On NIMBYISM and ‘opportunity’: Private developer tackles public problem of housing affordability

The $16 million, 40-unit Brookside Commons affordable housing development is going up on 16 acres next to the Target store on Route 85 in Waterford. The commercial strip stands in stark contrast to the neighborhood around the former Cohanzie Elementary School where, several years ago, Foley made a failed bid to construct four new apartment buildings while saving the historic school from demolition. The Georgia-based developer has leveraged 20 years of experience in multiple states to emerge as a success story in obtaining federal tax credits to help solve the affordable housing shortage in Connecticut. The federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program was established under the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to engage private interests in solving the affordable housing problem after public efforts failed. Since then, a movement has emerged to address housing segregation with tax credits. Led here by the Open Communities Alliance and Connecticut Fair Housing Center, advocates are working to direct more financing for affordable housing to suburban areas so lower income earners have options outside cities. For Foley’s Brookside Commons development in Waterford, CHFA documents show 80% of the 40 one- and two-bedroom units will be set aside as affordable.


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