Politics

Pine Tree Affordable Housing located in Fairfield but owned and managed by the Fairfield Housing Authority, a separate legal entity, has a waiting list which is presently closed.
Pine Tree Affordable Housing located in Fairfield but owned and managed by the Fairfield Housing Authority, a separate legal entity, has a waiting list which is presently closed. Photo Credit: Google Maps

Fairfield County Town Seeks Public Input On Community Development Grant Funds

The Town of Fairfield is awaiting public input before it can develop a five-year plan on how to spend a nearly half-million dollar federal grant to address affordable housing.

The Department of Community & Economic Development will hold the first of several scheduled workshops on Wednesday, Feb. 12 related to the Town’s continued participation in the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.

The purpose of the workshop is to solicit public input on housing and homeless needs in conjunction with the development of the town’s Five Year Consolidated Plan.

Fairfield expects to receive $494,420 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for the current program year, which began on October 1, 2019, according to figures provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The primary objective of the grant program is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment and expanded economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income. 

As a municipality with a population of more than 50,000 persons, the Town of Fairfield qualifies as an entitlement community, meaning that it receives an annual allocation of CDBG funds.

"As a condition of receipt of these funds, the town is required to prepare and submit to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) a Consolidated Plan, which discusses how the community proposes to use federal funds to address priority housing and community development needs over the next five years, explained Director Community & Economic Development Mark Barnhart.

The workshop is not to discuss specific projects or housing opportunities in Fairfield, however. According to the state’s most recent report, there are 527 units that are designated as “affordable” (using the state’s criteria) located in Fairfield. 

These include Pine Tree Affordable Housing located in Fairfield but owned and managed by the Fairfield Housing Authority, a separate legal entity, which Barnhart noted has a waiting list that is "unfortunately" closed at the present time.

The Town of Fairfield does not own or manage any housing units directly. Eligibility criteria (income limits) and application processes vary depending on location and housing provider. The Consolidated Plan examines community needs and resources to fashion a coordinated, multi-year strategy aimed at improving the lives of the town’s low- and moderate-income residents. 

In addition to identifying the town’s priority housing and community development goals, the plan must include a needs assessment of its homeless, disabled and other special needs populations. Fairfield is required to prepare a Consolidated Plan every five years as a condition of its continued receipt of CDBG funds. Projects may include public improvements, public facilities, public services and economic development activities that principally serve and/or benefit areas or persons of low and moderate income.

The Feb. 12 meeting will be hosted by the town’s Affordable Housing Committee and is open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Second Floor Conference Room of the Old Town Hall Building at 611 Old Post Road in Fairfield.

More information is available by calling the Department of Community & Economic Development at 203-256-3120.