House of Representatives
File No. 874
January Session, 2015
(Reprint of File No. 278)
As Amended by House Amendment
Approved by the Legislative Commissioner
May 21, 2015
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2015) (a) The Department of Housing shall, within existing resources of the department, establish a residence mobility counseling program to assist individuals or families in relocating their residences to higher opportunity areas through education and support services. The commissioner may contract with one or more nonprofit corporations to provide such residence mobility counseling. Individuals and families eligible for the residence mobility counseling program shall currently have a certificate or voucher from either: (1) The federal Housing and Urban Development Section 8 program, or (2) the state rental assistance program. For purposes of this subsection, "opportunity areas" means those areas designated as such using opportunity mapping analysis that includes census tract level assessment of educational, economic and neighborhood characteristics, including education data and crime rates. The Department of Housing shall make such opportunity mapping analysis available on the Internet web site of the Department of Housing.
(b) Counseling provided pursuant to this section shall include, but need not be limited to, (1) providing information regarding communities, schools, employment opportunities and community services available in various areas, (2) assisting with locating rental housing that meets the individual's or family's needs, (3) facilitating a relocation by negotiating with the current landlord about the transfer of rental assistance certificates or vouchers, and with the new landlord about security deposits, rental payments and acceptance of rental assistance certificates or vouchers, and (4) acting as a liaison between the individual or family and the landlord to encourage a successful transition and housing stability.
(c) Annually, the Commissioner of Housing shall submit a report on the program to the General Assembly, in accordance with section 8-37qqq of the general statutes.
This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:
October 1, 2015
The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.
OFA Fiscal Note
The bill has no fiscal impact by requiring the Department of Housing (DOH) to create a residence mobility counseling program. The Department currently provides residential mobility counseling services through contracts with nonprofit corporations. The bill therefore conforms to current practice and has no fiscal impact.
The bill also requires DOH to provide the underlying data that derive opportunity areas on their website. It is anticipated that DOH can provide this data on the web at no additional cost.
House “A” alters the original bill by (1) requiring DOH to assist individuals in relocating to opportunity areas as defined by the amendment, rather than from high poverty to low poverty areas and (2) providing the underlying data that derive opportunity areas on their website. This has no fiscal impact.
The Out Years
OLR Bill Analysis
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
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.