Stamford and New Haven are ‘economic powerhouses’ but there’s room for growth elsewhere in CT, official says

David Lehman, Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner, called the Stamford and New Haven areas “economic powerhouses” Tuesday, but said for the rest of the state to follow suit, more communities need to offer a broader array of housing opportunities. He said there are 100,000 job openings in the state right now and only 50,000 people looking for work. “We need to focus on re-energizing the workforce,” Lehman said. “If you look at (annual) new housing permits, we’ve been stuck at about 4,000 for a long time,” Lehman said. “We need to be doing 10,000 to 15,000 new housing permits per year if we want to be economically relevant 10 to 15 years from now. And the type of housing needs to be broad-based.” Lehman said he favors “using a carrot, not a stick,” in order to achieve that level of new housing development. One thing he said that has proven to be successful in Hartford is offering developers low-interest loans and other incentives to convert vacant offices into living space.

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