Appropriately-Funded Market-Responsive DOH-Administered Housing Vouchers
- Fact Sheet
- S.B. 146
- Proposed Language
- Deeper dive into the policy from Open Communities Alliance (coming soon)
- Status: Housing Committee Hearing on 2/20/24; Appropriations Committee Hearing on 2/23/24 to consider funding for the Rental Assistance Program
Tenant-based housing vouchers are a critical tool to help Connecticut meet its housing needs, but they are not working as effectively as they could. Two proposals that would meaningfully improve the vouchers administered by the Department of Housing (DOH) are:
- Ensure DOH tenant-based housing vouchers are market-responsive.
- Provide state funded tenant-based housing vouchers administered by DOH (RAPs) with enough funding to maintain current levels of service and expand by 650 vouchers to help meet the current housing crisis.
What are Tenant-Based Housing Vouchers?
Tenant-based mobile housing vouchers pay for rental costs in the private market beyond what an income-qualifying household (usually 50% of Area Median Income or below) can cover after contributing 30-40% of its income to housing costs.
What are the voucher programs in CT?
Federally funded Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) administered by municipal housing authorities and some municipalities.
- Some of these, especially those in the Hartford region, use the more accurate zip code-level voucher values.
- Others use less-accurate regional voucher values.
Federally funded HCVs administered by DOH. (Zip code level voucher values required by HUD in the Hartford region).
State-funded Rental Assistance Program (RAP) certificates administered by DOH.
Challenges with State Vouchers
Challenge 1: DOH voucher values do not meet market rents in many parts of the state. This contributes to:
- Return of vouchers that cannot be used.
- Long search periods for voucher families in unstable housing situations.
- Segregation and lack of choices because vouchers only reach a limited number of areas.
- Increased rates of homelessness when vouchers are challenging to use.
- Solidify a current law that applies to the RAP program, requiring that it be run in a manner that provides access to all areas of the state by adding a requirement for an annual assessment of rental market values.
- Extend that obligation to DOH’s administration of other voucher programs, such as the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, within each program’s existing parameters.
Challenge 2: Stabilize RAP & expand it to help meet the current housing challenges.
- As rent in CT increases, the same money helps fewer people, effectively shrinking the RAP program.
- The current housing crisis in CT means more people need affordable housing than ever.
- $8M investment to stabilize RAP at existing levels/keep existing vouchers in circulation.
- Additional $8M to expand RAP to serve additional families in this time of housing crisis.