CT DOH official opposed ‘fair share’ housing policy, emails show

Internal emails exchanged among high ranking officials at Connecticut’s Department of Housing last year reveal deep fissures between top Democratic lawmakers and higher-ups in the executive branch on a zoning reform policy idea known as “fair share.”

The back-and-forth between higher-ups at the Department of Housing shows that in 2023, as lawmakers were debating the fair share policy, staff lodged staunch objections to the idea. The emails, obtained by The Connecticut Mirror through a public records request, have left some lawmakers questioning DOH’s commitment to reducing racial and economic housing segregation.

“We continue to oppose the ‘fair share’ concept, which treats affordable housing like a punishment whose pain must be spread out amongst those who are the biggest Transgressors,” says an internal DOH memo sent in one email. “The obligation of the state is to affirmatively further fair housing; not to mandate it.”

To “affirmatively further fair housing” is a term connected to the federal Fair Housing Act, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines as a mandate to the government to go beyond simply not discriminating and take action that ends segregation.

...

Erin Boggs, executive director of the Open Communities Alliance, said Santoro’s email demonstrates a “fundamental misunderstanding” of what it means to affirmatively further fair housing. OCA proposed and has pushed for the fair share concept for years.

“It’s troubling that the concerns raised in the emails are coming from one of the highest-ranking career staff at DOH,” Boggs said. “And most importantly, given the scale of the crisis with the state being one of the worst for renters in the nation, with huge increases in rent levels, being one of the most segregated states in the country, allowing the status quo to continue really just doesn’t rise to the level of solution that we need.”

 

CT DOH official opposed ‘fair share’ housing policy, emails show, Ginny Monk, CT Mirror, June 16, 2024, available here

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