Where Should a Poor Family Live?

Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times, Aug. 5, 2015, available here

If its goal is to move up the ladder, where should a poor family live? Should federal dollars go toward affordable housing within high-poverty neighborhoods, or should subsidies be used to move residents of impoverished communities into more upscale – and more resistant — sections of cities and suburbs with better schools and job opportunities?


A Year After Ferguson, Housing Segregation Defies Tools to Erase It

John Eligon, New York Times, Aug. 8, 2015, available here

Questions about whether minorities have access to good jobs, high-performing schools and low-crime neighborhoods have been fiercely debated. And for many, one question informs all those others: Can the barriers that keep blacks out of prosperous, mostly white communities be toppled?


Editorial: Open Communities Alliance – A New Advocate for Integration

Connecticut Law Tribune, May 29, 2014

Connecticut is racially, ethnically, and economically segregated. This segregation hurts us all because it keeps people of color, who on average earn about half of whites, from equal access to critical resources like good schools. We also know that the effect of unequal access to those resources that lead to success in life is generational – if parents do not have access to opportunity, it increases the likelihood that their children will be "stuck in place," as recent research by sociologist Patrick Sharkey of New York University demonstrates. It is good to know we now have a strong advocate for improving access to affordable housing in areas where it is needed.

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Will HUD Punish the Land of the Haves and the Have Nots?

Terry Cowgill, CT New Junkie, June 24, 2015, available here

As longtime observers can tell you, Connecticut can be slow to respond to commands from on-high. Whether it’s the court-ordered Sheff vs. O’Neill decision to end “racial isolation” in the state’s public schools or the federal Fair Housing Act — both well intentioned, to be sure — we independent-minded Yankees don’t especially like being told what to do.

But now the Obama administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development is taking the FHA one step further, unveiling something called the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. You heard right. It’s not an “act” duly voted into law by a legislature, as the FHA was, but a set of rules handed down by unelected policymakers in the FHA office.

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Affordable Housing, Racial Isolation


On June 29, 2015, one of Open Communities Alliance's innovative strategies for addressing Connecticut's entrenched segregation was featured on the New York Times' editorial page.  Check it out!


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Connecticut activist: Deck stacked against minorities

Nancy Chapman, Nancy on Norwalk, May 2015

NORWALK, Conn. – Connecticut is excelling in unpleasant ways – it’s one of the most racially, ethnically and economically segregated states in the country, according to a fair housing advocate who visited Norwalk this week.

The biggest education achievement gap in America and high incarceration rates are connected to rampant segregation, Open Communities Alliance Executive Director Erin Boggs said at Part II of the Norwalk Fair Housing Advisory Commission’s “Race, Place and Opportunity” presentation, given Tuesday in City Hall. Boggs offered solutions, including suggesting “carrot and stick” measures to encourage richer – whiter – communities to provide housing for those who are less fortunate.

“We need to make sure every town in an area is taking on a fair share of families that need help,”Boggs said.

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Causal Effects of Neighborhoods

Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, Harvard University, May 2015

"How can we improve economic opportunities for low-income children? The Equality of Opportunity Project uses “big data” to develop new answers to this question. The previous phase of the project presented statistics on how upward mobility varies across areas of the U.S. and over time. In the current phase, we focus on families who moved across areas to study how neighborhoods affect upward mobility. We find that every year of exposure to a better environment improves a child’s chances of success, both in a national quasi-experimental study of five million families and in a re-analysis of the Moving to Opportunity Experiment. We use the new methodology and data to present estimates of the causal effect of each county in America on upward mobility."

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The Opportunity-Race Gap in Connecticut


April 20, 2015

HARTFORD, CT – The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, and Open Communities Alliance, this week released an updated analysis of access to “opportunity” in Connecticut.  The analysis, which maps neighborhood conditions and access to opportunity by census tract using 12 indicators across five opportunity levels, provides Connecticut communities and policymakers with critical data on local resources. 

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Why Mapping 'Opportunity' Matters

You probably have an intuitive sense that there are differences between neighborhoods — but it is often hard to discern exactly what those differences are.

It is crucial, however, to define these differences through data because 50 years of social science research shows that where we live matters greatly. It is connected to outcomes as fundamental as how long a person lives, whether a young child’s brain develops optimally, and whether children can attend fully resourced schools.

Click here to read the full article!


Upcoming Event: Mobility Panel Discussion

On April 23rd, Open Communities Alliance will be taking part in a panel discussion on mobility counseling and how it can be used to access thriving communities, featuring national mobility expert Jennifer O’Neil.  The panel discussion will be part of a conference on fair housing, sponsored by the Fair Housing Association of Connecticut.  Details are available here.


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