Homeowners argue gov's loans are not enough to fix crumbling fou - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Homeowners argue gov's loans are not enough to fix crumbling foundations

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A rally was held ahead of the crumbling foundations hearing on Tuesday. (Colin Darling?) A rally was held ahead of the crumbling foundations hearing on Tuesday. (Colin Darling?)

Homeowners rallied in Hartford on Tuesday morning as state lawmakers discussed legislation over the state's crumbling foundation crisis.

Lawmakers heard from people who said their homes are worthless due to the crisis.

Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to make low interest loans available to help, but homeowners told Eyewitness News that it's not enough.

"It's a living nightmare," said a homeowner who only identified herself as Rebecca. "You come home everyday and you have this huge feeling of dread when you pull into the driveway."

Rebecca said she doesn't know what to do. The home she shares with her husband in Union is worthless, according to her.

"I really don't think everyone has to pay for it, but something has to be done because all these homes are going to foreclose," she said.

Two years ago, a contractor doing work on their home noticed all of the cracks in the foundation. The same cracks showed up in homes in 37 towns across the state.

State investigators determined that a mineral used in the foundations is crumbling and the problem is bigger than anyone expected.

"I don't see how this is different from a hurricane or tornado," said Sen. Tony Guglielmo, a Republican member of the Public Safety Committee. "It's just slow moving. That's the only difference, but it's just as devastating."

Lawmakers from four different committees are trying to figure out what to do.

Some feel the Federal Emergency Management Agency should help. However, FEMA said the crisis is not natural disaster.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman testified at the Public Safety and Security; Insurance and Real Estate; Planning and Development, and Banking Committees Joint Public Hearing around 10:30 a.m.  

Wyman spoke in support of the Malloy’s "Bill HB 794."

"The bill helps homeowners get low market priced interest rates for their home loans," she said.

Many homeowners said it's not enough.

"This is a dire issue that needs attention on all levels," said Lisa Pellegrini, Somers first selectman.

Town leaders are worried about grand lists because a growing number of homes are losing value. Lawmakers believe a fifth of homes in Connecticut are affected by crumbling foundations.

The Connecticut Coalition against Crumbling Basements disagrees with a proposed loan program for homeowners and concrete testing. Nearly 500 homeowners in 23 towns filed complaints with the state department of consumer protection over failing foundations.

A number of people are involved in lawsuits with their insurance companies. The cost to repair the problem is between $100,000 and $250,000. The work takes about two months.

"If a solution isn't provided, the key's on the counter [and] I am going to walk away," Rebecca said.

Officials said it's hard to know exactly how many homeowners are affected by the crisis. A lot of them are afraid to come forward because once they do, they may never be able to sell their homes.

At this point, no one seems to know where the money is going to come from to fix the affected homes.

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