HARTFORD, CT — The governor will be asking for $5 million in state funding to assist homeowners in 24 towns in northeastern Connecticut whose homes may be crumbling because of a mineral that causes foundations to deteriorate.
The funding, if approved by the State Bond Commission, will be used to test and include visual inspections of foundations to better understand the extent of the problem while also assisting property owners with the costs related to testing.
A state investigation found that the source of the problem is the mineral pyrrhotite, which was present in concrete aggregate used to pour the foundations.
It’s still unknown how many homes may be crumbling as a result.
The Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) is also planning to allocate an additional $1 million in federal block grant funding to further assist low- and moderate-income homeowners with testing costs.
“It is vital that local, state, and federal government — along with private sector partners — work together to both understand the scope of this problem, and to help those whose homes are affected,” Malloy said.
“Providing financial assistance for the testing of foundations in these communities is a logical first step,” Malloy continued.
The Jan. 27 Bond Commission meeting has been canceled, so the next meeting where the funding could be approved is Feb. 24.
“It will help us better inform our federal partners about the scope of this situation and garner their support for additional aide. Today’s announcement does not represent the totality of the state’s assistance for affected homeowners — we will remain at the table with homeowners and other partners as work continues,” Malloy said.
A Capitol Region Council of Governments study released last September found that as many as 19,121 homes in 24 towns could be plagued with deteriorating foundations that were poured between the 1980s and 2011.
Homeowners have been hesitant to come forward because the problem could mean their home is worthless and many don’t have the $150,000 to $200,000 it would take to replace the foundation. Repairing it is not an option.
Under the program Malloy announced Monday, homeowners will be eligible for a 50-percent reimbursement — up to $2,000 — for the testing of two core samples within their home.
Homeowners who have visual testing conducted by a licensed professional engineer will be eligible for a 100 percent reimbursement — up to $400.
The program will provide support for testing for applicants with homes built since 1983 and that are within a 20-mile radius of the J.J. Mottes Concrete Company in Stafford Springs.
Sen. Tim Larson, D-East Hartford, applauded the announcement, but said more needs to be done.
“There are a number of bills moving forward this session to address this issue, and many people have been working on a resolution which has made for a number of moving parts that should be overseen by a single individual to ensure this process is expedited,” Larson said. “The governor needs to appoint a ‘Crumbling Concrete Czar’ to bring all of these efforts together, and I am hopeful that we can get all of the people who are working on this together to come to a real, viable solution as soon as possible.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney said he was also pleased by the announcement.
“As my office determined last August, federal assistance is available immediately through the Department of Housing and Urban Devolvement Small Cities CDBG and HOME block grant programs, and I’m glad that the governor indicated today that these funding sources will be used,” Courtney said. “Nothing could fall more squarely within the mission of CDBG to promote community development than stopping this threat to north-central Connecticut’s housing market.”