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!

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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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The Legacy of Racial Covenants

racial_covenants.jpgNo persons of any race other than the white race shall use or occupy any building or any lot, except that this covenant shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of a different race domiciled with an owner or tenant.  Racial Covenant, West Hartford 1940 (provided by Professor Jack Dougherty of Trinity College in On the Line).


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Segregated Schools = Unequal Educational Opportunities = Need for Housing Choices!

A new report released this week by CT Voices for Children finds that Connecticut schools are deeply segregated and schools with greater minority and low-income populations are less likely to have funding to provide critical learning resources like small class sizes and experienced teachers.

The report identifies segregated housing patterns as a major contributing factor to such educational disparities.

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OCA and Partnership Highlight Mobility Counseling to Address Segregation

Learn more about Mobility Counseling - A Strategy that Works to Create Access to Opportunity

Join us!  Wednesday, January 28th at 9:00 (coffee & conversation @ 8:30) at the Lyceum, 227 Lawrence Street, Hartford, CT 06106 

Register Now!


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