Why Does Affordable Housing Matter?

Ayesha's Story

Ayesha is a single mom of three kids. Her middle child, K., is eight years old and severely autistic. K. is non-verbal and has a host of health issues that have required increasingly intensive care as he has grown. K. now needs his own room to manage his health challenges while maintaining a safe environment for the family. To care for her son, Ayesha had to resign her position as a corrections officer and applied for housing assistance.

Ayesha was extremely fortunate to get a government housing voucher, which covers a significant portion of her rent, but was only able to find a unit that was inadequately small for her family in a neighborhood she felt was unsafeWith no other option, she rented it even though K. did not have his own room and the rest of the family, including a toddler, was sequestered in one room for four hours a day so that K. could do therapy in another. With tears in her eyes, Ayesha recalls, “It was so stressful. It makes it hard to be a good mom. I kept looking for housing that would work for (my children), housing where K. could get the services he needs. It was awful.”

Fortunately, Ayesha worked with a mobility counselor, who went above and beyond to find Ayesha safe, suitable housing in a neighborhood of her choice. It took months, but eventually they finally found a home. The last time we visited Ayesha, she gave us a tour of her new house which had enough room for the baby, a room for K., and space for his therapy and equipment. K. could also enjoy access to special services and well-funded schools in the new neighborhood. Ayesha was smiling from ear to ear because her children were, at last, in a place they could call home.

The reality is that 50% of vouchers holders in the state of Connecticut are unable to use their vouchers, largely because of the lack of affordable housing. Another barrier for families is being discriminated against because they have a housing voucher. We need to expand services like mobility counseling to help families who struggle to find affordable housing in communities of their choice or have difficulties using their housing voucher due to discrimination. Open Communities Alliance is working for families looking for more affordable housing and for the rights of voucher holders like Ayesha who seek stability and better opportunities for her children.


Did You Know?

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The shortage of affordable housing leads to rapidly increasing rents, which can affect all renters, including lower income families who get government assistance to rent housing in the private market through programs like the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Over the last several years, the average cost per unit for families like Ayesha's who rely on these government programs has skyrocketed. Legislation like Fair Share Planning and Zoning, proposed in the 2023 legislative session, will create more affordable units and help stabilize the costs of soaring rents. Learn more about HCV programs around the state through the HUD Voucher Data Dashboard.

Upcoming Events!


Speakers: Erin Boggs and Kari Nicewander

The Artists Collective, 1200 Albany Ave, Hartford, CT
Thursday, Nov. 9th 7:00am to 9:00am

From the Greater Hartford Multifaith Prayer Breakfast: "Since 1997, the Greater Hartford Multifaith Prayer Breakfast has reached across religious boundaries to find and celebrate those beliefs we share, to pray for the Greater Hartford community, and to acknowledge together that our diverse communities need the prayerful support of all our religious traditions if we are to realize a healthy urban center.

Our theme for 2023 is affordable housing and the issues associated with a lack of it. We will hear from the leaders of Open Communities Alliance, a statewide nonprofit working to support policies that lead to housing opportunities and choice. Information will also be available from a variety of area groups that focus on that issue. We look forward to seeing everyone at The Artists Collective in the North End of Hartford where there is ample free parking. This year's event will feature coffee plus a delicious breakfast of Middle Eastern foods."

The Just Action Discussion Series

Speakers: Richard Rothstein, Leah Rothstein, and Cashauna Hill

Events in Hartford, New Haven, and Darien
Friday December 1st and Saturday December 2nd

Please join us for a series of conversations about the new book, Just Action: How to Challenge Segregation Enacted Under Color of Law, featuring authors Leah Rothstein and Richard Rothstein, known for his New York Times bestselling book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated AmericaThe Rothsteins will be joined by Cashauna Hill, the Executive Director of the Redress Movement, a new national organization dedicated to counteracting the history of segregation, including through supporting statewide efforts like those of Open Communities Alliance and its partners.

Important Announcement

The Wallingford Housing Authority waiting list open!

Open now and closing November 6th. Faxed or mailed applications will be accepted.

Applications can be obtained in person at 45 Tremper Drive, Wallingford, CT 06492. To request an application by mail or fax, please call 203-269-5173. The fax number is (203) 269-5150 and the email address is [email protected]. Or check out their website: www.wallingfordha.com.


  • Open Communities Alliance
  • 75 Charter Oak Avenue
  • Suite 1-200
  • Hartford, CT 06106
  • Phone: 860-610-6040