What is Affordable Housing?

At the individual level, housing is considered affordable if it costs no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. At the community level, housing is affordable if it costs no more than 30 percent of household income for households earning 80 percent of the area’s median income. Currently, (2022), in Litchfield County, 80 percent of median income is $63,120 for a single person and $90,080 for a family of four.

Where can I obtain assistance finding affordable housing?

You can start by completing this Affordable Housing Interest form for Litchfield County Area rental housing.

Why does Roxbury need affordable housing?

In 2022, Roxbury adopted a five-year housing plan. According to the plan, Roxbury had 165 households that earned less than 80 percent of the area median income, but only 24 homes dedicated to being affordable. 18 of these homes are in Bernhardt Meadow and designated for seniors. The housing plan’s goal to begin to meet the need for affordable housing in Roxbury is to create 10 to 15 housing options over the life of the plan.

The steering committee charged with developing the housing plan conducted a survey of Roxbury residents and received a high rate of responses. Almost half of respondents (49 percent) thought the affordability of housing affects Roxbury’s ability to attract and retain young families and the same number thought Roxbury needs downsizing options for seniors.

The 10-year Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) adopted in 2020 also found a need for affordable housing. The POCD’s very first goal is to attract and retain young families, through enabling the development of smaller homes. The POCD also recommended the creation of a housing trust to facilitate the creation of downsizing options for seniors and housing options for young families.

Meeting the need for affordable housing is an investment in Roxbury’s future.  Having residents with a diversity of incomes, occupations, and ages leads to a more vigorous, sustainable community. Moreover, Roxbury needs younger residents to serve in our volunteer fire department and ambulance association and more young families with children to maintain the strength and quality of education at Booth Free School and the Shepaug Valley School. 

What is a housing trust?

A housing trust is a private, non-profit organization that can facilitate the creation of affordable housing options for young families and others as well as downsizing options for seniors. Roxbury’s housing affordability plan designated a housing trust as the primary mechanism for fulfilling the plan’s goals, leading to the creation of the Roxbury Housing Trust (RHT).  

RHT was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in October, 2022, and filed its application for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service in March, 2023.

What kind of housing options would RHT foster?

RHT plans to develop smaller sized homes to accommodate the needs of seniors needing to downsize as well as homes for young families. Depending on financing and other factors, these homes would be rented or purchased, and either way would remain affordable over the long term. RHT will encourage Roxbury homeowners to add accessory apartments and rent them to residents on a long-term basis. It will raise awareness of available resources for down-payment assistance, rehabilitating and repairing homes, and tax incentives for contributions of land and financial resources.

What would new housing look like?

RHT is committed to the creation of housing options that are consistent with Roxbury’s landscape and natural features.

What are neighboring towns doing?

Most towns in Litchfield County have established housing trusts or similar organizations. Many have been successful in creating housing options. For example, the Washington Community Housing Trust, established in 1987, has developed 37 affordable apartments and is currently working on three affordable homes for purchase. The Cornwall Housing Corporation, formed in 1988, has created housing options for seniors and young families.  Kent, Salisbury, Falls Village, and other area towns also have projects in the pipeline.

How is affordable housing financed

Financing can come from a variety of sources, including donations of land and money from residents, financial assistance from the town, grants from the state and federal government for feasibility and site development work, and mortgages to the Trust or eligible purchasers.