No, it is not a municipal entity. The Falls Village Housing Trust, Inc. is an independent non-profit 501.c.3 organization founded in October 2016.
“Affordable” is a term used by the state and federal government that establishes guidelines based on the area median income (AMI). The current United Stats AMI is $59,039 and the CT State AMI is $76,348. Units at River Road Homes would be available to people within certain income brackets. For example: 75-100% AMI, 50-75% AMI, and 25-50% AMI.
History has shown that the term “affordable” can be misleading to the general public and often causes fear and concern from neighbors.
However, experience has demonstrated that the towns who provide affordable homes to seniors, young people and families do not suffer any increased crime, lower property values or any other negative effects.
In fact, the towns in our region that have implemented “affordable rental communities” have experienced many positive fiscal and social outcomes. The towns of Norfolk, Kent, Salisbury and Litchfield are prime examples. These communities are making efforts to address the needs of their seniors, families and work force with very positive results.
The population in our town is shifting to almost 40% second home owners, and our full time residents are aging. Low maintenance rental properties will provide housing options for young people, starter homes for families and senior-friendly safe homes.. According to the most recent census, over 30% of Falls Village residents would qualify for River Road Homes rental units.
The FVHT and their consultants are using State and federal programs designed to help communities meet their affordable housing requirement. River Road Homes will be financed with Department of Housing (DOH) grants and loans.
FVHT will apply for grants and seek donations, neither of which require a traditional return on equity. Since the State has already invested $200,000 in River Road Homes, we expect to have priority for the construction grant.
The balance of the project cost will be funded with conventional construction/permanent mortgage debt, likely from a local bank.
Yes, the State of CT does not exempt affordable housing from any local property taxes. Any new construction will increase the property tax revenue of Falls Village.
The property is currently owned by Habitat for Humanity of NWCT. The Falls Village Housing Trust Inc. has a legal option to purchase, pending P&Z approval.
There is no evidence to suggest that a well-maintained property will lower real estate values in Falls Village.. Other nearby towns’ property values have remained constant. Our neighboring towns with the highest property values have multiple affordable housing developments.
Yes, in particular during the preparation and construction phases. The Trust is committed to employing local contractors wherever possible. Once the property is developed, the Trust will employ a Property Manager as well as various maintenance personnel.
FVHT will conform to best practices models followed by our neighbors and fellow Regional Housing Council Members. River Road Homes will employ a Property Manager and maintenance crew.
FVHT will strictly follow the Fair Housing guidelines tied to our funding. Rentals will be priced and available to individuals with incomes at 80% Average Median Income (AMI) and 60% AMI. In addition, a 25% AMI category exists that is particularly well suited for seniors on limited fixed income and handicapped applicants. Although, senior and disabled may apply in all income ranges. Applications will be available electronically and at the Town Hall.
Falls Village (and our entire region) is classified as a car-dependent community. Virtually everyone who lives here owns a car, motorcycle or bicycle. We should not assume that someone living in a moderately priced rental home would not have a car. Transportation is essential to work, and our non-retired residents will be employed and therefore, have a means of transportation. River Road Homes is an easily walkable half-mile to the Housatonic Valley Regional High School.
Due to the extreme shortage of rental housing in Falls Village and surrounding towns, it is highly unlikely that any of the 16 homes will be empty. Other similar rental communities in our area have long waiting lists, so the risk here is little to none.
Falls Village Housing Trust Inc.
108 Main Street, Falls Village, CT 06031
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