Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 6662

Public Act No. 05-239

AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM REVIEW AND INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE RELATING TO POPULATIONS IN STATE ELDERLY AND DISABLED HOUSING PROJECTS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (Effective from passage) The state agencies charged with providing social services to the elderly and nonelderly disabled populations residing in elderly housing projects under part VI of chapter 128 of the general statutes shall assist housing authorities in identifying and accessing social services offered by such agencies for such persons. The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Department of Mental Retardation and the Department of Social Services shall each develop a plan that details outreach efforts, available services and crisis intervention. Not later than October 1, 2005, each such department shall report a summary of its collaboration efforts with housing authorities to the select committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to housing, and the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Annually, the Department of Economic and Community Development in consultation with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority shall conduct a comprehensive assessment of current and future needs for rental assistance under section 8-119kk of the general statutes for housing projects for the state's elderly and disabled. Not later than April 1, 2006, the results of the first such analysis shall be presented to the select committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to housing, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2005) Not later than July 1, 2006, the Department of Economic and Community Development shall develop and maintain a comprehensive inventory of all assisted housing, as defined in section 8-30g of the general statutes, in the state. The inventory shall identify all existing assisted rental units by type and funding source, and include, but not be limited to, information on tenant eligibility, rents charged, available subsidies, occupancy and vacancy rates, waiting lists and accessibility features. In order to assist the department in the completion of the inventory, all owners of such housing units, both public and private, shall report accessible housing units to the database established and maintained under section 8-119x of the general statutes.

Sec. 4. (Effective from passage) Not later than February 1, 2006, the Department of Economic and Community Development shall submit a report to the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, concerning the progress it has made:

(1) In conjunction with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, revising and updating of the operating manual for state-funded elderly and disabled housing programs, including developing of a policy about and documentation of negative incidents and the creating and maintaining of waiting lists, and including the development of guidelines in consultation with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities for tenant selection and suitability in accordance with all relevant state and federal laws;

(2) In conjunction with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, consulting with the Connecticut housing court specialists and the Connecticut association of housing authorities concerning developing possible training seminars or materials on eviction proceedings for local housing authorities;

(3) Reinstating training for local housing authorities regarding state affirmative fair housing requirements, including, but not limited to, the use, maintenance and selection from waiting lists;

(4) Requiring plans of local housing authorities for safety and security measures to be part of the required management plans submitted annually for review, and encouraging housing authorities to establish rapport with local police departments outlining respective roles and responsibilities in responding to negative incidents;

(5) In consultation with the Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Social Services and Mental Retardation, reassessing the job description and accompanying qualifications for resident service coordinators to reflect the services needed by all groups residing in state-funded elderly and disabled housing and establishing the number of hours and salary rates reflecting the level of skills and qualifications needed to adequately service such housing population;

(6) Enlisting professionals from mental health and other service agencies to train resident service coordinators and housing authority staff to better understand the needs of elderly residents as well as persons with disabilities and related problems; and

(7) Establishing a plan in consultation with the Department of Social Services, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, for the creation and funding of a single state-wide manager position for the resident service coordinator program, who shall, at a minimum, (A) assist in measuring housing authority interest to reopen availability of the resident service coordinator grants, (B) revise the content and format of the existing resident service coordinator reporting requirements, (C) periodically monitor the activities of resident service coordinators through a review of the newly revised reporting instrument, (D) provide technical assistance and guidance to the resident service coordinators in their roles and responsibilities, including, but not limited to, the assessment of resident needs, (E) evaluate the training needs of the currently employed resident service coordinators and arrange ongoing training for all resident service coordinators as needed, (F) act as a liaison between resident service coordinators and the social service agencies to further collaboration efforts as well as develop opportunities for resident education and awareness of disabilities, and (G) prepare and maintain a resource guide, including, but not limited to, identifying contact information and available services from the potential social service agencies across the state.

Approved July 8, 2005