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History of Milford Redevelopment & Housing Partnership

Reading a Book

The history of the Milford Redevelopment and Housing Partnership, the legal housing authority in Milford, goes back to November 22, 1948.  On that date, the City of Milford Board of Alderman passed a Resolution giving birth to the Milford Redevelopment and Housing Partnership.


The federal government in 1937 passed the Housing Act and helped paved the way to decide that there is a need for safe, decent sanitary housing in America.


The State of Connecticut still financially operates more on an older model that was initially pioneered by the federal government. To operate state housing, a Public Housing Authority needs to have residents pay enough in rent to pay for reasonable costs.


The present federal housing model took shape in 1969, when a US Senator from Massachusetts, Sen. Edward Brooke, said that there was too much reliance on poor people paying out-of-pocket rent to operate public housing. So, in 1969, Congress voted and adopted the Brooke Amendment. Basically, it said that a person would pay 25% of their adjusted gross income for housing.  By 1974 Congressional and industry leaders agreed that public housing needed to be financially subsided to make up a shortfall in revenues and Congress authorized the federal government to subsidize public housing. Currently, federal law requires persons to pay 30% of the adjusted gross income to cover their portion of the monthly rent.  Congress increased the amount of money persons needed to pay for rent in 1981 by raising the percentage of their income for rent from 25% to 30%. 


 The Brooke Amendment to the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 (named for former Massachusetts Senator and NLIHC Board Chair Edward Brooke [R-MA]) currently limits a public housing household's monthly rent and utility payments to 30% of adjusted income.


What is the difference between Section 8 HCV Housing and Public Housing?

The primary difference is that Public Housing is owned and operated by an entity. In this case, Milford Redevelopment and Housing Partnership, while the Section 8 Program relies on a private sector property owner that operates the rental property.  A Public Housing Authority collaborates with property owners and subsidizes the rent by paying with restrictions a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) to the property owner on behalf of the tenant.


 The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program (commonly known as Section 8) provides financial assistance to extremely and very low-income individuals and families to enable them to afford safe, decent, and sanitary housing in the private rental housing market. 



On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which was meant as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1968 Act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap, and family status. Title VIII of the Act is also known as the Fair Housing Act (of 1968).

The enactment of the federal Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968 came only after a long and difficult journey. From 1966-1967, Congress regularly considered the fair housing bill but failed to garner a strong enough majority for its passage. However, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson utilized this national tragedy to urge for the bill's speedy Congressional approval. Since the 1966 open housing marches in Chicago, Dr. King's name had been strongly associated with the fair housing legislation. President Johnson viewed the Act as a fitting memorial to the man's life work and wished to have the Act passed prior to Dr. King's funeral in Atlanta.

Another significant issue during this time was the growing casualty list from Vietnam. The deaths in Vietnam fell heaviest upon young, poor African American and Hispanic infantry soldiers. However, on the home front, these men's families could not purchase or rent homes in certain residential developments on account of their race or national origin. Specialized organizations like the NAACP, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the GI Forum, and the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing lobbied hard for the Senate to pass the Fair Housing Act and remedy this inequity. Senators Edward Brooke and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts argued deeply for the passage of this legislation. Senator Brooke, the first African American ever elected to the Senate by popular vote, spoke personally of his return from World War II and inability to provide a home of his choice for his new family because of his race.

With the cities rioting after Dr. King's assassination and destruction mounting in every part of the United States, the words of President Johnson and Congressional leaders rang the Bell of Reason for the House of Representatives, who subsequently passed the Fair Housing Act. Without debate, the Senate followed the House in its passage of the Act, which President Johnson then signed into law.

The power to appoint the first officials administering the Act fell upon President Johnson's successor, Richard Nixon. President Nixon tapped then Governor of Michigan, George Romney, for the post of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. While serving as Governor, Secretary Romney had successfully campaigned for ratification of a state constitutional provision that prohibited discrimination in housing. President Nixon also appointed Samuel Simmons as the first Assistant Secretary for Equal Housing Opportunity.

When April 1969 arrived, HUD could not wait to celebrate the Act's 1st Anniversary. Within that inaugural year, HUD completed the Title VIII Field Operations Handbook and instituted a formalized complaint process. In a truly festive fashion, HUD hosted a gala event in the Grand Ballroom of New York's Plaza Hotel. From across the nation, advocates and politicians shared in this marvelous evening, including one of the organizations that started it all -- the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing.

In subsequent years, the tradition of celebrating Fair Housing Month grew larger and larger. Governors began to issue proclamations that designated April as "Fair Housing Month," and schools across the country sponsored poster and essay contests that focused on fair housing issues. Regional winners from these contests often enjoyed trips to Washington, DC for events with HUD and their Congressional representatives.

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