Connecticut's pilot housing program for families with young children is expanding

A first-in-the-nation program that connects families with young children to affordable housing in Connecticut is growing.

The Head Start on Housing program is administering an additional 35 state-funded housing vouchers for low-income families enrolled in Head Start, a federally funded preschool program that promotes school readiness for children up to age 5.

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Housing is a human right

In 1944 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the U.S. had a “Second Bill of Rights”, including the right to a decent home. It wasn’t for another four years that the right to adequate housing was accepted under the Human Rights Law (as part of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Yet leaders in this country continue to treat housing as a commodity rather than a necessity. When we acknowledge housing as a human right, we can begin to commit funding to address the affordability crisis.

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As affordable housing deadline approaches, Connecticut towns’ response a mix of pushback and innovation — and one allegation of perpetuating segregation

Facing a state-mandated deadline of Wednesday, Connecticut communities this spring have been wrapping up work on their official plans to provide more affordable housing — even though many caution that the state’s goal isn’t practical.

As of May 23, fewer than 50 of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities had filed plans, according to the state Office of Policy and Management.

Although the state wants each community to have at least 10% of its housing qualify as affordable, the most common theme in the various housing plans is that conditions vary widely from one town to another.

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Why advocates say CT is experiencing ‘housing crisis’

Advocates believe Connecticut is in the midst of a housing crisis. They say the cost of housing at all levels is pricing out renters and potential owners who only a short time ago could afford their homes.

People are forced to move, these advocates say, because the apartment they could afford two years ago has now become far too expensive. For the first time in years, this has increased housing instability and homelessness in Connecticut.

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Families Stranded As Rental Vouchers Expire

After a four-year desperate search for a ticket out of an abusive household, Ella received one in the form a housing rental-voucher. She shed tears of relief — until she tried to find a landlord who would agree to accept it.

Ella’s story reflects a broader challenge for a growing number of low-income tenants lucky enough to make it through long waitlists to obtain a federal Section 8 rental subsidy: Translating the subsidy into an actual home, because of landlords reluctant to participate in the program in a tight housing market.

The number of vouchers that expire before they can be used has shot up over the past two years.

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Connecticut needs more affordable housing. 8-30g is a law that works

...more than 30 years ago, the General Assembly recognized that steps should be taken to lead towns to recognize that they had a responsibility to make housing affordable to essential workers, senior citizens, and a wide variety of others with diverse incomes.

In 1989, it passed a law that works: the Affordable Housing Appeals Procedure (better known by its statutory citation as “8-30g”). It’s one of the state’s most important zoning laws and is a key statute in inducing suburban towns to comply with their long-standing obligations under the state’s Zoning Enabling Act, which requires town zoning regulations to “promote housing choice and economic diversity in housing, including housing for both low and moderate income households.” It has spurred the approval and construction of workforce housing that would not have otherwise occurred.

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Using the Moving to Opportunity Experiment to Investigate the Long-Term Impact of Neighborhoods on Healthcare Use by Specific Clinical Conditions and Type of Service

We performed a secondary analysis of the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) social experiment to investigate the impact of different types of housing assistance and neighborhood environments on long-term patterns of healthcare use for specific conditions and across different types of healthcare services. MTO participants, who were randomized at baseline, were linked to up to 21 years’ worth of all-payer hospital discharge and Medicaid data. Among the 9,170 children at the time of randomization, those who received a voucher had subsequent hospital admissions rates that were 36% lower for asthma and 30% lower for mental health disorders compared with the control group; rates of psychiatric services, outpatient hospital services, clinic services, and durable medical equipment were also lower among the voucher groups.

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Zoning, Housing Regulation, And America’s Racial Inequality

The Biden White House has been publicizing America’s new Juneteenth federal holiday, celebrating the end of Black slavery and the ongoing struggle for real Black independence and equality. One of the White House’s announcements may have puzzled some people: “Exclusionary Zoning: Its Effect on Racial Discrimination in the Housing Market.”

Zoning? We might understand protecting and expanding voting rights, fighting employment discrimination, or attacking white supremacist organizations (all of which the Administration is doing.). But why highlight housing and zoning policy?

Biden’s people know what they’re talking about. America’s housing and zoning policies are riddled with systemic racism. And that continuing racism feeds long-term and ongoing negative impacts on Black incomes, wealth, and equality. Whites are much more likely to inherit wealth than Blacks, and much of that inherited wealth comes from housing equity.

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No children allowed. Are wealthy CT towns building elderly housing to keep out poor families?

“We kind of held the place together for a long time with duct tape and bubble gum,” said Doug Denes, who served on the board of the Branford Housing Authority for more than two decades, including as chairman, until 2019.

Attempts over the past nine years to raze and replace the three deteriorating buildings have all failed, however, because of local opposition to the housing authority’s plan to lift the age restriction for the complex. Instead of housing 39 older residents, the new complex would accommodate 126 people of all ages, including families.

Some residents and elected officials in Branford, an affluent shoreline town near New Haven, have reacted with hostility to the plan, saying it would spoil the character of the community and attract undesirable people.

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CT’s civil rights enforcement agency: segregation has ‘particularly deadly effect’ amid pandemic

The Connecticut watchdog agency tasked with enforcing the state’s anti-discrimination laws on Monday will lay out the role segregation is playing to disproportionately kill Black and Latino residents during the pandemic.

“Connecticut is one of the most racially segregated states in the nation,” is how the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities begins its 51-page report. “Segregation born of zoning policies has had a particularly deadly effect during the COVID-19 pandemic. … The effects of segregation cannot only be measured in municipal demographics or statistics of income inequality, but in lives lost.”

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  • Open Communities Alliance
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  • Hartford, CT 06106
  • Phone: 860-610-6040