Housing Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-156

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

Vote Date:

3/8/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/23/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Housing Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Although the Department of Housing collects information on the population it serves, the data is not easily assessable.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

The substitute language requires the Department of Housing to prepare an annual fair housing report in consultation with other state agencies that must include (1) a list of state and federal subsidized housing developments, (2) results from a housing needs assessment by income levels, and (3) annual geographic targets based on opportunity areas.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Evonne Klein, Commissioner, State of Connecticut Department of Housing; opposes the bill because it adds additional responsibilities without an increase in staff. The bill would have a negative impact on the Department's ability to accomplish goals such as ending chronic homelessness.

Alok Bhatt, Legislative Analyst, State of Connecticut Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission; supports the bill because it would enable Asian Pacific American communities to equally access affordable housing through outreach and education.

Orlando Rodriguez, Associate Analyst, State of Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission; supports the bill because he believes the Department should have enough professional staff and data software to analyze results.

Carolyn Treiss, Executive Director, State of Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women; supports the bill because it is difficult to know where affordable housing is located without a comprehensive list. Most of the data are in low opportunity areas whereas there is little or no data in high opportunity areas.

Julia Evans Starr, Executive Director, State of Connecticut Legislative Commission on Aging; supports the bill because it streamlines the data collection obligations of the Department of Housing. Connecticut is aging and has the seventh oldest population in the nation. Collecting this data is important for towns to plan for their increasing aging communities.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Martha Ferson, Student, Open Communities Alliance; supports the bill because it provides transparency and modernization by streamlining the process for collecting Connecticut housing data to be in compliance with federal and state law.

David McGuire, Policy Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); testified in support of the bill. ACLU has concerns with the lack of housing opportunities for those in need of subsidized and affordable housing. There is no comprehensive or central source to retrieve data.

Erin Boggs, Executive Director, Open Communities Alliance; testified in support of the bill. Although some progress has been made, historically, the State has created and perpetuated poverty concentration in low opportunity areas.

Raphael Podolsky, Attorney, Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut; supports the bill with recommendations. The Department of Housing needs more data availability to reach its goals of promotion fair housing. He suggest that DOH is required to gather data and produce written reports rather than promulgating regulations which will accomplish these goals.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None stated

Reported by: Vincent Camilli

Date: 03/23/2016