The Cornwall Housing Forum on October 19 gave the 36 people who attended via Zoom a good look at what Cornwall can do about housing and what has been done or is in the works. The main barriers are cost and availability as home prices have rocketed upward and attainable houses have been sucked up in the whirlwind.
The Zoom meeting gave Cornwall simply an idea of the depth of the bench handling this demanding issue. Jocelyn Ayer, director of the Litchfield County Center for Housing Opportunities, said there are about 3,300 affordable housing units available in the county. All are occupied and the waiting list is long. Some 46% of young adults live with their parents not always because they want to but because there are so few places to rent.
Jessica Brackman, Cornwall’s housing advocate, said a diverse population is critical to Cornwall’s success as a community. Her own experience in business and as a social worker gives her a broad range of skills to counsel people looking for housing and those already in housing and looking to stay there. Jessica works closely with Heather Dinneen, Cornwall’s Social Services Director. Heather commented that she hears all the time from young people who want to move back to the place they grew up. But, as she noted, the wait to get into Kugeman Village is about three years.
The Cornwall Housing Corporation, led by Ginny Block, is the veteran provider/manager of affordable rentals, the parcel program, and accessory apartments in existing homes.
The depth of Cornwall’s existing and hoped-for affordable housing is laid out in “It’s About Community,” the town’s comprehensive housing plan, which lives at https://cornwallct.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Cornwall-Affordable-Housing-Plan-Final-Oct-2021.pdf, which will provide links to other sources. See also cornwallhousingcorporation.com.
And now the good news: the state has lots of money to spend on improved housing. The ARPA grant program has awarded $400,000 to the Cornwall Housing Corporation. And P&Z gets into the act too with plans to permit multi-family homes, also co-housing and condos.
— Lisa L. Simont
**We incorrectly reported that Cornwall’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) account awarded $400,000 to the Cornwall Housing Corporation. The CHC has requested $100,000 of funding from ARPA and has not received any monies yet. We apologize for the error and will update the community if and when the CHC receives any funding from the town’s ARPA account.