Why Affordable Housing
Why the Foundation for Norfolk Living was started
Hint: Out of necessity
For many years the Planning and Zoning Commission of Norfolk was concerned about the lack of low-cost housing in Norfolk. The Board of Selectmen appointed a Housing Study Committee which conducted a survey of town residents in 2003. That survey confirmed the pressing need for affordable housing. Spurred into action by the committee’s report, a group of Norfolk residents established the Foundation for Norfolk Living in 2005. We are a volunteer organization.
A Tale of Two Norfolks
Like many other towns in northwestern Connecticut, Norfolk is a relatively expensive place to live. Town-sanctioned planning studies and surveys have determined that affordable housing is a top priority. The town’s housing stock is aging and is primarily large, single family homes that are costly to maintain and priced beyond the means of average young families. Changing demographics, including more seniors with fixed incomes wishing to downsize and young people/families weighing home ownership versus renting, have created a demand for more diverse and affordable housing options.
The current (mid 2020) median home price of $326,400 is out of reach for many aspiring residents. Homes that are at lower price points often have a significant amount of deferred maintenance and/or environmental hazards such as lead, asbestos or mold.
And yet we need more...
Supply does not yet equal demand in Norfolk. FNL’s rental project has consistently maintained a waiting list of potential tenants since it opened in June 2018. In addition, Meadowbrook, the town’s senior housing apartment building has a waiting list. Currently, 4.9% of Norfolk’s housing is considered affordable, and most of that is rental property. FNL is committed to working toward making available both rental and ownership opportunities which, together with our current affordable housing, will meet or exceed 10% of the town’s housing stock.
Norfolk needs to create housing opportunities for everyone if it is to maintain its vibrant and strong quality of life.