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Sharon gives nod to affordable housing plan

SHARON — The Board of Selectmen approved the town’s Affordable Housing Plan at its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Months of meetings by the volunteer Housing Plan Steering Committee, which studied the local issue of availability of affordable housing, led to adoption of the plan.

Housing is considered affordable if it costs no more than 30% of a household’s income. According to the Sharon Affordability Housing Plan, 310 households spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. And 205 of those households have reported spending more than 50% of their income on housing costs. This makes them severely housing cost burdened.

Selectman Dale Jones, who served on the steering committee, added, “We tried to make it as inclusive and as realistic as possible.”

“It was a really great process,” said First Selectman Brent Colley.

Sharon had 465 households that earned less than 80% of the area median income and has only 36 homes dedicated to remaining affordable, according to the state’s Affordable Housing Appeals 2021 list.

The steering committee was formed in late 2021 to comply with a 2017 state law mandating that each town in the state create a plan to be updated at five-year intervals. The housing plan must work in concert with the town’s state-mandated Plan of Conservation and Development.

Preparation of the affordable housing plan was assisted by consultant Jocelyn Ayer of the Litchfield County Center for Housing Opportunity.

The adopted plan can be viewed at www.sharonct.org.

In August, the steering committee evolved into the Sharon Housing Trust, with some of the committee members being absorbed into the trust, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. The trust is positioned to assemble resources and apply for and receive grant funding to help advance the plan’s vision.

Speaking of the new organizational structure, Housing Trust President Bob Whelan said that the Sharon Housing Trust in August had launched a new website, www.shtct.org.

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