Connecticut Secures $4.5 Million to Connect Section 8 Residents with Opportunity Neighborhoods

Connecticut’s Department of Housing (DOH) has been granted $4.5 million by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enhance housing options for Section 8 recipients. The funds will be utilized to employ approximately 10 caseworkers tasked with matching Section 8 residents with neighborhoods aligned with their long-term objectives.

DOH Director of Individual and Family Support Programs, Steve DiLella, revealed that the $4.5 million grant would be disbursed in increments of $900,000 over the next five years. The initiative aims to diversify housing choices for Section 8 beneficiaries, empowering them to explore neighborhoods that better align with their aspirations.

While the current Section 8 program allows families to choose homes across various neighborhoods, it has been observed that residents often remain within urban centers. DiLella emphasized that the new program seeks to assist individuals holding housing choice vouchers, particularly those residing in high poverty, low opportunity areas, enabling them to potentially relocate to high opportunity, low poverty neighborhoods.

The housing mobility-related services funding, including the vouchers, focuses on aiding families with children in finding residences within what the state designates as “opportunity neighborhoods.” Connecticut utilizes census tract data to create a state-organized map defining opportunity levels for each neighborhood, typically characterized by low crime rates, distinguished schools, and increased job prospects.

While a similar program already exists in the Hartford area, the newly appointed caseworkers will concentrate on expanding these efforts to Bridgeport and New Haven, aiming to foster community growth and individual success.

Secretary Marcia L. Fudge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development expressed her support for the initiative, stating, “Every parent knows the value of providing a safe and secure place for their child to call home. Stability at home helps promote their future success – in school and onwards.”

This strategic investment is expected to bring about positive changes in the lives of Section 8 residents, contributing to a more equitable distribution of housing opportunities across Connecticut.

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