ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

October 15, 2020

Connecticut Eviction Moratorium Extended through December 31, 2020:  Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9E extending the Connecticut eviction moratorium for some tenants.

  • What Executive Order 9E does: 
  • Prohibits the service of a Notice to Quit or a Summary Process complaint through December 31 for some tenants;
  • Requires landlords to serve a CDC declaration in both English and Spanish with any Notice to Quit permitted by EO 9E;
  • Mandates that once a landlord or a landlord’s attorney receives a CDC declaration, the landlord must immediately cease all action to evict through December 31;
  • Requires that any notice to quit or summary process complaint for a rent arrearage equal to or greater than six months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020 must state the amount of the rent arrearage, the months for which rent was unpaid, and the amount unpaid for each of those months;
  • What Executive Order 9E does NOT do:
  • It does not prohibit the service of a notice to quit or summary process complaint if the tenant a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; b) owes six or more months of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020; c) has created a serious nuisance; or c) has a lease that expired and the landlord wants to use the unit as their primary residence;
  • It does not stop the courts from holding court proceedings or issuing judgments in cases where the landlord has not received a CDC declaration and the case was either filed before the Connecticut moratorium began, or qualifies as an exception under the Connecticut moratorium, and
  • It does not stop the courts from issuing executions in cases where the landlord has not received a CDC declaration.

What should landlords do?

If a landlord or a landlord’s attorney receives a CDC declaration, EO 9E requires that they immediately cease all action to evict through December 31.

What should tenants do?

Tenants may not be covered by the Connecticut moratorium for various reasons, including that (1) they owe rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020, (2) they owe six or more months of rent due on or after March 1, 2020, and (3) they have a lease that expired and the landlord wants to use the unit as their primary residence. If these tenants cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills, they may still qualify for the CDC moratorium. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is NOT automatic.

Tenants should begin by carefully reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If every person over 18 in the household meets the qualifications, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give each declaration to the landlord. Information about the declaration and how to create one are also available in Spanish. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available here.

If a tenant receives notice that their landlord has requested the issuance of an execution and a remote hearing has been scheduled, tenants must attend the remote hearing either by video or phone, even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. The notice to the tenant about the request for the execution should also include an email address where the tenant can get answers to questions regarding remote hearings.

If a tenant has not filed an Appearance or Answer in their eviction case, the tenant should do so immediately. Courts have lifted the suspension on deadlines to file these papers and have begun entering Default Judgments. Learn more about the eviction court process here.

Landlords have filed motions for default in 184 cases since September 14: In addition, motions for default were pending in more than 2,000 cases. “Pending” means no action has been taken on the motion.

Landlords have requested more than 125 executions since September 1: The executions requested beginning on September 1 are in addition to the 725 requests filed since March 1 which are still awaiting hearing. If an execution has been requested by a landlord in a case involving nonpayment, the tenants are supposed to receive notice from court staff which provides instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing about the execution and applicability of the CDC moratorium either by video or phone. Executions in other types of cases are being signed without providing tenants with the opportunity for a hearing.

We have heard the following problems with remote hearings and court access: 

  • Tenants do not know how to install the “Teams” app used for remote hearings;
  • Tenants do not have enough space on their phones to download the Teams app;
  • Tenants could not connect with the court through the Teams app;
  • Downloading the Teams app takes a very long time, and often the program closes before the full download occurs;
  • Tenants who are unable to use the Teams app can only participate in the hearing by phone;
  • Tenants who are on the telephone are not able to see what is happening and do not know what to do once they connect;
  • Tenants who do not have access to a phone or computer are not given an in-person option, so they are unable to attend.
  • Tenants are given only 5 days’ notice of a hearing;
  • Some tenants are not receiving mail in a timely manner, so they only receive notice of the hearing after they’ve already missed it;
  • Tenants receive notice of the remote hearing, but the notice does not include the date and time of the hearing;
  • Hearing notices are not translated for people with LEP;
  • Hearing notices tell tenants to call the clerk’s office to receive information about how to participate in a remote hearing, but when tenants call the clerk’s office they hear a recording directing them to call another phone number that is not always answered;
  • Tenants who receive notice of the hearing do not understand that they must give the court their email address to receive access to the hearing;
  • Hearing notice emails that include the phrase “do not delete” are deleted once the hearing is accepted;
  • Judges are not asking court personnel if tenants were ever contacted by the Court regarding notice of the hearing;
  • Judges are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration;
  • Mediators are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration;
  • Tenants who have given their landlord a CDC declaration are challenged by landlords who say the declaration is not true;
  • When an attorney for the landlord did not show up, the Court called him and allowed him to join the remote hearing late. No calls made to tenants when they do not appear;
  • Some marshals refuse to let lawyers and tenants into courthouses to file documents;
  • Some courts fail to provide a means for lawyers and the public to observe hearings.

TRHAP program changes: Governor Lamont announced an additional $20 million would be added to the TRHAP program bringing the total amount for TRHAP to $40 million. DOH states that the program will reopen for new applications in mid-October. In addition, CHFA has assigned 30 staff members to help process the nearly 5,100 pre-applications already received. This brings the total number of staff working on this project to 45. DOH has reduced the paperwork required for tenants to complete an application. When the program reopens, tenants will be able to apply on-line and upload the verifications they need. The goal is to have the tenant go from pre-application to full application within 5 business days. Tenants without internet access will still be able to contact the call center and 211 to put in an application. The on-line application portal will be in English and Spanish.  

