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Former Darien first selectman nominated for housing commissioner

Published 5:11 pm, Thursday, February 14, 2013
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Former First Selectman Evonne M. Klein was nominated by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to serve as commissioner of the state Department of Housing, a new agency that will provide a coordinated and comprehensive approach to Connecticut's housing policies and programs by consolidating the efunctions of several state agencies into once centralized office.

"Affordable housing is integral to driving economic development and growing jobs in our state," Malloy said, noting that in the past two years the state has made significantly more investments in housing than it has in decades. "When we invest in housing, we invest in people, communities and our economic future. We invest in our cities, and make them better places to live and work. Stable housing affects the quality of our neighborhoods, the education of our kids, the health of our citizens and the opportunity for individuals and families to live in thriving communities. It is the right thing to do for our residents and the smart thing to do for our future."

Recognizing the importance of housing as a driver of economic development, Malloy has made an historic investment in the state's affordable housing stock since being elected to office, including $200 million for affordable housing for seniors, young professionals, working families and other residents. For the upcoming biennial budget, Malloy has proposed investing an additional $221 million to continue these efforts.

"I am honored to be nominated by the governor for this position," Klein said. "Through the creation of the Department of Housing, we now have the ability to better meet our housing needs across the state. I look forward to serving the people of Connecticut."

Klein served as first selectman of Darien from 2003 to 2009, during which she dedicated her efforts towards stimulating economic development in the town, including revitalization of the town's downtown district to attract new businesses and make it a destination for consumers. She also led efforts to expand affordable housing in the town, including the development of a Darien Affordable Housing Plan and zoning regulations to increase the stock of affordable housing.

Currently, she serves as an engage life director with Atria Senior Living.

"I've had the opportunity to work alongside Evonne for a number of years, and I've been witness to her dedication, work ethic and leadership capabilities. I know that she will serve as a strong advocate of ensuring that our state has the quality, affordable housing that will drive economic growth and make Connecticut a more vibrant place to work and live," Malloy said.

Legislation signed into law in 2012 established the Department of Housing as the lead agency for housing-related matters in the state. The department will be responsible for providing centralized leadership and a comprehensive approach to eliminating homelessness and meeting the housing needs of low and moderate-income individuals, families, and communities in Connecticut.

Under the consolidation, existing state housing programs from the Department of Economic & Community Development, the Department of Social Services, the Office of Policy & Management, and the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services will be transferred into the Department of Housing.