In 2021, we recommended the follow measures to promote integrated housing choices:
(1) Support Measures that Ensure an Equitable Response COVID-19. These include measures to halt an eviction and foreclosure tsunami, equitable COVID-19 testing and tracing and culturally competent vaccination administration. It is likely that much of the advocacy needed here will occur through the Governor's office.
(2) Adopt Fair Share Planning and Zoning. In accordance with existing law, including the federal and state Fair Housing Acts, the state Zoning Enabling Act (CGS Sec. 8-2), municipal Plan and Conservation and Development obligations under CGS Sec. 8-23, and the state constitutional anti-segregation clause (Article First, Section 20), adopting a state and municipal planning regime that ensures proper implementation of longstanding zoning obligations by directing the state and towns to plan for and implement strategies to ensure that affordable housing is available in every town in the state on a fair share basis - meaning every town zones to allow enough affordable housing to meet its appropriate share of the regional need.
Relevant Bill: HR 6611
(3) Expand the Jurisdiction of Housing Authorities. As the result of a state law, housing authorities cannot develop housing beyond their town borders and typically lose money if they help a voucher holder interested in moving out of the housing authority's jurisdiction (i.e. its town). This prevents housing authorities from becoming full partners in affirmatively furthering fair housing and limits choices for voucher families interested in moving to higher opportunity areas. OCA's has filed an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development challenging this state law. Expanding the jurisdiction of housing authorities housing authority jurisdiction expansion bill would change that.
Relevant Bill: HB 6430
(4) Open Choice Vouchers. Open Choice Vouchers would empower income-qualifying families already participating in the Open Choice School desegregation program to move to the community where their children attend school or a similar community. Once a family moves to their new community, their Open Choice school desegregation program seat would become available to a new family.
Relevant Bill: Raised Bill 6436
(5) Housing Discrimination Against Justice Impacted Persons. This is not a bill OCA had a hand in developing, but it seeks to address the serious issues of landlord’s using old and irrelevant criminal records to reject potential tenants.
Relevant Bill: Raised Bill 6431
(6) Investments in Lower-Resourced Communities. A foundational cornerstone to Open Communities Alliance's theory of change is that investments be made in opportunity-isolated communities to support equitable revitalization and avoid involuntary displacement. These investments should include supporting proven strategies to promote economic and community development, equitable school funding that recognizes disparate needs across communities, equalizing property tax burdens across the state, and promoting small and "minority" businesses.