Mortgage Foreclosure

CT has sixth highest delinquency rate in the country: A new report from CoreLogic shows that Connecticut has the 6th highest delinquency rate in the country with New York and New Jersey ranking first and second.

FHA loans: The number of FHA loans that are delinquent has risen to 24.2% in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk MSA and to 20.2% in the New Haven-Milford MSA. The Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown MSA is the lowest in Connecticut at a still startlingly 18.2%. If even one-third of all these loans go into foreclosure, this will result in substantial homeownership loss for communities of color.

Affidavit required for foreclosure filings:  On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit states that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.

Judicial Branch is scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases:  Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference is necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone. 

What should homeowners do?

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. The program began on August 7, with 8 slots weekly and has been used by several homeowners from across the state each of the past few weeks. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable amount of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org

Apply for T-MAP on-line:  The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here

Helping all Connecticut residents toward recovery: In a published recent op-ed in ctmirror.org, Ashley Blount, an organizer with CancelRentCT, pointed out the unending cycle of implementing an eviction moratorium, nearly waiting for it to expire, and implementing a new moratorium has placed a constant mental and emotional strain on the tens of thousands of folks facing house insecurity, the small landlords who have also been deprived of income, and the individuals and organizations on the ground working to prevent a housing crisis. The pandemic has already exposed all the ways our systems leave Black, brown, low-income, and other marginalized communities behind. Black and brown communities especially have been disproportionately impacted by all coronavirus related issues and the housing crisis is shaping up to be no different. Instead, Connecticut needs to cut the red tape and implement relief on a massive scale.

Connecticut’s cities need help digging out of the pandemic: A new series in the CT Mirror, starts with the premise that Connecticut is one of the most dramatically unequal states in the country. By almost every metric, from employment and housing to health care and life expectancy, the predominantly minority urban poor were getting the short end of the stick. Nearly 20% of Black and 23% of Hispanic residents lived in poverty before the pandemic, compared to 6% of whites, according to a major report by the New Haven-based nonprofit research firm DataHaven. The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant economic recession made a bad situation worse. Connecticut must help all cities recover and thrive to ensure that the current inequality does not continue.

Short calendar resumes:  As of October 13, 2020, the Judicial Branch has resumed its weekly processing of thousands of filings in foreclosure cases each week.

Tenants in Minneapolis bought their multifamily building from their landlord: Tenants living in bad conditions in Minneapolis mounted a campaign that sought repairs and the removal of their landlord’s license to rent. This summer, they bought their buildings from their landlord and are now able to control their homes.

Utility moratorium will end on October 31:  Any residential customer having trouble paying their utility bills should contact their utility company and ask whether they are eligible to be “coded hardship.” If the customer is coded hardship, the utility company will not be able to shut off their utilities during the winter months. Special financial assistance programs are available to hardship customers. For more information, see this Operation Fuel website. Second, if a customer is ineligible for hardship status, they should ask to be placed on a COVID-19 Payment Plan. Enrollment for the COVID-19 Payment Program for residential customers is open until November 1, 2020.

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 our outreach coordinator rrattray@ctfairhousing.org.

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

  • here for more information on the Connecticut and CDC moratoria.  
  • here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
  • here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Our guidance is now available in 11 languages.)
  • The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • here.

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our websitehere.

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.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

September 24, 2020

What happened since September 17, 2020:

Judicial Branch is scheduling hearings on the issuance of executions:  Beginning the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch began scheduling hearings in eviction cases where an execution has been requested by a landlord. The tenant is supposed to receive notice from court staff which provides instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone.

Tenants encountering problems with execution issuance hearings—The Judicial Branch has been sending notices to tenants that they should appear at a remote hearing if they wished to oppose the issuance of an execution in a summary process case. The issues tenants are facing when trying to prevent the issuance of an execution include:

  • Delay or not receiving the mailed notice so they are missing the date of the hearing, and the court issues an execution;
  • Hearing notices are not translated for people with LEP;
  • Tenants given only 5 days’, or less, notice of a hearing from the date of the mailing to the date of the hearing;
  • Tenants receive notice of the remote hearing, but the notice does not include the date and time of the hearing, nor does the subsequent email to the tenant with instructions include a link to use to log onto the remote hearing;
  • Hearing notices tell tenants to call the clerk’s office to receive information about how to participate in a remote hearing and the clerk’s office is closed;
  • Judges are not determining if tenants were ever contacted by the Court regarding notice of the hearing;
  • Judges are not asking if the landlord gave the tenant notice of the CDC moratorium;
  • Tenants who have given their landlord a CDC declaration are challenged by landlords who say the declaration was not true;
  • When an attorney for the landlord did not show up, the Court called him and allowed him to join the remotely hearing late. No calls made to tenants when they do not appear.

What should tenants do?

If a tenant receives notice that their landlord has requested the issuance of an execution, the tenant should begin by reading the CDC declaration requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If the tenant meets the qualifications, then every person over 18 in the household should fill out a declaration and give it to the LANDLORD and the court. Information about the declaration and how to create one are also available in Spanish. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. If the tenant gives their landlord a copy of the declaration, this will stop the landlord from using an execution to move the tenant out.

