Press Release: Proposed Temporary Rental Assistance Program Reinforces Segregation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 16, 2020

Contact: Connecticut Fair Housing Center: Erin Kemple, (860) 263-0723

Proposed Temporary Rental Assistance Program Reinforces Segregation

On Tuesday, June 16, 2020 the Staff of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center sent a letter to the Governor’s office urging this administration to implement a robust and anti-racist rent relief program. In our letter to the Governor, Center staff explain that an anti-racist rental assistance program would: 1) be broad-based and easy to access; 2) prohibit evictions for non-payment of rent; 3) mandate landlord participation; and, 4) provide tenant protections such as extended tenancies, rent stabilization, and mandated safe and sanitary properties.

Hundreds of years of government sponsored policies, neglect, and inaction against explicit racism has built and maintained hyper-segregation in Connecticut. As a result, Black people, and other People of Color are locked into under-resourced neighborhoods. This legacy shapes the pandemic-related housing crisis we have today. This crisis demands an anti-racist response that will protect Black and Latino/a renters who are being disproportionately impacted because of this history. The response must not widen an ever-expanding racial wealth gap or further perpetuate segregation.

Today, Connecticut maintains barriers to integration through exclusionary zoning that limits affordable housing, concentrates poverty through placement of subsidized housing, and thinly veiled racism that restricts housing options for people of color. In Connecticut 60.5% of Black families and 65.8% of Latino families rent their homes compared to only 23.9% of white families. In addition, nearly 60% of Black renters and 55% of Latino renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent compared to 43% of white renters. Without a robust and anti-racist rental relief program, evictions will disproportionately affect People of Color and permanently impact their ability to access secure, safe housing.

We requested that the State commit at least 10% of Coronavirus Relief Funds to start such a program, as opposed to the less than 1% currently allocated, and that this effort must be just the first step in centering race in the forefront of every economic policy decision to create a desegregated Connecticut. We believe Connecticut is capable of acting with wisdom and courage to respond effectively to this crisis and meet the needs of Connecticut’s families. Failure to do so will ratify past racist policies that lead to the current racial inequity and reinforce their lingering malignant effects.

Center, DOH hosting forums to present study on Mixed Populations in Housing

Myth vs. Reality: Mixed Populations in State-Funded Elderly/Disabled Housing, presenting a study by CT Fair Housing and the CT Department of Housing. Join us at upcoming forums in East Haven, Hartford, and Darien. Click on slider to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2017, the CT State Legislature requested a study of state-funded housing complexes that provide housing to both elderly tenants and younger tenants with disabilities.  The Center is partnering with the Connecticut Department of Housing to host three community forums around the state to present the findings of this study, separate myth from reality, identify best practices for handling areas of conflict, and discuss recommendations to ensure that state-funded elderly/disabled housing is available to all those who need it.

Join us at a forum near you:

East Haven
Tuesday, December 4th, 1-3pm at Hagaman Memorial Library (DeMayo Room) 227 Main Street, East Haven.  Limited parking is available in the library lot; additional parking is available on the street or in the adjacent Stop n’ Shop lot (please follow all signage).

Hartford
Thursday, December 6th, 10am-12pm at the Legislative Office Building – Hearing Room 1B

Darien
Friday, December 7th, 1-3pm – Darien Library (Louise Parker Berry Community Room), 1441 Post Road, Darien

Copies of the report will be distributed at each forum.  There will be time set aside for public comment at each event.  All locations are accessible.  Light refreshments will be provided in East Haven and Darien.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

Read Full Report: A Study of Tenants in State-Funded Elderly/Disabled Housing  
View Report Appendices

2017 Annual Report Now Available

Cover of the 2017 Annual Report; woman standing in front of car, smiling with arms crossed.We are proud to share the Center’s 2017 Annual Report.  Thanks to your support, last year we continued our work to provide legal help to thousands of individuals facing housing discrimination and home foreclosure statewide while expanding our work to expose systemic discrimination and unfair practices in Connecticut’s housing markets.

In 2017, we processed nearly 1,200 calls from Connecticut residents reporting housing discrimination, facing home foreclosure, or dealing with related issues.  In this report, you’ll meet just a few of the clients we helped – clients like Rosa, who was denied housing when she was nine months pregnant because a landlord refused to accept her voucher, or Sheila, Don, and Sheri, whose housing providers refused to make reasonable accommodations for their disabilities, or Carolyn and Tim, whose mortgage servicer botched their loan modification and wrongly placed their home into foreclosure.

In addition to assisting individual clients, we continued our work to investigate and expose systemic fair housing and lending issues in Connecticut.  In September, we published the findings of an 18-month investigation into how zoning policies and the marketing and tenant selection policies of affordable housing providers contribute to segregation in the greater Hartford region.  We also concluded a research project on lending discrimination in the state, which found that many people of color continue to experience differential treatment when compared to whites when applying for mortgage loans.

We also continued our statewide education and outreach work to ensure that residents, community organizations, housing professionals, policymakers and others understand their rights and obligations under the fair housing laws.  In 2017, we directly trained nearly 1,000 people on the fair housing laws and distributed over 12,000 copies of our educational brochures, guides, reports, and other materials across the state.

We hope you will take a few minutes to read through our 2017 Annual Report and learn more about our accomplishments last year.   This work would not have been possible without your support.  Thank you.

To stay up-to-date on our work throughout the year, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@ctfairhousing) and sign up for our email list (scroll down to the bottom of this page for the sign-up form!).  Want to support the Center’s work in 2018 and beyond?  Please donate here.

Download the 2017 Annual Report here.

 

 

Community Research on Eviction

Trinity College’s new Liberal Arts Action Lab at 10 Constitution Plaza, Hartford.  Photo retrieved from: http://commons.trincoll.edu/action-lab/transportation/

Research shows that people of color, women, and families with children are disproportionately impacted by eviction.  The Center’s Staff Attorney Salmun Kazerounian and Education & Outreach Coordinator Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens are working with students from Trinity College and Capital Community College at the Liberal Arts Action Lab to investigate the effects of eviction on residents of the greater Hartford area.

Inspired by the book Evicted by Matthew Desmond, the Center hopes to develop a greater understanding of who is most affected by eviction and how Connecticut families cope after an eviction.

Facing Eviction or Need Housing in Connecticut?

Connecticut Legal Services

Connecticut 2-1-1

 

Additional Research on Eviction:

Evicting Children

Eviction and the Reproduction of Urban Poverty, by Matthew Desmond

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