Addressing Racial and Economic Inequities through Rental Assistance Funding

Sean Ghio, Policy Director, Partnership for Strong Communities

The Current Landscape
Connecticut is facing a pressing issue – over 119,000 renter households are severely cost-burdened, allocating more than half of their income to housing costs. This alarming statistic represents an increase of 3,000 households since 2020. Disturbingly, more than half of these severely cost-burdened households are Black and Latino renters, comprising 31% of all Black and Latino renters.

The Role of Rental Assistance Program (RAP)
Connecticut’s Rental Assistance Program (RAP) plays a crucial role in supporting very low-income households. Similar to the federally funded Housing Choice Voucher Program, RAP subsidizes a portion of rent, adjusting with changes in household income to maintain affordability. Currently serving around 6,500 households, RAP faces challenges as rents have surged by 20% since 2021, potentially leading to a deficit in fiscal year 2025.

The Funding Gap
To address the rising demand and maintain the existing number of housing vouchers, an additional $8 million appropriation is urgently needed. This would bring the total additional funding to $16 million, enabling RAP to provide an additional 650 low-income families with a housing voucher and, consequently, a stable home.

The Impact of Housing Vouchers
Research consistently highlights the positive impact of housing vouchers. They improve health and educational outcomes, reduce homelessness, poverty, and racial disparities. Investing in RAP is not just about housing; it’s a commitment to creating healthier, more equitable communities.

Call to Action
We urge the legislature to support additional funding for RAP in the Housing/Homeless Services line item. Allocating an additional $16 million to the rental assistance program is an investment in the well-being and stability of Connecticut families.

Together, we can work towards a more inclusive and secure housing landscape.

The above blog post is taken from oral testimony given by Sean Ghio at the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus Forum on January 16th, 2024.

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