However, tenants must also attend the remote hearing either by video or electronically. The notice to the tenant about the request for the execution should also include an email address where the tenant can get answers to questions regarding remote hearings. 

Judge denies landlord the right to use an execution when tenant has filed a CDC declaration—A Housing Court judge in New Haven has refused to issue an execution because the tenant filed a CDC declaration even though the nonpayment of rent occurred prior to March 1, 2020.

TRHAP program closed indefinitely: DOH’s rental assistance program TRHAP is no longer accepting applications. It is unclear if the program will open again. If you are unsure if you have completed an application, you can contact trhapinfo@ct.gov. Include your name and address in the mail and the approximate date you made the application for TRHAP.

Mortgage Foreclosure

Judicial Branch is scheduling hearings on the issuance of executions:  Beginning the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch will schedule hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested by the new owner of the property. The homeowner will receive notice from court staff who will provide instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or electronically.

What should homeowners do?

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. The program began on August 7, with 8 slots weekly and will expand if there’s enough demand from homeowners and capacity for us. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable amount of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

Apply for T-MAP on-line:  The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low and to date, only 23 have been found to be eligible. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here

Six months into the pandemic, two families have received rental assistance:  Recently released information from DOH reveals that only two families have received aid in the five months since state officials established a program to help those struggling to pay rent during the pandemic, leaving a backlog of nearly 7,400 applications and growing frustration about the slow pace of the approval process.

 Advocates ask Governor Lamont to extend the Connecticut eviction moratorium through December 31:  Housing advocates from around the state have asked the Governor to extend Connecticut’s eviction moratorium until December 31, a date consistent with the CDC moratorium, and to include cases that went to judgment before the courts closed on April 10. Connecticut’s eviction moratorium does not require the filing of a declaration and would also stop the Court’s continued issuances of executions. The Governor has not yet responded.

 Connecticut State Senators ask Governor Lamont for more rental assistance:  On September 18, nine State Senators asked Governor Lamont to increase funding for the TRHAP program by $10 million. To date, the Governor has not responded and the TRHAP program remains closed.

 Uber for evictions:  Seizing on a pandemic-driven nosedive in employment and huge uptick in number-of-people-who-can’t-pay-their-rent, a new company called Civvl aims to make it easy for landlords to hire process servers and eviction agents as gig workers. Gig workers assist landlords in moving people out, serving paperwork, and generally ensuring that evictions take place.

 What we are hearing from our clients:

  • Tenants who were told they qualify for assistance from TRHAP have heard nothing about when their landlord will receive payments.
  • Tenants who have been approved for rental payments through TRHAP have been told by their landlord that no payments have been received.
  • Landlords continue to harass tenants about leaving if they owe rent even if the tenant has given the landlord a CDC declaration.
  • The TRHAP program does not have a TTY line making it difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply for benefits.
  • Tenants continue to seek assistance on how to pay their rent when they have lost their income due to COVID-19.
  • Landlords are raising rents in response to housing shortage cause by inflow of new residents into Connecticut.
  • Tenants are being threatened with eviction because their children are home all day creating noise in the apartment building.
  • Tenants using housing subsidies to pay their rent continue to face source of income discrimination.

Outreach

  • 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 our outreach coordinator shussain@ctfairhousing.org.
  • 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.

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.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

Addressing Clients’ Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

September 17, 2020

What happened since September 10, 2020:

Updates on Eviction Moratorium—At present there are three eviction moratoria in place. Last week’s update, included information on the eviction moratoria and what tenants need to do to ensure that the moratoria apply to them. To take advantage of the CDC moratorium that lasts through December 31, 2020, start by reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the moratorium. If the tenant meets the qualifications, then every person over 18 in the household should fill out a declaration and give it to the LANDLORD. Information about the declaration and how to create one are also available in Spanish. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate the CDC declaration.

Judicial Branch is scheduling hearings on the issuance of executions:  Beginning the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch will schedule hearings in eviction cases where an execution has been requested. If an execution has been requested by a landlord, the tenant will receive notice from court staff who will provide instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone.

What should tenants do?

If a tenant receives notice that their landlord has requested the issuance of an execution, the tenant should begin by reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If the tenant meets the qualifications, then every person over 18 in the household should fill out a declaration and give it to the LANDLORD. Information about the declaration and how to create one are also available in Spanish. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. If the tenant gives their landlord a copy of the declaration, this will stop the landlord from using an execution to move the tenant out.

However, tenants must also attend the remote hearing either by video or electronically. The notice to the tenant about the request for the execution should also include an email address where the tenant can get answers to questions regarding remote hearings.

Courts will begin issuing defaults:  Beginning on September 20, Connecticut courts can begin to issue defaults in cases where the defendant (in an eviction case, the tenant) has not responded to the landlord’s court-filed complaint or an Appearance. The court will give the tenant notice that a request for a default has been filed. A default means that the tenant has lost the case and the court could issue an execution allowing a marshal to move the tenant out.

What should tenants do?

