On Tuesday, US Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and US Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, participated in a press conference calling on Congress to immediately vote on a bill to improve housing standards and strengthen both inspections and oversight at the US Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Murphy secured increased HUD oversight of project-based, multi-family properties and directed HUD to improve housing inspection standards in the FY2017 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) Appropriations bill that the Senate Appropriations Committee passed on April 21, 2016. DeLauro is pushing for these protections in the House version of the bill.
“There is nothing more fundamental to leading an independent life than having a roof over your head and a safe place to call home,” said Murphy.
Senator Murphy’s requests came after discovering that HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) – the HUD office that regularly assesses both the physical and financial health of properties, including Church Street South in New Haven, that are owned, insured or subsidized by HUD – didn’t adequately assess hazards such as black mold, asbestos, lead, and bed bugs.
Because of this, housing complexes in New Haven suffered from widely variable and inaccurate inspections by HUD, leading to unacceptable delays in assistance for residents.
Last month, Murphy personally raised the issue in a hearing with U.S. HUD Secretary Julián Castro, asking to ensure proper weight is given to environmental hazards such as black mold, lead hazards, and bed bugs, and to make REAC more responsive to local residents.
Following Murphy’s request, Castro committed to assist the former residents of Church Street South and to work to increase access to affordable housing for Connecticut residents.