Governor Lamont Announces Launch of Fund to Assist Renters From Being Evicted From Homes Due To Overdue Rent

From: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont
January 27, 2023

Hartford, CT – Governor Ned Lamont and Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno on Jan 26th, announced that the Connecticut Department of Housing is launching a new fund to assist renters who are on the verge of being evicted from their homes due to owing past due rent. Utilizing $12.5 million in funding from UniteCT and the Rent Bank, the Eviction Prevention Fund will provide households with up to $5,000 to pay off past due rent with their current landlord.

To apply, tenants must call the UniteCT Call Center at 1-844-864-8328 and be screened for eligibility. Eligible applicants will receive direct assistance from a local UniteCT Resource Center, where they will complete the application. If a tenant requires but does not have legal representation, access to mediators at Quinnipiac University’s Center on Dispute Resolution will be provided.

Governor Lamont said, “This fund will enable renters who have been struggling with back rent to remain in their homes while providing payments to landlords on their behalf. I encourage anyone who is in need of assistance to reach out and see if they are eligible.”

Commissioner Mosquera-Bruno said, “In our many efforts to mitigate the growing number of evictions, we are establishing this fund to continue to assist our renters that face financial hardship. With these resources, we expect to assist individuals and families to remain housed, while also providing landlords with some financial relief.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “This critical program, supported largely through federal funding, will help ensure that renters can stay in their homes as they deal with financial hardships. Connecticut families are struggling to meet historically high costs for rent and utilities. As evictions surge in Connecticut, this is an opportunity for some real relief. I encourage all those in need of assistance to apply.”

Senator Chris Murphy said, “Housing in our state is too expensive, and UniteCT has been a lifeline for thousands of families at risk of losing their homes. Thanks to federal funding, the Eviction Prevention Fund will make a big difference for thousands of renters facing financial hardships and sky-high rents. But Connecticut has a serious housing shortage, and we need to start building more affordable houses and apartments to lower costs.”

U.S. Representative John Larson (CT-01) said, “The rental assistance Congress passed in the American Rescue Plan was critical to keeping people in their homes at the height of the pandemic, including nearly 50,000 households right here in our state. I am thrilled to join Governor Lamont, Commissioner Mosquera-Bruno, and the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation to announce this new federally-funded program to continue protecting tenants from eviction while also ensuring landlords can pay their bills.”

U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02) said, “People nationwide are facing historically high costs for rent right now, and it’s good to see that the support we voted to provide through the American Rescue Plan is still being used to help families in Connecticut remain in their homes, and make ends meet while they work to overcome financial difficulties. This is about helping some of our most vulnerable neighbors keep a roof over their head and giving them the financial breathing room they need to get back on their feet without compounding the problem through the loss of housing. I was proud to vote for this critical support in the American Rescue Plan, and my office will be ready to help anyone in eastern Connecticut who is interested to apply for the assistance.”

U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) said, “Working families all across Connecticut are trying to make ends meet – they deserve a safety net that can help keep them in their home, and that is exactly what this new fund to assist renters does. This is an investment that will make a real difference for families who are just trying to keep a roof over their head. This fund gives them the stability and support services they need to get back on their feet. I will keep fighting to improve families’ access to affordable housing and ensure that our most vulnerable have a safe and secure place to call home.”

U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-04) said, “This funding, which Congress passed in the American Rescue Plan, will help keep many Connecticut families in their homes. Housing is already unaffordable in Connecticut, and we need to do all we can to keep people from being put on the street.”

U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes (CT-05) said, “Housing-related costs are overwhelming Connecticut families, leaving them without enough to cover basic living expenses. Having a place to call home should not be so far out of reach that it bankrupts families. I have helped to secure federal dollars for the Eviction Prevention Fund, which will help ensure more families are stable in their homes while also providing overdue payments to landlords. I have been resolute in my efforts to make housing more affordable and accessible for all and will continue to advocate on this issue in Congress.”

Giovanna Shay, litigation and advocacy director for Greater Hartford Legal Aid, said, “We are glad that the state is making more resources available for tenants facing eviction, particularly in this very tight housing market when so many families are facing housing insecurity.”

Launched in early 2021, UniteCT has served as the state’s premier program providing rent and utility assistance for households financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. UniteCT has been funded by several streams of emergency allocations released by Congress, including from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act. It provides qualified households with payments for up to 12 months of rental and electric arrearage assistance. Payments are typically made by the state directly to landlords and utility companies on behalf of tenants. To date, UniteCT has provided assistance to more than 11,300 landlords on behalf of 47,939 households that received nearly $330 million dollars in back rent, 95% of whom earn below 50% of their town’s area median income. Among those households, roughly 1,100 tenants had active eviction proceedings within the court system, and the UniteCT assistance helped the tenant remain housed and prevent the eviction.

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