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Connecticut Advocates Testify To Make Housing A Right For All

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Fair housing advocates in Connecticut want lawmakers to declare housing a right for all residents of the state.

Danya Keene is director of Yale’s Housing and Health lab. She testified at a public hearing in support of a bill currently in the General Assembly’s Housing Committee. Keene said unfair housing can lead to health problems.

“Housing challenges can affect the management of chronic health conditions, such as Type 2 Diabetes, leading to adverse and very costly outcomes. Participants living in unaffordable housing described having to choose between their medication and their rent. When participants obtained stable housing, they described dramatic improvements in their health,” Keene said.

Datahaven director Mark Abraham also testified in support of the ‘Right to Housing’ bill. He said nearly one in 10 Black and Latinx people in Connecticut say they’ve experienced housing discrimination.

“Thinking about the reasons for that long history of institutional discrimination in the state we need to do everything we can to correct for those wrongs of the past centuries that have led to that disparity that you see,” Abraham said.

Advocates say the bill wouldn’t mandate immediate measures, but could affect eviction, foreclosure and zoning policies that are considered exclusionary.

The most recent annual count found just over 2,900 homeless people in Connecticut as of last year. And nearly two-thirds of Connecticut residents spend at least half their income on housing costs, according to the ACLU of Connecticut.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.