Expanded Housing Authority Jurisdiction - 2021

Expanded Housing Authority Jurisdiction

Housing authorities in Connecticut play an important role in building mixed income housing, locating government subsidies tied to a particular property, and administering mobile housing vouchers used in the general housing market. All of these functions are limited by a state law that requires housing authorities to operate only within the borders of the towns where they are established. Elsewhere in the country, housing authorities operate on a countywide or regional basis, which allows them to offer a wider range of housing choices to their clients, something that is required by the Fair Housing Act.

In August of 2020, Open Communities Alliance filed an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asserting that Connecticut's rule limiting the area in which housing authorities can operate violates the Fair Housing Act because it perpetuates segregation and has a negative disparate impact on Black and Latino housing authority clients. To partially address this complaint, OCA recommends that Connecticut adopt the following changes by amending HB 6430:

  • Expanded Housing Authority Jurisdiction
    • Expand housing authority jurisdiction for all municipal housing authorities to higher opportunity areas 30 miles from each town’s border.
    • Ensure this new jurisdiction does not apply to existing housing authority rights to eminent domain and the creation of a police force, which would remain powers only within the housing authority’s municipal borders.
  • Remediation Measures. Because CT's current law has limited where housing authorities can operate for 72 years, some remediation measures are necessary. These should include:

    • More fully funding the state’s mobility counseling program at a level that serves 2.5% of voucher holders across the state annually and serves vouchers administered by the state and any municipal housing authority.
    • Ensure voucher values are set at levels that allow access to all municipalities in the state.
    • Provide housing authorities with financial support for one year to offset any higher rent levels or extra expenses associated with larger geographic coverage.
    • Provide technical assistance, facilitation, and training to housing authorities to allow successful implementation.

Relevant Bill: HB 6430

Recommended Amended Language for HB 6430

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