NEW CANAAN — As construction sounds split the early summer air, a small crowd gathered recently to break ground for affordable housing along Millport Avenue.

The project, which is already underway, will create 40 new housing units on Millport Avenue. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, said Housing Authority Director Scott Hobbs.

Kara Laviola, a single mother of two and a Millport resident, spoke to the social and economic value of affordable housing in New Canaan.

“It’s only through the fruition of projects like this that we’re able to stay in this community,” Laviola said.

The affordable housing growth along Millport Avenue is an important step forward in the town’s

attempt to satisfy a building moratorium per the state’s 8-30g standards, Hobbs said.

The regulations stipulate that all municipalities must work toward making 10 percent of all housing stock affordable.

“In case you didn’t notice,” Hobbs told the crowd, which included state and local officials, “they’re actually a little bit further beyond the actual groundbreaking.

“But we figured that you can be out here in February in the mud and the snow and it’d be a miserable time, or you can go for June 1. So we went for June 1.”

The positive impact on the community, rather than meeting the 8-30g standards, was the cause for recognition, officials said.

“The more that we’re able to have people who work in the community actually be able to live there creates a healthier community,” Hobbs said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, whom Hobbs introduced as “the best friend of affordable housing in Connecticut right now,” said under his administration, 181,000 units of affordable housing have been built in the last six years.

“In the long run, we know that communities are better and stronger — we know that we have better results for families — when they are housing secure,” Malloy said.

Planning and Zoning Commission member Laszlo Papp, whom Hobbs credits with the creation of the affordable housing fund that has helped pay for much of the construction, was also in attendance.

Papp was joined by state Sens. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, and Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, along with representatives from People’s United Bank and Bankwell, which helped to fund the project.

justin.papp@scni.com; newcanaannewsonline.com