ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
June 11, 2020
As thousands of Connecticut residents continue to protest the killing of George Floyd, police brutality, and racial injustice across the state, they remind us that racialized violence and injustice continue to be deep-seated problems in Connecticut too. Over the last few years, racial justice activists have called for accountability and justice in cases of police violence against Black people and other people of color in numerous Connecticut cities and towns, including Bridgeport, Hamden, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, New London, West Haven, Waterbury, and Wethersfield.
As a fair housing organization, the Center is witness to the racial inequality and injustice perpetuated through discriminatory housing policies and practices in our state. Connecticut continues to be highly racially and economically segregated, with the vast majority of non-white Connecticut residents living in our under-resourced cities, where policing and incarceration rates are disproportionately high. At the same time, eviction rates in our cities are among the highest in the nation, and hundreds of mostly Black people and other people of color have been displaced due to atrocious housing conditions and lack of safe and affordable housing. We join other civil rights activists and advocates across the state in calling for Connecticut to prioritize housing, education, and healthcare, NOT policing and prisons.
Important Deadline: There is no extension for paying June rent. If you did not pay April rent, that is due in June also.
Call to Action: Tenants in Connecticut are calling on Governor Lamont to stop all evictions indefinitely and cancel the obligation to pay rent. 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. For more information on tenants’ demands and to sign the petition, click here. To participate in the daily actions on Mondays and Wednesday, click here.
Public Official Outreach: Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at Shussain@ctfairhousing.org
What happened since June 4, 2020:
Connecticut creates a rental assistance program for tenants
The Connecticut Department of Housing is in the process of creating a $10 million program that will assist tenants with income at 80% of AMI in 2019 who were unable to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The details of the program are still being worked out. For more information, click here
Suspension of the use of executions in completed cases
The Connecticut Judicial Branch has issued an order stopping the issuance of executions in eviction and foreclosure cases through August 1. The Governor’s moratorium on filing new evictions is still expected to expire on July 1 meaning new notices to quit could be served and new eviction cases can be filed in July if not otherwise barred by the federal CARES Act. The Branch also extended law days to August 4, and sale dates to August 25. And the Branch lifted the suspension of most appellate-related deadlines. To read the Judicial Branch’s orders, click here.
Mortgage delinquencies continue to rise
The mortgage delinquency rate experienced its single biggest monthly increase on record from April to March, more than triple the previous high. Early indications are that, while many homeowners with forbearance plans actually made their April payment, far fewer did so in May. This means that the delinquency rate will likely rise again when May’s numbers are released. For more on this story, click here.
Racial wealth gap widening as the result of COVID-19
Recent Census data reviewed by the Urban Institute reveals that the racial wealth gap in widening as the result of COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, people of color and low-income families were facing crushing housing cost burdens and housing instability stemming in large part from structural racism. Because Black and Latino people have been hardest hit by the pandemic and the stay at home orders, it is estimated that the wealth gap between whites and people of color will continue to grow. For more on this story, click here.
Courant editorial on segregation
In response to recent protests over police brutality and systemic racism, the Hartford Courant published an editorial acknowledging Connecticut’s residential segregation and the role this plays in maintaining disparities in income, educational achievement, and living conditions. To read the editorial, click here. To read the Center’s response, click here.
Zoning reform can help promote integration
Zoning expert Sara Bronin met virtually with more than 150 lawyers, planners, and architects to begin a discussion of how to reform land use in Connecticut as part of a strategy to promote residential integration. To read more about the meeting and plans for the future, click here.
Pandemic and George Floyd killing result in call to action by legislative leaders
Connecticut legislators have called for a special session to address the reforms that will address the issues raised by recent protests regarding police brutality and systemic racism. The fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on people of color is also a reason for the General Assembly to act quickly. To read more, click here.
Governor Lamont agrees to call a special session but only if the Governor and the Legislature agree on legislation
The Governor agreed to call a special session of the legislature but only if there was an agreement on allowing voters to use absentee ballots and legislation to address police accountability. To read the Governor’s letter to the General Assembly, click here.
The William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund believes that
Black Lives Matter
The Connecticut-based William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund challenged its peers to act swiftly and consistently to put racial justice at the center of their philanthropy. To read the statement, 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. (Our guidance is 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 weekly update fill out the form
More 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.
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