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Shannon v. Comm'r of Hous.

Supreme Court of Connecticut

February 23, 2016, Argued; August 2, 2016, Officially Released

SC 19562

Opinion

 [**904]   [*193]  ROBINSON, J. The defendant, the Commissioner of Housing,1 administers the state rental assistance program (rental program), which, like the federal program operated pursuant to § 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. § 1437f (section 8 program), provides "rental assistance for low-income families living in privately-owned rental housing." General Statutes (Supp. 2016) § 8-345 (a);2 see also, e.g.,  [**905]  Commission on  [*194]  Human Rights & Opportunities v. Sullivan Associates, 250 Conn. 763, 769-70, 739 A.2d 238 (1999) (discussing section 8 program). In this appeal, we consider whether the defendant may terminate rental program assistance to a registered sex offender who had that status when he was admitted to the rental program prior to the promulgation of § 17b-812-13 (9) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies,3 which makes sex offender  [*195]  registration a ground for termination or denial of rental program  [**906]  assistance. The plaintiff, Francis Shannon, appeals4 from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his administrative appeal from the decision of the defendant to terminate his rental [***5]  program assistance. On appeal, the plaintiff claims, inter alia, that the trial court improperly concluded that the defendant's application of § 17b-812-13 (9) of the regulations was not retroactive and, thus, did not exceed the authority granted to the defendant by the legislature. We conclude that the relevant statutes, regulations, and agency policies demonstrate that the defendant applied § 17b-812-13 (9) of the regulations retroactively by imposing a new obligation on the plaintiff's sex offender status that terminated his rental program assistance, and that the legislature did not authorize such retroactive agency action. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.

The record reveals the following undisputed facts and procedural history. The plaintiff, who has been a registered sex offender since 1997,5 is legally blind and  [*196]   suffers from a variety of serious illnesses. He relies on disability and food stamp benefits for income. In 2008, the plaintiff, who had been living under a bridge, began to receive assistance from Hands on Hartford, Inc., a nonprofit agency, which placed him in a congregate housing setting and later helped him apply for the rental program. In 2009, the Department of Social Services, which administered the rental program at the time, gave the plaintiff a certificate [***10]  admitting him into the rental program, which helped him to live independently in an apartment with supportive services.

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322 Conn. 191 *; 140 A.3d 903 **; 2016 Conn. LEXIS 229 ***

FRANCIS SHANNON v. COMMISSIONER OF HOUSING

Prior History:  [***1] Appeal from a decision by the defendant terminating the plaintiff's state rental assistance benefits, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Britain and tried to the court, Schuman, J.; judgment dismissing the appeal, from which the plaintiff appealed.

Shannon v. Klein, 2014 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3213 (Conn. Super. Ct., Dec. 29, 2014)

Disposition: Reversed; judgment directed.

CORE TERMS

rental, regulations, terminate, retroactive, benefits, trial court, housing, Agencies, eligible, sex offender, certificate, general statute, dwelling unit, assistance program, promulgation, new obligation, quotation, rights, marks, family member, annual, rent, housing authority, Immigration, deportation, recipients, household, registry, sex offender registration, reexamination

Public Health & Welfare Law, Housing & Public Buildings, Low Income Housing, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Effect & Operation, Retrospective Operation, Prospective Operation, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Standard of Review, Agency Rulemaking, Rule Application & Interpretation, General Overview, Rule Interpretation, State & Territorial Governments, Legislatures, Statutory Remedies & Rights, State Proceedings