Housing advocates discuss Connecticut’s eviction crisis, call for legislative action

Back • Publication Date: October 18, 2023 • Fiscal & Economics, Health & Housing

Housing advocates are concerned about Connecticut’s looming eviction crisis — and hope to urge the state General Assembly to take action when the new session starts in February.

Advocates, research experts and journalists gathered virtually in a panel on Monday to discuss the persisting challenges of eviction in Connecticut. Hosted by the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, the event was organized following a report by Connecticut Voices for Children covering the eviction crisis in the state.

Chelsea Ross, executive director of the Partnership for Strong Communities, an advocacy group for equitable housing in Connecticut, said eviction filings are rising, impacting more households.

“There are about 476,000 renter households in Connecticut,” she said. “There have been approximately 21,000 eviction filings in the past year, and roughly 1,900 eviction filings in the past month. So you’re looking at close to 5% of all renter households who have faced an eviction filing in the last year.”

The state’s eviction rates are also higher than they have been in past years. In a statement, the New Haven Legal Assistance Association said eviction numbers from 2022 have been the highest since 2017. Additional data shows that Connecticut households, in general, are more likely to be burdened by housing costs than the average U.S. household.

The panel also discussed who is most affected by the rise in rent as well as evictions.

Samaila Adelaiye, research and policy fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children, shared that Black and Hispanic communities rent more than any other group. And they’re disproportionately at risk of losing their home.

“Of those who are not current on rent, about 38.8% of renters felt that eviction was likely or imminent,” Adelaiye said. “But for Hispanic renters, it was about 56.5% and 54.2% for Black renters. So it’s worse for Black and Brown households.”

The report by Connecticut Voices for Children recommends lawmakers both bolster the development of affordable housing, as well as promote housing security and stability. The panel acknowledged how much representation renters hold in the legislature, noting the long history of landlords holding strong lobbying positions.

“There is a problem with the overrepresentation of property owners’ rights in the legislative process.” shared Elizabeth Rosenthal, who is the deputy director at New Haven Legal Assistance Association. They advocated for a more formal lobbying group on the part of tenants, citing recent tenant unions as a potential starting point to achieve more formal organization in the legislature.

Connecticut Mirror housing reporter Ginny Monk also joined Ross, Adelaiye and Rosenthal as a panel member.

Authors: Eda Uzunlar •  Source: WSHU • View