Governor Lamont Announces Reopening of Residential Renters Assistance Program Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
This article was published on: 11/5/20 1:27 PM by Mike Minarsky
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno today announced that the State of Connecticut is opening a second round of funding under the Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP) to applicants seeking assistance with residential rent payments delayed by financial stress related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In this round, the program will for the first time accept applications directly from small landlords.
TRHAP provides landlords with up to $4,000 in rental assistance on behalf of approved tenants. During the first round, more than $2.2 million in residential rent relief was distributed to landlords on behalf of 826 households. The program had been paused for intake late in the summer after receiving overwhelming interest and demand.
Governor Lamont has allocated $40 million of federal CARES Act money to the program, which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Housing in cooperation with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) and 11 housing counseling agencies across the state. In addition to the $40 million TRHAP, the Lamont administration is supporting tenants, landlords, and homeowners by providing mortgage relief to homeowners ($10 million), supporting renters who were facing eviction before the pandemic ($5 million), rehousing people exiting homelessness or incarceration ($5.8 million), and supporting renters excluded from federal assistance because of their or their loved ones’ immigration status ($2.5 million). The administration also worked with municipalities to provide real property owners additional time to file their semiannual property taxes and with local financial institutions to provide mortgage forbearance.
“Ensuring access to safe and secure housing is a critical public health component of controlling the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and the need for financial relief on behalf of both tenants and landlords is significant,” Governor Lamont said. “This pandemic has caused widespread housing concerns in all corners of our country, which is why I have been stressing to federal officials that we need to expand this type of assistance even further. Stable housing is a vital component of getting our economy moving again, ensuring access to school, and protecting the health of our neighborhoods.”
In September, Governor Lamont directed several administrative changes to be made with the program that will expedite payments to those in need. The Department of Housing has worked with CHFA and the housing counseling agencies to streamline the application process, increase the number of staff processing applications, and create a web platform to accept applications from renters.
“The implementation of the programmatic redesign has allowed to increase our processing time and get assistance to individuals and families faster,” Commissioner Mosquera-Bruno said. “We have reached out to stakeholders and municipalities with new information explaining the changes to the program and the intake reopening. We are asking landlords and tenants to continue to work collaboratively so that tenants can remain housed and landlords can stay above water financially.”
To apply for TRHAP, visit the Department of Housing’s website at ct.gov/doh. The website includes a status lookup tool providing applicants with information on the status of their application. It is updated once per week, and applicants must provide an email address with their unique ID to look up their status. In addition, an applicant’s record must be accepted in order for there to be a unique ID assignment and a valid status.