If a tenant is notified that the landlord has asked for a default because a tenant has not responded to the landlord’s court-filed complaint or filed an Appearance, tenants should fill out an Appearance form if they have not already done so and give it to the court and the landlord or the landlord’s lawyer if they have one. In addition, tenants should read the requirements to determine if they qualify for the moratorium. If they do, then every person over 18 in a household should fill out a declaration and give it to the landlord or the landlord’s lawyer if they have one. Information about the declaration and how to create one are also available in Spanish. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. Finally, the tenant can call Statewide Legal Services to determine if they are eligible for free legal assistance, including help with responding to the landlord’s court-filed complaint. Call 1-800-453-3320 or apply for help online.

TRHAP program still not open: DOH’s rental assistance program TRHAP is not accepting applications at this time. If you are unsure if you have completed an application, you can contact trhapinfo@ct.gov. Include your name and address in the mail and the approximate date you made the application for TRHAP. It may take as long as a week to get information back from the Department of Housing.

Mortgage Foreclosure

Judicial Branch is scheduling hearings on the issuance of executions:  Beginning the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch will schedule hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested. If an execution has been requested, the homeowner will receive notice from court staff who will provide instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or electronically.

What should homeowners do?

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. The program began on August 7, with 8 slots weekly and will expand if there’s enough demand from homeowners and capacity for us. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable amount of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org

Apply for T-MAP on-line:  The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low and to date, with only 23 being found eligible. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here.

CDC moratorium not as simple as it soundsFending off an eviction could depend on which judge a renter who has not paid rent is given. Unfortunately, landlords are still taking renters to court and what happens next varies depending on where the tenant lives. If a landlord continues to threaten a tenant with eviction even after receiving the CDC declaration, the tenant should contact Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320 or apply for help online.

Data details the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Black and Latinx people:  Black and Latinx people in the state have not only borne disproportionate loss of life due to COVID-19, but have also been hardest hit financially, according to data released Thursday. The multi-faceted analysis tells a tale of two pandemics as COVID-19 exacerbates existing health and economic inequities. Black people are nearly twice as likely to have lost a loved one for friend during the pandemic as white people. In addition, Latinx people experienced higher rates of job layoffs and housing insecurity.

Jury trials to resume in November—Connecticut’s Judicial Branch has announced that it will resume jury trials in November 2020. The jury trials will take place in a courtroom and the courts have put in place procedures to keep jurors, defendants, and staff safe.

What we are hearing from our clients:

  • Tenants who were told they qualify for assistance from TRHAP have heard nothing about when their landlord will receive payments.
  • Tenants who have been approved for rental payments through TRHAP have been told by their landlord that no payments have been received.
  • Landlords continue to harass tenants about leaving if they owe rent even if the tenant has given the landlord a CDC declaration.
  • The TRHAP program does not have a TTY line making it difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply for benefits.
  • Tenants continue to seek assistance on how to pay their rent when they have lost their income due to COVID-19
  • Landlords are raising rents in response to housing shortage cause by inflow of new residents into Connecticut
  • Tenants are being threatened with eviction because their children are home all day creating noise in the apartment building.
  • Tenants using housing subsidies to pay their rent continue to face source of income discrimination.

Outreach

  • 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 our outreach coordinator shussain@ctfairhousing.org.
  • 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.

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.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

September 10, 2020

What happened since September 3, 2020:

Updates on Eviction Moratorium—At present there are three eviction moratoria in place. In addition, there are several steps in the court eviction process that have NOT been stopped. It is not clear how all of these changes in the law fit together, but the Center has put together the following:

  1. CDC issues moratorium on evictions until December 31, 2020:  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a federal agency charged with protecting the public health, has announced that it has placed a moratorium on evictions throughout the United States for nonpayment of rent beginning on September 4 and continuing until December 31, 2020. The moratorium applies to tenants who are being evicted for nonpayment of rent or for lapse of time AND who present a signed declaration form to their landlord.

What should tenants do?

To take advantage of the CDC moratorium, start by reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the moratorium. Then every person over 18 in a household should fill out a declaration and give it to the LANDLORD. Information about the declaration and how to create one are also available in Spanish. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate the CDC declaration.

2. Governor extends eviction moratorium to October 1: On Thursday, August 20, Governor Lamont announced he was extending the eviction moratorium until October 1, 2020. The Executive Order states that no Notice to Quit or Summary Process complaint can be given to a tenant or filed before October 1, 2020 with certain exceptions.

What should tenants do?

A landlord is allowed to send Notices to Quit if a tenant owes rent from before February 29, 2020, the tenant has created a serious nuisance, or if the landlord plans to use the unit as their personal residence and the existing rental agreement has ended. If a tenant receives a Notice to Quit or a summary process complaint, the tenant can call Statewide Legal Services to determine if they are eligible for free legal assistance. Call 1-800-453-3320 or apply for help online.

3. FHFA and FHA extend moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for homes with FHA and FHFA backed mortgages until December 31—FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac should not begin an eviction action until after December 31, 2020, unless the property is abandoned or vacant. In addition, FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have extended the foreclosure moratorium on these properties until December 31, 2020.

What should tenants/homeowners do?

If a tenant receives a Notice to Quit or a summary process complaint, the tenant can call Statewide Legal Services to determine if they are eligible for free legal assistance. Call 1-800-453-3320 or apply for help online. If a homeowner is served with a foreclosure complaint, they can contact the Center to sign up for an on-line meeting, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment to talk to one of our attorneys.

