Development Committee Holds Hearing Over Crumbling Foundations

An NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation has led to a public hearing at the state capitol over the growing crisis of crumbling foundations.

The Troubleshooters broke the story last summer and today is an important step to get help for struggling homeowners.

Dozens of people, like Don Poulin of Manchester, stepped to the microphone and told their stories to the General Assembly’s Planning And Development Committee with an eye toward getting some relief from a financially devastating dilemma.

The foundation of the Poulins' Manchester home is failing, and when they realized they had a major problem, their first line of defense failed them as well.

"I filed a claim with my insurance company over the phone rejected my claim and canceled my policy," Poulin said.

He was able to find another insurer, but he is still looking for relief from a problem that experts say cannot be fixed.

Contractor Don Childree says replacing a crumbling foundation costs at least 150 thousand dollars. Childree was among the dozens of people who came to Hartford Friday testify before state lawmakers. He believes there are aren't just hundreds,. but thousands of affected homes in eastern Connecticut.

"There's homes from '98 where the cracking is so small at this time. It's very hard to see, especially as a homeowner with no idea what you're looking for, you won't know that it's starting," Childree said.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris described the ongoing state investigation to homeowners and lawmakers alike in Hearing Room 2A.

Democratic State Representative Kelly Luxenberg of Manchester sponsored a bill to start the legislative fix, with an eye toward preventing more foundation problems in the future..

"I want to be able to go into town hall and see who poured the foundation, the date it was poured and what were the conditions. None of that exists now," Luxenberg said.

That solution wouldn't help Don Poulin, but he's encouraged by the activity at the State Capitol.

"This is good first step. I think there's a lot that needs to happen. A lot of legislation has to happen, but it has to happen in the succinct order," Poulin said.

Commissioner Harris said that he is expecting a preliminary report in the next month or so, but he warned homeowners and lawmakers that he does not expect any conclusions from the investigation until the fall at the soonest.

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