Fair Rent Commission Toolkit (2022): Recent legislation expanded the number of towns that must create fair rent commissions. The Center worked in collaboration with @pschousing, @CTLegal and @MelvilleTrust to create this toolkit for municipalities. If you live in a city that has over 25K people, your municipal government should have a fair rent commission.
Connecticut Eviction Data Mapping(2020): The Center utilized publicly available judicial data to map the number and location (by city or town) of eviction cases filed in Connecticut since 2015. The research tool can be used to search for eviction cases filed over any time-period from January 2015 to the present in any Connecticut city or town and will continue to be updated as new eviction cases are filed each day.
State of CT Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (2015, in partnership with Connecticut Department of Housing): As a recipient of federal housing funding from the U.S. Department of Housing (HUD), the state was required to analyze the impediments to fair housing choice and then take steps to overcome the impediments it identifies. This Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (“AI”) is intended to satisfy this requirement and enable the state to more quickly overcome the barriers to full and equal access to safe, decent, affordable housing in economically vibrant, diverse communities throughout the state.
On April 25th, 2022, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center hosted a virtual viewing of Show me a Hero followed by a panel discussion. Show Me a Hero is a dramatized HBO mini-series based on the United States v. City of Yonkers court case that follows the conflict over segregation in affordable housing in the city of Yonkers in the late 1980’s. The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division brought this case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the City of Yonkers, New York, alleging that the city had intentionally segregated its schools by deliberately concentrating public housing in Southwest Yonkers. The city of Yonkers was then ordered by Judge Leonard B. Sand to remedy the housing portion of its violations by adopting a plan for building up to 1,000 units of low- and moderate-income housing in predominantly white neighborhoods. The responses of the residents of those predominantly white neighborhoods were vehement. This treatment is not new, and unfortunately it continues today. We see racism and fear of families with children and of people with disabilities overwhelm the conversations about affordable housing development. From Yonkers, New York to Connecticut and even across the country, the very mention of ‘affordable housing’ is enough to illicit a harsh response from some. NIMBY or ‘not in my backyard’ describes the phenomenon in which residents of a neighborhood designate a new development (e.g. shelter, affordable housing, group home) or change in occupancy of an existing development as inappropriate or unwanted for their local area. Ideas such as ‘affordable housing brings down property values’ and ‘you can’t take people from one way of life and expect them to adapt to another’ permeate many of the discussions regarding affordable housing construction. These ideas are dangerous and have a negative effect on the type of housing people have access to. The mission of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center is to ensure that all people in the state of Connecticut have equal access to housing, free from discrimination. In our work, we have come to realize that individuals that use housing choice vouchers face some of the highest rates of discrimination. The purpose of this presentation was to bring attention to negative perceptions of individuals that live in public housing to aid in reducing that barrier to fair housing. We also explored the concept of ‘NIMBY-ism’ and how this viewpoint has perpetuated these negative perceptions. We also hoped to empower individuals to organize among themselves and support organizations that are working to promote equity in their communities. We were joined by Lisa Belkin, the author of Show Me A Hero: A Tale of Murder, Suicide, Race, and Redemption’ the book that inspired the series as well as:
Dione Dwyer, President of Resident Council – PT Partners
Anika Singh Lemar, Clinical Professor at Yale Law School
An ode to women of color in fair housing. In celebration of Fair Housing Month, the Center’s education and outreach coordinator, Rashida Rattray, brought to life a presentation to honor the contributions of women of color in the fair housing and civil rights movements. Too often these stories are not told in our history books. Ms. Rattray explains “my pride in being a Black woman is the center of who I am, and I am always trying to highlight that in my work. I want women of color to be able to embrace their Blackness that is too often tokenized and rarely praised. The motivation for me to lift up these stories, and gather women of color, is because in my own upbringing we never see this type of work.” The presentation will highlight fair housing and civil rights leaders of yesterday and today, and we hope to motivate future women of color to join in our fight for housing equity. The fight for fair housing is our fight for racial justice.
Road Map to Reentry: A Connecticut Legal Guide: Developed by Connecticut Legal Services, the Roadmap to Reentry Legal Guide is an essential resource for navigating the legal impact of a criminal record on getting ID, housing, public benefits, and family issues.
Statewide Legal Services (“SLS”): Recommended for those who have already received notice to quit or court documents for eviction, and anyone with benefits issues. You can also call 1-800-453-3320.
Department of Banking: For assistance with security deposit return issues; please note tenants must use certified mail, “return receipt requested”, to provide their forwarding address in order to use this service.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.