FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Ann Hodgdon, Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.,
against Docket #FIC 95-304
Director, Windsor Public Housing Authority,
Respondent July 10, 1996
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 21, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. It is found that by letters dated June 27 and August 7, 1995, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with access to a copy of the following records:
a. the criteria for admission to the Millbrook and Shad Run public housing for the elderly (hereinafter "complex" or "complexes");
b. the names and the number of persons on the waiting list for each complex, the date of each application, the size of each unit applied for and the race and color of each applicant; and
c. the name of each person living in each complex, the size of each unit, the number of persons living in each unit, the race and color of each occupant and the number of vacancies currently existing for each complex.
Docket #FIC 95-304 Page 2
3. Having failed to receive access to a copy of the records as described in paragraph 2, above, (hereinafter "requested records"), the complainant, by letter of complaint dated August 30, 1995 and filed with the Commission on September 7, 1995, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying her access to records.
4. At the hearing on this matter, the complainant withdrew the portion of the complaint, as described in paragraph 2a., above, based on the respondent's representation that the record requested had been previously mailed by the respondent to the complainant and that if it had not been received the respondent would provide a copy following the hearing.
5. With respect to the requested records, as described in paragraph 2b. and 2c., above, it is found that the respondent maintains tenant application records which contain information responsive to such requests.
6. It is found that the records, as described in paragraphs 4 and 5, above are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
7. The Commission takes administrative notice of the record and decision in contested case docket #FIC 92-58, Helen Gardner and The Prudential Connecticut Realty v. Executive Director, Hartford Public Housing Authority, (hereinafter "FIC 92-58").
8. In FIC 92-58, the Commission concluded that although the tenants' "Application for Continued Occupany" forms are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S., they are, however, exempt from public disclosure pursuant to 24 Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter IX, 913.109.
9. Section 913.109 of 24 C.F.R. Ch. IX (4-1-95 Edition), provides in relevant part:
As a condition of admission to, or continued occupancy of, any assisted unit under the Public Housing Program, the [Public Housing Authority] ("PHA") shall ... require the Family to submit directly documentation determined to be necessary. Information or documentation shall be determined to be necessary if it is required for purposes of determining or auditing a family's eligibility to receive
Docket #FIC 95-304 Page 3
housing assistance, for determining the family's adjusted income or tenant rent, for verifying related income, or for monitoring compliance with equal opportunity requirements. The use or disclosure of information obtained from a Family or from another source...shall be limited to purposes directly connected with administration of this part or for applying for assistance.
10. Section 8-116a, G.S., provides in relevant part:
The following provisions shall be applicable to housing for elderly persons...(4) each housing authority... shall provide a receipt to each applicant for admission to its housing projects stating the time and date of application and shall maintain a list of such applications, which shall be a public record as defined in section 1-18a and which shall be created, maintained and revised in a manner which the commissioner of housing shall, by regulation, provide....[Emphasis added.]
11. In addition, 8-45-15 of the Connecticut Regulation of State Agencies provides in relevant part:
(a) A waiting list shall be a public record as defined by Section 1-18a, C.G.S.. Every person shall have a right to inspect such lists promptly during regular office or business hours, or to receive a copy of such lists in accordance with the provisions of the state's Freedom of Information Act....
12. It is found that 8-116a, G.S., expressly requires the creation, maintenance and revision of a waiting list and mandates that such list is a public record as defined in the FOI Act.
13. It is also found that nothing in 913.109 of 24 C.F.R. Ch. IX (4-1-95 Edition) addresses or limits the disclosure of a waiting list.
14. It is therefore concluded that 913.109 of 24 C.F.R. Ch. IX (4-1-95 Edition) does not limit the disclosure of the requested waiting list, expressly required to be maintained by the respondent as a public record pursuant to 8-116a, G.S.
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15. However, it is also found that the complainant's request is for more than the waiting list information, required by 8-116a.
16. It is found that the information requested, other than the waiting list information required by 8-116a, G.S., is information which disclosure is limited by 913.109 of 24 C.F.R. Ch. IX (4-1-95 Edition).
17. It is therefore concluded that the information requested, other than the waiting list information required by 8-116a, is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 913.109 of 24 C.F.R. Ch. IX (4-1-95 Edition).
18. It is further concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-19(a), G.S., when it failed to provide the complainant with the information requested, other than the waiting list information required by 8-116a, G.S. However, the respondent violated 1-19(a), when it failed to provide the complainant with the waiting list, required to be maintained pursuant to 8-116a.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent shall immediately provide to the complainant a copy of the waiting list for each complex, required to be maintained pursuant to 8-116a, G.S.
2. If the respondent does not maintain the waiting lists, as described in paragraph 1 of the order, it shall provide the complainant with an affidavit attesting thereto.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 10, 1996.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 95-304
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Ann Hodgdon, Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.
c/o Wilfred Rodriguez, Esq.
1229 Albany Avenue
Hartford, CT 06112
Windsor Public Housing Authority
Shad Run Terrace
40 Henry Street
Hartford, CT 06095
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission