WNPR

Municipal Loan Fund Floated as Solution for Crumbling Home Foundations

Nov 18, 2016

Two state legislators want to allow towns to give loans to homeowners who have crumbling concrete foundations. Hundreds of homes in eastern Connecticut have been affected by the fault, which is caused by a mineral called pyrrhotite mixed into the concrete aggregate.

Insurers have so far declined claims made by the affected homeowners.

Senators Cathy Osten and Tim Larson want the state to authorize municipalities to issue bonds, creating a pool of funds available to homeowners. The towns could then make loans for repairs, or consider whether to give the money as grants.

Larson said he believes the problem is even more widespread than has so far been reported.

"I believe that this gets people to the table," he said. "I believe it's a manageable project and a manageable solution to this very, very traumatic problem that people are having."

Several other solutions to the issue have been floated in recent months, but none has so far produced results.

Legislative Republicans were quick to condemn Larson and Osten's announcement. Senator Len Fasano, the Senate Minority Leader issued a statement on the idea:

"Up until today the entire effort to address crumbling foundations has been bipartisan, with Republicans and Democrats working together with state officials to explore solutions. But today we see a press conference and a news release that completely ignores that teamwork."

Some advocates for the homeowners have also been skeptical of the effort, saying those affected should not be left paying back loans for the fix.

Osten said many of the stories she's heard from affected homeowners have been heartbreaking. She said the municipal funds could be just one part of the solution; she hopes the state will continue to pursue federal assistance.

So far, 18 towns are known to be affected by the issue.