Meriden’s Y’s Men: Why a wide range of housing options can make your town healthy

Meriden’s Y’s Men: Why a wide range of housing options can make your town healthy

“Housing plus Transit is a marriage that has to happen.” So noted David Fink, housing consultant, as he addressed 63 Y’s Men of Meriden on April 2.

Fink spoke with authority derived from his extensive career in the field. He served as newspaper reporter and editor for five newspapers during a 27-year career, including 17 years at The Hartford Courant as a legislative reporter, politics editor, government editor and associate editor of the editorial page. He then spent two years as Press Secretary for the Speaker of the CT House of Representatives. He then moved on to a 14-year career as policy director for the Partnership for Strong Communities, a statewide policy organization seeking to prevent and end homelessness and create affordable homes for all Connecticut residents.

Fink noted that Connecticut is currently facing a “Perfect Storm” in the housing industry. Our state’s housing boom began in the 1970’s with construction primarily of single-family homes (what people wanted.) But today, those baby boomers (born following World War II, 1946-1964) are looking to downsize their homes, just as millennials (born 1981-1996) are rejecting the traditional housing model in favor of multifamily housing apartments, causing house prices to drop due to oversupply. In Connecticut, the average household allots 37 percent of disposable income to housing, well above the 30 percent that is recommended.

And new families also want this denser housing to have easy access to mass transit such as rail, allowing reliable on-time arrival for work, less need for cars and no traffic woes, which in turn makes Connecticut a more desirable location for businesses. Our state currently has 43 towns and cities with regular train service. Perhaps future state incentives will further extend this trend of housing construction adjacent to efficient mass transportation.

Fink was especially complimentary of the extensive apartment construction in downtown Meriden next to the newly-renovated rail service. He noted, “Meriden has done extremely well. The demand for multifamily housing will persist, especially if it is built near transit lines.”

Retired or semi-retired men from Meriden or surrounding communities, interested in attending a Y’s Men of Meriden meeting, are invited to call 203-238-7784 or visit the website.


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