents qualify for affordable housing if they make less than the statewide median income. Greenwich’s public employees’ starting pay is higher than this amount, meaning they do not qualify. The AHTF allows the use of the area median income which is more appropriate to Greenwich. This serves the dual purpose of making affordable housing more attainable for our workers as well as more financially feasible for developers.

The Trust has so far approved modest sized loans to five 8-30g projects. In exchange, the developers of those projects have agreed to reduce the size of their buildings by almost 40% on average. Why? Because using the area median income to calculate affordable units allowed the same financial results from a smaller building as they would from a larger one under the state median income. The trust fund accomplishes Hartford’s objective by getting to the required 10% affordable housing stock in a way that makes more sense for Greenwich.

With Hartford seeking top-down mandates, the AHTF model remains at risk. Continued support through donations to the trust signifies our commitment to our community’s growth. The Greenwich AHTF is not just a success story but a call to action. Let’s ensure the fund thrives, sending a resounding message to Hartford that local solutions, tailored to a community’s needs are the best path forward.

Fred Camillo
First Selectman, Greenwich
Bob Barolak
Chair, Greenwich Affordable Housing Trust Fund

See also:

Curious about the Affordable Housing Trust Fund? Attend this Forum on Sept 28