Housing Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-157

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING ADEQUATE AND SAFE HOUSING FOR THE ELDERLY AND YOUNGER PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES.

Vote Date:

3/8/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/23/2016

File No.:

261

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Housing Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Within elderly public housing, both elderly and disabled populations are permitted to share a complex. Unfortunately, individual lifestyle and economic differences have created friction between the groups. This bill seeks to conduct a study of elderly public housing and recommend suggestions to remediate any current situations.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

The substitute language requires the Commissioner of the Department of Housing to collect data on three different housing projects in three different municipalities (Enfield, Hartford, and New Haven).

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Evonne Klein, Commissioner, State of Connecticut Department of Housing; opposes the bill because it would be a financial burden on the Department as well as other state agencies. She does not have a problem with the concept of the intent of the bill.

Julia Evans Starr, Executive Director, Connecticut's Legislative Commission on Aging; support the bill to conduct a study on public housing for elderly/disabled individuals. She suggest considering the 2004 recommendations from a study conducted by the Program Review and Investigation Committee.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

John Rumberger, Vice President, Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; strongly supports the bill to preserve elderly housing throughout the State of Connecticut and requested being a part of the study.

Mag Morelli, President, Leading Age Connecticut; submitted testimony in support of the bill. There is an increasing need for affordable housing with long-term services for both elderly/disabled populations. The bill will provide an assessment to guide future affordable housing developments.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Marcia DuFore, Executive Director, North Central Regional Mental Health Board; opposes the bill. The intent of this study, to displace and exclude people with disabilities, goes against their rights as a protected class.

Daniela Giordano, Policy Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness; opposes the bill because the study could exclude low-income renters with mental health disorders, ultimately displacing them. There is a need for affordable housing and these tenants may be at risk for chronic homelessness.

Kathleen Flaherty, Executive Director, Connecticut Legal Project; opposes the bill which could fundamentally violate tenants' rights which are protected under state and federal law. She believes the bill has a worthy purpose but opposes any move to separate or segregate the people.

Raphael Podolsky, Attorney, Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut; opposes the bill. Since 1961, state law has provided elderly public housing for both elderly and disabled people. “It is hard to justify any plan that would restrict access to elderly/disabled public housing.” The resident coordinator program was created to help resolve on-site issues and have helped relieve tension among residents of public housing.

Reported by: Vincent Camilli

Date: 03/30/2016