OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6138 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING RESIDENCE MOBILITY COUNSELING FOR SUBSIDIZED HOUSING.

SUMMARY:

This bill establishes a statutory requirement that the Department of Housing (DOH) create a residence mobility counseling program to help certain individuals or families relocate to higher opportunity areas. In practice, DOH operates a mobility counseling program through three nonprofit contractors (see BACKGROUND).

The bill defines “opportunity areas” as those that are designated as such using opportunity mapping analysis. The analysis must include a census tract level assessment of educational, economic, and neighborhood characteristics, including education data and crime rates. The bill does not specify what entity must perform the analysis.

Under the bill, DOH (1) must operate the program within existing resources, (2) may contract with nonprofit organizations to provide the counseling, and (3) must make the opportunity mapping analysis available on its website. Eligible individuals and families are those who currently hold federal Housing Choice (Section 8) vouchers or state Rental Assistance Program (RAP) certificates. The counseling, education, and support services must at least:

1. provide information on communities, schools, employment opportunities, and services in various areas;

2. help locate rental housing that meets the individual's or family's needs;

3. facilitate relocation by negotiating with (a) current landlords about transferring rental assistance certificates or vouchers, and (b) new landlords about security deposits, rental payments, and accepting certificates or vouchers; and

4. act as a liaison between the individual or family and the landlord to ensure a successful transition and housing stability.

The bill requires DOH to include information on the mobility counseling program in its annual report to the legislature and governor. By law, the report is due by March 31.

*House Amendment “A” requires that the program help individuals and families relocate to higher opportunity areas, rather than from high poverty to low poverty areas.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

BACKGROUND

DOH currently operates a mobility counseling program through three nonprofit contractors. The program provides mobility counseling, including tenant education and housing search assistance, to income-eligible families participating in the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program, RAP, and the Transitionary Rental Assistance Program. Services help clients move out of areas of concentrated poverty.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Housing Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

13

Nay

0

(03/11/2015)