  • TRHAP program closed for new applications: On Friday, August 28, the State’s Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP) closed its call center and stopped taking on-line applications until Monday, September 14 at 8 a.m. During that time, the Department of Housing will continue to refer tenants who have completed the pre-application for assistance to housing counseling agencies to complete the application process. If you are unsure if you have completed a pre-application, you can contact trhapinfo@ct.gov. Include your name and address in the mail and the approximate date you made the application for TRHAP. It may take as long as a week to get information back from the Department of Housing.

Updates on Court Processes

  • Courts will begin issuing defaults:  Beginning on September 20, Connecticut courts can begin to issue defaults in cases where the defendant (in an eviction case, the tenant) has not responded to the landlord’s court-filed complaint or an Appearance. The court will give the tenant notice that a request for a default has been filed. A default means that the tenant has lost the case and the court could issue an execution allowing a marshal to move the tenant out.

What should tenants do?

If a tenant is notified that the landlord has asked for a default because a tenant has not responded to the landlord’s court-filed complaint or filed an Appearance, tenants should fill out an Appearance form if they have not already done so and give it to the court and the landlord or the landlord’s lawyer if they have one. In addition, tenants should read the requirements to determine if they qualify for the moratorium. If they do, then every person over 18 in a household should fill out a declaration and give it to the landlord or the landlord’s lawyer if they have one. Information about the declaration and how to create one are also available in Spanish. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. Finally, the tenant can call Statewide Legal Services to determine if they are eligible for free legal assistance, including help with responding to the landlord’s court-filed complaint. Call 1-800-453-3320 or apply for help online.

  • Connecticut Judicial Branch allows executions to be used for some summary process cases: Connecticut’s Judicial Branch announced that it would permit landlords to use executions to move out tenants who lost their summary process cases for serious nuisance, residential nonpayment evictions for nonpayment of rent on or before February 29, 2020, or for evictions where the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the dwelling as the landlord’s principal residence.

What should tenants do?

If a tenant receives notice from the court, a landlord, or a marshal that they will be moved out of their apartment through the use of an execution, the tenant should call the court that issued the execution and ask what they can do to stay in their apartment. In addition, tenants should read the requirements to determine if they qualify for the moratorium. If they do, then every person over 18 in a household should fill out a declaration and give it to the landlord or the landlord’s lawyer if they have one. Information about the declaration and how to create one are also available in Spanish. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. Finally, the tenant can call Statewide Legal Services to determine if they are eligible for free legal assistance. Call 1-800-453-3320 or apply for help online.

Mortgage Foreclosure

  • Connecticut rates 8th in the nation with non-current loans: Despite CARES Act protections, many borrowers with government-backed mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are behind on their loan payments but not in forbearance plans. Among these, FHA borrowers are most likely to not be in forbearance plans with 38% of loans past due, the largest volume and share of any investor class. Private mortgage investors are least likely to grant forbearances to people who cannot pay their mortgage.
  • Law days extended to October 6, 2020—Connecticut’s Judicial Branch extended foreclosure law days to October 6. As a result, any homeowner scheduled to lose title to their home as a result of foreclosure will have their right to title extended until October 6, 2020.
  • Apply for T-MAP on-line: CFHA’s Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program to assist homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage, the Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program, now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here.
  • Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. The program began on August 7, with 8 slots weekly and will expand if there’s enough demand from homeowners and capacity for us. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment.
 

What we are hearing from our clients:

  • Tenants who lost their jobs in 2020 may not qualify for the TRHAP program because they earned too much in 2019
  • Many tenants hospitalized with COVID-19 fear being unable to return home when released from the hospital because they have been unable to pay the rent
  • The TRHAP program does not have a TTY line making it difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply for benefits.
  • Tenants continue to seek assistance on how to pay their rent when they have lost their income due to COVID-19
  • Tenants are being threatened with termination of their lease in response to extended eviction moratorium
  • Landlords are raising rents in response to housing shortage cause by inflow of new residents into Connecticut
  • Landlords are harassing tenants for rent
  • Tenants are being denied housing based on how many children they have
  • Tenants using housing subsidies to pay their rent continue to face source of income discrimination

Outreach

  • 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 our outreach coordinator shussain@ctfairhousing.org
  • 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

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 here.  

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our websitehere.

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.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

September 3, 2020

 

CDC issues moratorium on evictions until December 31, 2020:  The Center for Disease Control (CDC), a federal agency charged with protecting the public health, has announced that it has placed a moratorium on evictions throughout the United States for nonpayment of rent beginning on September 4 and continuing until December 31, 2020. The moratorium applies only to tenants who are being evicted for nonpayment of rent AND who present a signed declaration form to their landlord. The form must state that the tenant 1) expects to make less than $99,000 in income for 2020 ($198,000 if filing a joint return); 2) is unable to pay full rent due to an income loss or extraordinary medical bills; 3) has used best efforts to obtain governmental rent assistance; 4) is likely to become homeless or forced to “live in close quarters” in another residence if evicted; and 5) promises to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit.   

