Technical assistance

Torrington seeks to assess housing needs in the city


TORRINGTON – The best way to find out what residents think about something is to ask, and the city is doing just that to gather information on housing needs in the city.

Residents are encouraged to complete a survey, online or at Town Hall, posted by the Torrington Housing Steering Committee.

Committee members include former city council member Sharon Waagner, town planner Marty Connor, assistant town planner Jeremy Leifert, director of economic development Rista Malanca and Claudia Sweeney, director of the Torrington Housing Authority.

Jocelyn Ayer of the Northwest Hills Council of Governments facilitates the study.

“In 2017, the state legislature passed a law requiring cities to have an affordable housing plan by June 2022. The state housing ministry provided grants to any city that wanted technical assistance for create this blueprint, and Torrington got one. So they pay my time to help, ”Ayer said. “I have worked with six other cities on this subject so far, and I am now working with eight other cities, on their own studies.”

One step in the process, said Ayer, is to identify specific housing needs within a community.

“We have collected data on housing needs, but we want to know what residents have been through and what they think those needs are. The committee can then take that information and include it in their planning process, ”she said.

The survey is online in English and Spanish. Residents are asked if they own or rent a house, what type of house they live in and if they live alone, with their family, parents or adult children. Residents are also encouraged to identify the challenges they face: high rent or utility costs, poor maintenance or health and safety issues in a rental property and accessibility.

Other questions relate to the choices between renting and owning a home and why, if one has rental property in the home, and the obstacles they have encountered in finding new accommodation. . There are also questions specific to seniors and families.

The survey is due to be completed by the end of December and can be viewed at

Ayer is working on a second survey with the committee, which will be provided to people who work in town but commute from another location.

“We will probably send it to employers and ask them to distribute it to their employees,” she said. “We’ll ask them if they would like to live in Torrington, what kind of accommodation they would like, things like that.

“So there will be two polls, but I hope it won’t be too confusing,” Ayer said. “I hope Torrington responds to what we’re doing. Getting it out is always a challenge, but the mayor will send it to the available social media, and we can get as many responses as possible.

The first survey is published in the newsletter of the Ministry of Economic Development, and posters with QR codes are displayed downtown. “We’re going to try a lot of different ways to get people to take it,” Ayer said. “It only takes about five minutes. Hard copies are available at the town hall, but we would like this to be done on a phone, tablet or computer. We really hope to involve people in the housing process as much as they want. “

Connor, the town planner from Torrington, who is retiring at the end of the year, has applied for the housing scholarship. “I think this survey will be an important update that we can use, when completed, to update our conservation and development plan,” said Connor.

The Torrington building stock, Connor said, includes affordable homes and apartments. “We are luckier than most cities in the region as we have affordable housing in the region,” he said. “But we might not be the kind that people are looking for. Empty nests, or a youngster who wants to live and work downtown, might have another type of housing in mind. The study serves. A lot of other towns in the northwest corner don’t offer a lot of alternative housing, but we certainly do.

In recent years, downtown housing options have improved, with a renovation of the Libby Building, and Torrington Downtown Partners and Temkin Builders continue to renovate and improve some of the older buildings on Main Streets, East Main and Water.

“You can see what’s going on with some of the new projects downtown and how fast they’re getting rented,” Connor said. “It shows a need.”

For more information, call the Torrington Planning Department at Town Hall at 860-489-2221.