What We Do

Open Communities Alliance aims to confront Connecticut's long history of segregation, which has resulted in unequal access to opportunity, through improved housing policy.

Why does this matter?

Access to opportunity affects education, employment, income, health (both physical and mental), incarceration, and life outcomes generally. Because place matters so much to the resources available to each of us and because certain groups live in areas that have limited access to a range of opportunities, OCA focuses on four solutions through a variety of strategies. All of our work is undertaken with a deep understanding of how life outcomes are shaped by place.

Strategies

  1. Organizing & Outreach: OCA utilizes both suburban and urban outreach campaigns to educate and empower residents to take an active part in tackling segregation in Connecticut.

  2. Advocacy: Administrative (mobility counseling, QAP) and Legislative (policy priorities)

  3. Research & Analysis: OCA focuses on creative solutions to housing segregation through research on the status of segregation in Connecticut, analysis and mapping of opportunity, and development of Fair Share calculations for every town.

  4. Zoning: Pursue innovative affordable housing development (Woodbridge)

  5. Civil Rights Litigation: OCA v. Carson, others (new cases?)

Solutions

  1. Supporting Housing Choice: OCA strives to support and expand access to affordable housing outside of lower opportunity areas including through support of mobility counseling, which links people to housing options, and fair housing education and enforcement resources.  OCA creates access to opportunity housing.

  2. Balancing Housing Subsidy Placement:  At both the state and federal level housing policy limits the placement of affordable and subsidized housing outside of lower opportunity areas.  Because Blacks and Latinos, on average, have lower incomes than Whites, they have a disproportionate need for such housing, but the options available to them are overwhelmingly located in lower opportunity areas.  At the same time, lower opportunity areas need targeted non-housing and strategic housing investments. OCA works to promote policies that bring balance to the location of subsidized housing.

  3. Promoting Fair Share Housing: Currently, 139 out of 169 Connecticut towns do not have 10% affordable housing as defined by state law.  OCA works to change state and municipal structures that prevent opportunity housing from being created in thriving areas, including through innovative approaches to zoning and planning that fairly allocates affordable housing among towns.  At the same time, the Alliance promotes policies that ensure that housing policy does not generate poverty concentration.  OCA advocates for fair share opportunity housing.

  4. Advocating for More Resources for Struggling Areas:  We work with partners to identify innovative approaches to revitalize under-resourced areas while providing housing choice and protecting affordability.  OCA partners to help under-resourced areas.
  • Open Communities Alliance
  • 75 Charter Oak Avenue
  • Suite 1-200
  • Hartford, CT 06106
  • Phone: 860-610-6040