For 55 years, the Fair Housing Act, the landmark civil rights law meant to address housing discrimination, has required communities to certify that they are working to reduce government-sponsored segregation. But for decades, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) did little to ensure cities were actually following through.
A new regulation is meant to give that desegregation mandate some teeth. The Biden administration’s housing department proposed a new rule last week that would require virtually all communities across the US to create plans to address local housing discrimination or face a penalty, including the potential loss of billions of dollars in federal funding. Essentially, any city or county that accepts HUD grant money — large and small, rural, urban, and suburban — would have to comply.Read more
Across Connecticut, thousands of government-subsidized affordable housing vouchers have gone unused in recent years, a Hearst Connecticut Media Group investigation found.
Residents who’ve won lotteries for the vouchers, in some cases after waiting years, often find themselves mired in government red-tape and restrictions.
The problem has worsened since the pandemic, with many voucher recipients finding themselves outmatched as they compete in a red hot housing market.Read more
Just days before Christmas, LaResse Harvey received the gift of a lifetime.
After spending two years on a waiting list, she received a call from the Bristol Housing Authority notifying her she had won the lottery for a government-subsidized housing voucher for low-income families. The voucher would cover a significant portion of her rent, allowing her to afford a place ranging from $1,089 to $1,144 per month, depending on the location.
Finally, she’d be able to rid herself of the constant anxiety of how she would come up with enough money for rent each month. She imagined never again being stuck in an unhealthy relationship because she couldn’t afford a place on her own. She was thrilled she would soon not have to sleep on her sister’s couch or in her SUV at highway rest stops.
“I was so excited,” Harvey said. “I go online. I start looking for an apartment.”Read more
Building subsidized low-income housing actually lifts property values in a neighborhood, contradicting NIMBY concerns
Building multiple publicly subsidized low-income housing developments in a neighborhood doesn’t lower the value of other homes in the area – and in fact can even increase their worth, according to a new peer-reviewed study I co-authored.
For the study, we looked at 508 developments financed through the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and built in the Chicago area from 1997 to 2016. We then examined their influence on more than 600,000 nearby residential sales, using data from local property assessments and tax records. We chose Chicago because of its size, well-established neighborhoods, substantial amount of subsidized housing developments, well-documented racial and ethnic segregation, pockets of persistent and concentrated poverty and excellent data coverage. While some readers may have pictures of dilapidated buildings in their minds, the projects we looked at were generally well built and well maintained.Read more
Griswold Hills has 128 units in nine low-rise, well-kept buildings constructed in what is called the “row and garden” style, sort of clusters of row houses. What is somewhat unusual about the complex is not its appearance but its origin — it is a set-aside development, meaning some units are set aside for persons earning less than the median income.
This and many other set-aside developments in Connecticut were aided by a state law known by developers, housing advocates and town officials as “8-30g.”
That is the statutory citation for the state’s Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Procedure, a process created 33 years ago to promote development of affordable housing. The law, which allows developers to override local zoning restrictions, has been highly controversial almost since it passed in 1989. There have been several efforts to abolish it, and there may be one more, depending on the gubernatorial election’s outcome.Read more
White adults are more than twice as likely as Black and Latino households to get sizable financial help from parents or other elders. That's according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dorothy Brown, a tax law professor at Georgetown University, wishes more white families would talk about these intergenerational benefits.
"Because you have Black Americans who are doing everything they were told is right and not getting ahead," she says. "And they're scratching their heads wondering, 'How come I'm not doing better than I am? How come I'm not doing better than the guy in the cubicle next to me?' "Read more
If there’s one lesson to take from the past two legislative cycles, it’s that Connecticut’s suburbs aren’t going to change unless they’re pushed.
In 2021, after weeks of debate, the General Assembly passed a law legalizing accessory dwelling units, otherwise known as granny pods or ADUs, anywhere single-family homes are allowed. These are a separate home on a piece of property, either attached or detached, that are viewed by experts as a good way to improve housing availability without affecting the character of a street. It was seen as a good first step in a much larger problem.
But the law came with an out clause. Communities had two years to opt against allowing the construction of ADUs, and many towns are taking advantage of that option. The result is little change at all.Read more
For poor children, living in an area where people have more friendships that cut across class lines significantly increases how much they earn in adulthood, the new research found.
The study, published Monday in Nature, analyzed the Facebook friendships of 72 million people, amounting to 84 percent of U.S. adults aged 25 to 44.Read more
What is driving inflation?
The most visible sign is gas prices, which are posted in giant numbers outside stations in every corner of the state. It’s easy to see when prices go up because it’s so clearly in your face. Fortunately for drivers, gas prices have dropped significantly in the past few weeks from their early summer highs.Read more
Planning and zoning meetings across Connecticut have been punctuated for decades with public comments to the effect that low-income housing will, should the commission dare allow for the introduction of such housing to their town, lower housing values of incumbent homeowners. The argument might be summarized that low-income housing development, by its very proximity to existing homes, reduces the sale value of this homes, thereby imposing, in effect, an additional property tax on the incumbents.
My analysis of the data demonstrates otherwise.Read more