ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
May 12, 2020
Call to Action: Connecticut just received more than $11,439,547 in CARES Act funding. Call Governor Lamont at 860-566-4840 or tweet @govnedlamont #savetherent and ask that this money be used for the Rental Market Stabilization Fund to help tenants stay in their homes. To get more information about the Rental Market Stabilization Fund, click here.
Call to Action: Tenants in Connecticut are calling on Governor Lamont to stop all evictions indefinitely and cancel the obligation to pay rent. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown, over 50% of renters across the state were cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Connecticut leads the nation in income inequality, and this burden is disproportionately shouldered by Black and brown communities: nearly 60% of Black renters and 55% of Hispanic renters are cost-burdened compared to 43% of white renters. For more information on the tenants’ demands and to sign the petition, click here. To participate in the daily actions on Mondays and Wednesday, click here.
Important Deadlines: Tenants who did not pay May rent were supposed to notify their landlords in writing by May 10, 2020 that they can’t pay rent due to full or partial unemployment, or significant loss in revenue or increase in expenses due to the pandemic to get a 60-day extension to pay the rent.
If you did not send a letter by May 10, you should still use the letter and text templates to request rental payment extension from your landlord, click here.
Resources for tenants and homeowners:
- Click here to understand current tenant rent relief options in Spanish and English.
- Click here to find more details in our tenant FAQ.
- Click here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
- Click here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Recently added Tagalog and Khmer translations to our guidance now available in 11 languages.)
- Need to have your subsidized rent recalculated due to income loss? The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
- To sign up for our daily update fill out the form
What happened on May 11, 2020:
- Immigrant communities and communities of color frustrated at the lack of testing: People living in low-income communities that are majority people of color continue to face barriers to virus testing and other services. There are only a handful of walk-up testing sites in the state which prohibits those without cars from getting tested. Most of the community health centers in these neighborhoods do not have the supplies needed to expand testing. People living in inner-city neighborhoods also warn that communication about the disease and how to get assistance has been confusing, that financial support for those who have lost their jobs has been sluggish, and that hunger is now a real threat for many blacks and Latinos living in poverty-stricken areas. For more information on the hurdles faced by communities of color,
- The Cities We Need: The New York Times Editorial Board published an opinion piece that echoes many of the issues that the Center has seen in its work over the past 26 years and that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. As the Editorial Board states: “Our cities are broken because affluent Americans have been segregating themselves from the poor, and our best hope for building a fairer, stronger nation is to break down those barriers . . . But to realize the potential of cities, we need to change the harsh reality that the neighborhoods into which Americans are born delimit their prospects in life: their chances of graduating from high school, of earning a decent living, of surviving into old age.” The Center’s policies and practices include efforts to both ensure that there is adequate affordable housing in cities as well as in the non-urban areas. For more information on the Center’s work to both promote integration and prevent discrimination, go its website at ctfairhousing.org.
- Mortgages in forbearance continue to grow: The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that, as of the week ended May 3, 7.91% of all active mortgages – more than 1:13 – are in forbearance. Nearly 11% of all FHA/VA mortgages are in forbearance. These totals are expected to increase when as homeowners make new requests for forbearance as May’s mortgage payments come due. For more information on this story, click here.
- Outreach: Staff attorney will join the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence on Wednesday, May 20 from 1:45-2:45 for a Facebook Live discussion on current housing issues facing survivors of domestic violence. We will post details on how to join the training on Thursday, May 14..
- Outreach: Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 housing resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Shaznene Hussain, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at Shussain@ctfairhousing.org
Still needed to ensure housing stability:
- Help for tenants who cannot pay their rent.
- Payments to landlords to allow them to maintain their buildings and continue to provide housing.
- Bar on mortgage companies filing foreclosure complaints. More than 700 have been filed since the Governor declared a public health and civil preparedness emergency, including several that are banned by the agreement banks and credit unions struck with the Governor and the Department of Banking.
- Municipalities need to comply with Executive Order 7S and make it easy for their constituents to participate in either a tax deferral or reduced interest program.
More external COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER (@CTFAIRHOUSING) FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.