‘A huge and crying need’
Affordable housing project to bring 22 units to Stamford
“I kind of feel like it's the house that the pandemic built.” Housing Development Fund President Joan Carty
STAMFORD — If anything, the pandemic only strengthened Housing Development Fund President Joan Carty’s stance on building more affordable housing in Stamford.
“There was just a huge and crying need for this type of affordable home ownership option,” she said. “With the pandemic, and the run-up in real estate prices, and the increased scarcity in Stamford for options — it has just totally validated every instinct we had to expand the house stock.”
Her nonprofit, which finances the development of affordable housing locally, in April broke ground on a community land trust tucked in the South End. Unlike traditional real estate sales, community land trusts let buyers purchase homes without buying the land it sits on. Whereas families will own the condominiums, a trust established by the Housing
Development Fund owns the land and leases it out, typically in 99-year terms.
Carty said that development has moved along steadily in the months since construction began, and that construction is expected to conclude by Spring 2022.
“I kind of feel like it's the house that the pandemic built,” she said.
HDF is still actively recruiting tenants for the 22 apartments down Washington Boulevard through monthly webinars. The group’s next webinar is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Aug. 25. At the sessions, HDF teaches potential home buyers about community land trusts while also attempting to guide prospective tenants through the financial obstacles to ownership — like low credit scores.
All sessions are conducted virtually, and participants can preregister online.
Carty said that about 100 families so far have applied to join the land trust, but HDF will continue to hold information sessions into the future.
The condominiums are reserved for families with household incomes at or below 50 percent of Stamford’s area median income — a figure determined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Households can qualify for a place in the community land trust at the following levels:
2-member household: $60,720
3-member household: $68,310
4-member household: $75,900
5-member household: $81,972
6-member household: $88,044