March 13, 2020
I am continually struck by the strength of our community, our partners, and the impact of your generosity. I’m writing today to personally thank you for your support and to share a few updates about the opportunity you’re making possible.
Through your support, OCA is working to create greater housing choices for low-income families of color, particularly families who rely on government-subsidized housing options. We do this through educating communities and government stakeholders throughout the state about our own history of segregation and concrete solutions that can be put in place today. We directly assist families with government housing subsidies seeking to move to thriving communities while partnering with organizations focused on revitalizing areas that have taken the brunt of disinvestment. We also advocate and, when necessary, litigate as we did in our successful 2018 case against the Trump administration, OCA v. Carson, to ensure that government systems do not perpetuate segregation. At the core of it all, our mission is to ensure that all families have genuine choices in where they live.
Over the past year, we have focused our efforts around a cluster of anchor projects to provide the framework to advance our organization's mission and goals. This approach allowed us to focus our limited staff and resources on initiatives with the best return on investment and work to establish a record of success that built on small-scale pilot projects in a few, geographically representative cities or towns that could be replicated and/or “scaled-up” by OCA or other collaborating organizations.
Some of these critical projects included:
• Advancing an ambitious policy agenda focused on breaking down policies that reinforce segregation.
• Launching Version 1.0 (beta) of our Connecticut Opportunity Data Portal, an innovative tool that looks at neighborhood resources and outcomes such as school performance, poverty concentration, safety and more. Final version coming soon!
• Continuing our efforts to create a pilot healthy housing voucher program empowering low-income families with children experiencing asthma due to neighborhood health conditions to access communities of their choice likely to produce improved health outcomes.
• Reaching out to higher opportunity suburban communities to dispel myths about affordable housing development.
• Hosting a series of events to continue our outreach and education on zoning issues around the state.
• Partnering with Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization to raise awareness about exclusionary zoning throughout the state.
• Working directly with residents and community groups in disenfranchised communities to broaden housing choices and fight unacceptable housing conditions.
• Continuing to implement our client-based assistance and systemic impact advocacy and litigation strategy.
· And so much more!
Although Connecticut remains one of the most racially and economically segregated states in the country, we will continue to demand equal access to opportunity—regardless of race, ethnicity or income. Your steadfast support and enthusiasm is felt every day as we tackle the challenges at hand, as we work together to empower low-income families to build pathways to greater economic opportunity and to counteract our history of segregation.
Over the rest of 2020, we will continue to assess our strategic plan and our efforts to make sure we’re on the best possible path forward, and I’ll be in touch regularly to report on our progress. Our commitment is to continue to develop strategies, policies and legal precedents that will contribute to promoting housing choice and integration nationwide.
I’m so thankful to all of the dedicated people around me, and for your partnership in our work and mission delivery. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email at [email protected].
Erin Boggs, Esq.