The Center is in the process of putting the form tenants must use up on its website and mailing it to any tenant who calls the Center. Please check our website for updated information as we learn more about the moratorium. For answers to some preliminary questions about the CDC’s eviction moratorium, click here.

To find a copy of the declarations all adults in a household must fill out and give to the landlord, click here. To create a declaration in Spanish, access this page and click the translation button in the top right corner. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate a declaration that notifies a landlord the tenant and all adult household members are covered by the CDC eviction moratorium.

Connecticut Judicial Branch allows executions to be used for some summary process cases: On September 3, 2020, Connecticut’s Judicial Branch announced that beginning on September 3, it would permit landlords to use executions to move out some tenants who lost their summary process cases on or before March 19, 2020. Executions can be used in eviction cases that were resolved before March 19, 2020 on the basis of serious nuisance, nonpayment of rent that was owed before February 29, 2020, or where the landlord has a bona fide intent to use the dwelling as their primary residence.

However, the Judicial Department also states, “No action taken pursuant to this order shall be in violation of the moratoria contained in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the ‘Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19’ order issued by the Centers for Disease Control on September 1, 2020, or other applicable federal law, order, rule or regulation.” Check the Center’s website for more information as this order is further analyzed.

TRHAP program closed for new applications: On Friday, August 28, the State’s Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP) closed its call center and stopped taking on-line applications until Monday, September 14 at 8 a.m. During that time, the Department of Housing will continue to refer tenants who have completed the pre-application for assistance to housing counseling agencies to complete the application process. If you are unsure if you have completed a pre-application, you can contact trhapinfo@ct.gov. Include your name and address in the mail and the approximate date you made the application for TRHAP. It may take as long as a week to get information back from the Department of Housing.

Apply for T-MAP on-line:  CFHA’s Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program to assist homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage, the Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program, now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here.

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. The program began on August 7, with 8 slots weekly and will expand if there’s enough demand from homeowners and capacity for us. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment.

What happened since August 28, 2020:

  • Evictions likely to spread virus: Tenants evicted as the result of the COVID-19 economic crisis will likely double up with friends or family to avoid living on the street. As a result, eviction could be a super spreader event as displaced families crowd into shelters or risk their health at unsafe jobs to pay for rent or moving expenses. In addition to a nationwide eviction stoppage, experts estimate that the U.S. needs between $7 and $12 billion a month to help workers who rent to remain safe and secure in their homes.
  • Eviction ban alone won’t solve crisisHousing advocates and housing providers are applauding the CDC’s actions in halting evictions but say a moratorium is not enough. The eviction moratorium will harm landlords in the short run because there is no rental assistance that accompanies the order. As a result, housing providers especially small landlords, will be unable to pay for repairs, real estate taxes, and other housing operating costs. In the long run, tenants unable to pay the rent at the end of the moratorium will face the loss of their homes after December during some of the coldest months of year. Rental assistance is needed to avoid this catastrophe.
  • New Haven to assist households on verge of eviction or foreclosure:  Because city officials estimate that between 8,00 and 10,000 families in New Haven could be subject to eviction or foreclosure, it has created an assistance program to assist 300 renters and homeowners using $800,000 of its CARES Act funding. Families will be eligible for payments of up to $3,000 for renters and $4,000 for homeowners. The funding can be used as a standalone program or in conjunction with the TRHAP and TMAP programs to pay back rent or mortgage payments There is more information on the program on the City of New Haven’s website or by calling 203-946-7090.
  • State rental assistance program is likely out of funds:  According to the most recent information released by the Department of Housing, at least 5,800 people had qualified for help and until the program shut down intake, was receiving at least another 200 calls for help a day. This will likely deplete the $20 million set aside to assist tenants who cannot pay their rent due to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The State has not said it will add any additional funds to the program despite knowing that the $20 million will not help everyone who needs it.
  • Connecticut reserves approach $3.1 billion:  The State’s reserve fund, also known as the rainy day fund, has exceeded the legal limit for contributions for the first time in 19 years. It now stands at $3.1 billion. This will allow the state to cover the projected FY2021 budget deficit and still leave nearly $1 billion in the bank. Key lawmakers are calling on the state to spend some of the reserve to combat the effects of the coronavirus.
  •  Majority of Hartford families will keep their kids home this fall: The majority of Hartford families will keep their school age children home this fall and have instead chosen online learning. This is a sharp difference from nearly urban school districts but which many parents feel they must make because of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.
  •   People of color underrepresented in COVID-19 vaccine trials: Despite being some of the hardest hit communities in the country, people of color are underrepresented in vaccine trials for COVID-19. Of the 350,000 people who have registered online for a coronavirus clinical trial, only 10% are Black or Latino. This could result in vaccines that are not effective for all people.
  • Federal foreclosure moratorium and evictions extended to December 31:  The Federal Home Finance Authority announced that it will extend the moratorium on single-family foreclosures and evictions from Real Estate Owned (REO) properties through December 31, 2020. The foreclosure moratorium applies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac single-family mortgages only. The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that have been acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. The current moratoriums were set to expire on August 31, 2020. 
  • FHA delinquency rate now the highest ever recorded: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact homeowner’s ability to make their mortgage payments. According to Black Knight, FHA delinquency rates are now at 15.65%, the highest ever recorded since the survey of delinquencies began in 1979. Overall, the number of seriously delinquent mortgages, meaning payments overdue by 90 days or more, rose to the highest rate since early 2010. While the CARES Act forbids forbearances to be reported to credit bureaus as late payments, the mortgage industry still tallies the suspended payments as delinquencies.
  • Residential utility shut-off moratorium: On September 9, 2020 the residential utility shut-off moratorium will end for non-hardship customers. Non-hardship customers are those utility customers who have no financial hardship but have been protected from shut off during the pandemic. On October 31, the residential utility shut-off moratorium will end for hardship customers. If you are unable to pay for your utilities, contact your gas or electric company to get coded as “financial hardship” customers so that you can be protected from upcoming shut-offs after the end of the moratorium. Contact the utilities directly, call 2-1-1 for more information or contact local community action agencies for help.
  •  Energy assistance: Community action agencies began accepting energy assistance applications on August 3. Anyone seeking to apply for energy assistance should contact their local community action agency, as much of the paperwork will be done by mail, with few in-person appointments this year. DSS also has an on-line energy assistance application this year, but it must be downloaded and sent to the local community action agency with other qualifying information
  • Eviction Lab publishes Connecticut data: The Eviction Lab, begun by sociologist Matthew Desmond, has begun publishing data gathered by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center on the number of new summary process actions filed every day. With the number of new filings expected to go up after the moratorium ends, Connecticut will be facing an eviction crisis which will be tracked in real time.

