48% of Connecticut participants in the federal government's Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program live in the 2% of the state that is the most opportunity isolated. Eighty-six percent of HCV households live outside of the 40% of the land area of the state that has access to the state's highest performing schools. This is not choice!
We now know that a range of factors limits the areas where people seek and find housing. These include rent caps set too low to access housing in many thriving communities and lack of full information on affordable housing in areas with a wealth of resources. These forces harden lines of segregation and limit housing choices for people of all races. Open Communities Alliance supports efforts to broaden the scope of housing options considered by all people and focuses particular attention on ensuring that low income people in historically disenfranchised groups have access to full information about housing options and services that affect choice of housing such as transportation and childcare - and a realistic opportunity to have a choice in where they live.
To foster housing choice within the HCV program, Open Communities Alliance:
- Supports policies that produce better information on affordable and subsidized housing in a diversity of locations, including the use of mobility counseling.
- Engages in efforts to enhance the availability of such information. We have recently released our Mobility App for people using Housing Choice Vouchers, RAP, and other government housing subsidies.
- Works to ensure that government housing subsidy programs allow participants access to all parts of Connecticut, particularly through adopting realistic maximum rents like those proposed in HUD's Small Area Fair Market Rent rule. (Implementation of this rule was frozen by the Trump administration on August 11, 2017). Learn more about this initiative here.
- Reaches out to communities that need access to such information.
To ensure true housing choice, the Alliance:
- Works in collaboration with fair housing partners such as the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, the Fair Housing Association of Connecticut, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure that fair housing complaints are investigated and pursued.
- Researches and publicizes data on housing discrimination.