Justice delayed for CT residents facing housing discrimination, records show

The Democratic-controlled Connecticut legislature for years has declined to pass any major reforms that would make it easier for the thousands of voucher recipients to use them, instead opting to pass what House Majority Leader Jason Rojas calls “painfully incremental” bills.

Potential help from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is also moving at a snail’s pace.

Around the same time Serrano was discovering that the federal Housing Choice Voucher wasn't going to provide him much of a choice about where to live because of what he calls “government red tape,” civil rights attorneys filed a housing discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against the state housing department and the governor. At issue is a state law that gives control of the overwhelming majority of the 33,000 federal choice vouchers used in Connecticut to local housing authorities, who limit where and how housing vouchers can be used.

“The notion that, except in very limited circumstances, (public housing authorities) cannot make affordable housing opportunities available to Black and Latino families unless white municipalities consent to their presence is a fundamental affront to the very principles and goals of the Fair Housing Act,” the complaint filed by the Open Communities Alliance reads. The law “maintains and perpetuates segregated housing patterns in Connecticut.”

Almost four years have passed since that complaint was filed — and the investigation has yet to be completed. Public records obtained by CT Insider show the last records the state shared with the federal government surrounding this case date back to early 2021.

This, despite the federal Fair Housing Act, which mandates the agency complete housing discrimination investigations within 100 days “unless it is impracticable to do so.”

That 100 days passed in December 2020.

 

Justice delayed for CT residents facing housing discrimination, records show, Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, New Haven Register, May 18, 2024, available here

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