What we are hearing from our clients:

  • Tenants who lost their jobs in 2020 may not qualify for the TRHAP program because they earned too much in 2019
  • Many tenants hospitalized with COVID-19 fear being unable to return home when released from the hospital because they have been unable to pay the rent
  • The TRHAP program does not have a TTY line making it difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply for benefits.
  • Tenants continue to seek assistance on how to pay their rent when they have lost their income due to COVID-19
  • Tenants are being threatened with termination of their lease in response to extended eviction moratorium
  • Landlords are raising rents in response to housing shortage cause by inflow of new residents into Connecticut
  • Landlords are harassing tenants for rent
  • Tenants are being denied housing based on how many children they have
  • Tenants using housing subsidies to pay their rent continue to face source of income discrimination

Outreach

  • 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 our outreach coordinator shussain@ctfairhousing.org
  • 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 our outreach coordinator shussain@ctfairhousing.org

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.)
  • The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • here.  

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our websitehere.

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.

Sept. 3, 2020: Update on stay of executions

Connecticut Judicial Branch allows executions to be used for some summary process cases: On September 3, 2020, Connecticut’s Judicial Branch announced that beginning on September 3, it would permit landlords to use executions to move out some tenants who lost their summary process cases on or before March 19, 2020. Executions can be used in eviction cases that were resolved before March 19, 2020 on the basis of serious nuisance, nonpayment of rent that was owed before February 29, 2020, or where the landlord has a bona fide intent to use the dwelling as their primary residence.

However, the Judicial Department also states, “No action taken pursuant to this order shall be in violation of the moratoria contained in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the ‘Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19’ order issued by the Centers for Disease Control on September 1, 2020, or other applicable federal law, order, rule or regulation.”

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Fair Housing COVID-19 Weekly Response 8.27.20

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

August 27, 2020

Governor extends eviction moratorium to October 1: At his press conference on Thursday, August 20, Governor Lamont announced he was extending the eviction moratorium until October 1, 2020. The Executive Order states that no Notice to Quit or Summary Process complaint can be given to a tenant or filed before October 1, 2020 with certain exceptions. A landlord is permitted to send Notices to Quit for non-payment of rent owed before February 29, 2020, for serious nuisance, or if the landlord plans to use the unit as their personal residence and the existing rental agreement has ended. The Judicial Branch has still not determined if it will postpone the use of executions beyond September 1, foreclosure law days beyond September 9, or sale dates beyond October 3. The Center will send an update as soon as this issue is decided.

Apply for TRHAP on-line:  As of Wednesday, August 12, the Department of Housing’s Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program is available to everyone who has moderate income and owes rent because of COVID-19. You can apply on-line or by telephone, 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here.

TRHAP Media Outreach Kit: The Center has produced a social media outreach kit to increase outreach and multi-language access to the State’s rental assistance program. We are asking our partners to please post information about the rental assistance program on their social media channels. The toolkit will be continuously updated, so please check back often for more tools.

TRHAP FAQs and program summaries are now available in 10 languages.


Apply for T-MAP on-line:  CFHA’s Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program to assist homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage, the Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program, now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here.

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. The program began on August 7, with 8 slots weekly, and it will expand if there’s enough demand from homeowners and capacity for us. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment.

