A special Connecticut legislative session in June 2012 established a new state Department of Housing (DOH) as the lead agency for all matters related to housing and the Interagency Council on Affordable Housing to advise and assist in the planning and implementation of the new DOH. A recent report from the Interagency Council on Affordable Housing provides several recommendations regarding:
- Programs to be transferred to the Department of Housing from the Departments of Economic and Community Development, Social Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Office of Policy and Management, and a timeline for implementation;
- Effective changes to the state’s housing delivery systems;
- Prioritization of housing resources; and
- Enhanced coordination among and across housing systems.
The report suggests that there are currently several barriers to effective housing service delivery including lack of convenient centralized access to information, fragmentation of programs and resources, inflexible processes, and a historic lack of funding predictability. The Council also recommends that many of the state’s housing services and funding programs should be folded into DOH, creating one stop for developers and residents seeking services. This would include transferring staff and funding from state Department of Economic and Community Development and several services offered by the Department of Social Services, such as rental assistance and emergency shelters.
As of now, the Council is not recommending that the Department of Housing absorb any of the affordable multifamily housing development programs from the Connecticut Housing Finance Agency (CHFA), which is the organization that administers the state LIHTC allocation process. However, the Council does recommend that DOH should coordinate existing housing resources and programs with internal and external partners including CHFA and should the designated agency to provide leadership and decision-making with regard to implementation of statewide housing priorities.