The Facts about Affordable Housing

So let’s review the facts about affordable housing in Old Saybrook (they are all reinforced by citations at the end of this post—click on the links to review the information further):

First, affordable housing is simply rent, mortgage, and utilities that cost less than 30% of the household’s gross income (1). Households that spend more than 30% are defined as cost burdened. (2) That means that if you earn the median household income in Middlesex County, $83,132 (3), and if you spend more than $24,900/year or $2,075/month on housing costs including utilities, you are considered cost burdened.

Here’s a snapshot of the housing situation in Old Saybrook (4):

  • 87% of homes are single family vs 64% statewide
  • Home sale prices are 30-35% higher than statewide averages:
    • In 2019, average sale price was $373,000 compared to $283,700 in Middlesex County
    • These numbers have only gotten worse: the average sale price of a home in Old Saybrook is now $549,950 (5)
  • Median rent was $1,529 compared to $1,129 in Middlesex County
  • 30% of owners and 66% of renters are cost burdened.
  • In 2019, only 155 out of 5602 housing units in town were affordable – that puts us at 2.77% versus the 10% goal set in state law.

This is why Democrats in Old Saybrook support policies that will increase the amount of affordable housing.

Let’s look at what our town’s Republican-led commissions have done to address this situation.

According to the Affordable Housing Plan, there have only been two major projects in the last 10 years: Saybrook Junction and Ferry Crossing with the HOPE Partnership. Combined, these two projects only added 54 affordable housing units to town. We need nearly 10 times this many units to meet the Affordable Housing Plan’s stated goal.

Bipartisan committees in town have written some great plans. These plans were both created and approved with public input and with bipartisan support. But plans without action don’t move us forward.

  • The Affordable Housing Plan (6) recommended changes in zoning to allow for multi- family construction and conversions. No action has been taken on these recommended actions.
  • Plan of Conservation and Development (7) includes four key residential policies: emphasize home ownership, increase affordable housing, increase residential density in targeted areas, focus on the environment.

Oh – and one other thing – it’s preposterous to say that Democrats want to bypass Engineers and Architects to get more developments fast-tracked.  Democrats believe in governing without favor and they know that Boards and Commissions don’t have that kind of authoritarian power.

Shame on anyone making that kind of wild accusation. 

More Democrats on the Planning and Zoning Commissions would result in action on these recommendations making it easier for developers to build the kind of affordable housing we need in Old Saybrook.

Vote for Democrats like Mike Bender (Planning); Justin Terribile (Zoning and Board of Finance); Laura Gray (Zoning); George Chang (Board of Finance); and Meghan Brady (Board of Finance) on Nov. 7.

  1. HUD, Barriers to Affordable Housing,
  2. Affordable Housing Plan, Town of Old Saybrook, 2021-2026,
  3. Old Saybrook 2021 Equity Profile,
  4. Old Saybrook Plan of Conservation and Development 2023-2033,
  5. Rocket Homes Market Report,
  6. Affordable Housing Plan, Town of Old Saybrook, 2021-2026,
  7. Old Saybrook Plan of Conservation and Development 2023-2033,