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Governor Lamont Increases Funding for Housing Assistance Programs, Extends Eviction Moratorium To October 1

This article was published on: 08/21/20 2:40 PM by Mike Minarsky

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is doubling funding for the previously announced rental assistance program for Connecticut residents impacted by COVID-19 from $10 million to $20 million. That program, which is funded by the Coronavirus Relief Fund that is managed by the Office of Policy and Management, provides payments to landlords on behalf of approved tenant applicants, is administered by the Connecticut Department of Housing in partnership with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) and 11 housing counseling agencies across the state.

Interested tenants can learn more on the department’s website or by calling 1-860-785-3111 during regular business hours.

The additional $10 million brings the total amount of state funding for renters, homeowners, and residential landlords impacted by COVID-19 up to $43.3 million. In addition to the $20 million rental assistance program, that funding provides mortgage relief to homeowners ($10 million), supports renters who were facing eviction before the pandemic ($5 million), rehouses people exiting homelessness or incarceration ($5.8 million), and supports renters excluded from federal assistance because of their or their loved ones’ immigration status ($2.5 million). Connecticut’s large cities also received $10 million under the CARES Act Emergency Solution Grants program to prevent homelessness and support homeless populations.

All housing assistance programs administered through the state and through CHFA include housing counseling to help renters and homeowners solve problems and develop plans to pay housing costs going forward. The Wells Fargo Foundation awarded CHFA a $500,000 grant to support these efforts to stabilize housing for Connecticut residents. The foundation’s generosity will assist the housing counseling agencies in paying for expenses and building capacity to manage demand for their assistance.

In addition, Governor Lamont announced that he will soon sign an executive order that will extend to October 1 the residential eviction moratorium protecting tenants who were current on their rent at the beginning of the pandemic. That extension will bring this important measure to protect public health in line with neighboring states’ and provide the federal government additional time to deliver much-needed assistance to renters and homeowners. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently extended protections for tenants in homes with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Authority through the end of the year.

“Supporting renters and landlords during this public health crisis is critical to controlling the spread of COVID-19,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “I’m trying to get people back to work and children back to school, and having a home you can call your own is a critical foundation for making that happen. Tenants who can pay their rent on time should do so, and landlords and tenants should work together to develop reasonable payment plans for these extraordinary circumstances. Speaking of working together, it is past time for the Senate Republicans in Washington to stop cruelly ignoring the pain American families are facing and start supporting the eviction protections and $100 billion emergency assistance programs the House voted out months ago.”

“This increase reflects Governor Lamont’s commitment to help those families that have been affected by the pandemic and are in need of financial assistance to pay their rents,” Connecticut Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said. “I am thrilled with the partnership we have forged with the Wells Fargo Foundation to provide financial assistance to the housing counseling agencies.”

“Keeping families in their homes is critical during the pandemic,” Nandini Natarajan, chief executive officer of CHFA, said. “The additional funding from the state, along with the support of the Wells Fargo Foundation, will allow us to assist more individuals and families by providing the educational tools to help them regain their financial stability.”

“During this unprecedented time, far too many people are struggling financially and facing housing instability in Connecticut,” Eileen Fitzgerald, head of housing affordability philanthropy for Wells Fargo, said. “This grant for the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority will expand access to relief programs by engaging local housing counseling agencies to work toward keeping more Connecticut residents housed who are facing financial challenges as a result of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.”

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