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Salisbury presents 2023 affordable housing plan

5% of all Salisbury housing—rented and owned—will be affordable to individuals making $63,120 or less, or a family of four making $90,080 or less.

SALISBURY — The 2023 Affordable Housing Plan for Salisbury, which maps a path forward for the creation of affordable housing in the next ten years, was posted for public review and commentary on the town website on Wednesday, Sept. 6.

If implemented in its entirety, the Plan will create 100 new affordable housing units in the next ten years, bringing the total number of housing units defined as “affordable” up to 157—or 5% of the housing in Salisbury—and leaving 95% of Salisbury housing stock open to market forces.

In real terms, that means that 5% of all Salisbury housing—rented and owned—will be affordable to individuals making $63,120 or less, or a family of four making $90,080 or less.

The Plan, researched and assembled by the all-volunteer Salisbury Affordable Housing Commission, responds to what Jim Dresser, an ex-Selectman who is now a member of both the Affordable Housing Commission and the Affordable Housing Committee, describes as Salisbury’s “existential crisis”: the Town’s chronic lack of affordable homes and rentals.

The waiting list for the Salisbury Housing Committee, the nonprofit responsible for building and managing affordable multi-family housing, jumped from 25 or 30 to over 100 families last year. It currently has 39 units in operation.

While 34 new units have gone beyond the most preliminary phases of planning, only ten of these—at Sarum Village—are likely to be livable in the next two to three years. “People can wait months or even years to be offered a home at [Faith House or Sarum Village],” reads the Plan. “Many individuals and families cannot wait that long and have to move elsewhere.”

While the Plan articulates the problems facing Salisbury’s housing crisis, it also offers solutions: all 100 proposed new units—which includes the 34 the have gone beyond the planning phases—are on parcels of buildable land on town and committee property, appropriately zoned, and located near existing water and sewage services (dramatically decreasing the time and cost of building).

“The need in the last five years has increased so much,” said Jennifer Kronholm Clark, chairman of the Affordable Housing Commission.

“Salisbury’s doing the right thing,” said Jocelyn Ayr, director of the Litchfield County Center for Housing Opportunity. “It’s supporting it’s local affordable housing organizations, which are made up of local residents who care about this place, who know it, and who want to keep all the great things that we have as a small town.”

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