What happened since August 21, 2020:

  • Federal foreclosure moratorium and evictions extended to December 31: The Federal Home Finance Authority and the Federal Housing Administration announced that they will extend the moratorium on single-family foreclosures and evictions from Real Estate Owned (REO) properties through December 31, 2020. The foreclosure moratorium applies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac single-family mortgages only. The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that have been acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. The current moratoria were set to expire on August 31, 2020.
  • FHA delinquency rate now the highest ever recorded—The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact homeowners’ ability to make their mortgage payments. According to Black Knight, FHA delinquency rates are now at 15.65%, the highest ever recorded since the survey of delinquencies began in 1979. Overall, the number of seriously delinquent mortgages, meaning payments overdue by 90 days or more, rose to the highest rate since early 2010. While the CARES Act forbids forbearances to be reported to credit bureaus as late payments, the mortgage industry still tallies suspended payments as missed payments.
  • Rental assistance program falls short: Even though the State is doubling the amount of rental assistance money to help renters unable to pay rent as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, advocates say the funding will fall short of the need. The new funding will help approximately additional 2,500 households and applications are still being taken.
  • Residential utility shut-off moratorium. On September 9, 2020 the residential utility shut-off moratorium will end for non-hardship customers. Non-hardship customers are those utility customers who have no financial hardship but have been protected from shut off during the pandemic. On October 31, the residential utility shut-off moratorium will end for hardship customers. If you are unable to pay for your utilities, contact your gas or electric company to get coded as “financial hardship” customers so that you can be protected from upcoming shut-offs after the end of the moratorium. Contact the utilities directly, call 2-1-1 for more information or contact local community action agencies for help.
  • Energy assistance. Community action agencies began accepting energy assistance applications on August 3. Anyone seeking to apply for energy assistance should contact their local community action agency, as much of the paperwork will be done by mail, with few in-person appointments this year. DSS also has an on-line energy assistance application this year, but it must be downloaded and sent to the local community action agency with other qualifying information
  • $300 increase in unemployment benefits. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved a grant for Connecticut to authorize an additional $300 a week in unemployment assistance. For approximately 250,000 unemployed people in Conn. this will be added to their average benefit of $269 a week. To be eligible for the added $300 a week, the unemployed person must be receiving at least $100 in unemployment benefits. Contact the unemployment office for eligibility requirements.
  • As evictions loom, lawyers are gearing up to help. Legal assistance attorneys all over the country and in Connecticut are gearing up to help with the wave of evictions that are sure to follow the end of many states’ eviction moratorium. For many low-income renters, having a lawyer represent them in their eviction case can mean the difference between being evicted or being able to stay in their homes. Across the country, landlords are represented at least 80% of the time while tenants have lawyers in fewer than 10% of cases.
  • Black homeowners have their homes appraised for less. A Black homeowner in a Hartford suburb found that his home appraised for more after he removed family photos and movie posters with Black protagonists and had a white neighbor stand in for him during a second appraisal. Such experiences are not unique with many Black homeowners having their homes appraised for less than their white neighbors. This appraisal disparity prevents many Black homeowners from building equity and further perpetuates income inequality.
  • Connecticut’s suburban strategy. A history of redlining, discrimination in lending and real estate sales, and exclusionary zoning have resulted in high degrees of segregation with people of color, and particularly low-income people of color being shut out of majority white suburbs. Promoting integration and access to the benefits and lifestyles available throughout Connecticut requires a dual approach that opens up the suburbs and invests in cities.
  • Eviction Lab publishes Connecticut data: The Eviction Lab, begun by sociologist Matthew Desmond, has begun publishing data gathered by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center on the number of new summary process actions filed every day. With the number of new filings expected to go up after the moratorium ends, Connecticut will be facing an eviction crisis which will be tracked in real time.

What we are hearing from our clients:

  • Tenants who lost their jobs in 2020 may not qualify for the TRHAP program because they earned too much in 2019
  • Many tenants hospitalized with COVID-19 fear being unable to return home when released from the hospital because they have been unable to pay the rent
  • The TRHAP program does not have a TTY line making it difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply for benefits.
  • Tenants continue to seek assistance on how to pay their rent when they have lost their income due to COVID-19
  • Tenants are being threatened with termination of their lease in response to extended eviction moratorium
  • Landlords are raising rents in response to housing shortage cause by inflow of new residents into Connecticut
  • Landlords are harassing tenants for rent
  • Tenants are being denied housing based on how many children they have
  • Tenants using housing subsidies to pay their rent continue to face source of income discrimination

Outreach

  • TONIGHT: Tune into the Center’s Facebook page, at 6:30 pm, to learn about access to rental relief with Representative Anthony Nolan.
  • 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 our outreach coordinator shussain@ctfairhousing.org

 

  • 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

 

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.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

TRHAP: Media Outreach Kit

Social Media Outreach Toolkit

Purpose: Increase Access to Connecticut’s Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP)

In Connecticut, Black and Latinx households have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. They have greater rates of infection, job loss, and housing instability. Systemic discriminatory housing policies mean that families who rent their homes are overwhelmingly people of color. In last week’s Pulse Census Survey, 40% of African American households in Connecticut reported that they had little to no confidence in being able to pay next month’s rent. Outreach to Black and Latinx communities about the State’s rental relief program needs to increase, especially as more funds become available.

Below are social media images and statements we hope individuals and organizations will share on their channels and with their constituencies to increase access to the program for households with limited English, and lower income households with limited political connections.

Applicable links

English only online application for TRHAP: http://bit.ly/TRHAPApp

Longer CHFA URL: https://www.chfa.org/homeowners/state-of-connecticut-temporary-rental-housing-assistance-program-trhap/

FAQ guidance about TRHAP in 10 languages: http://bit.ly/TRHAPmultilanguage

Longer URL: https://www.ctfairhousing.org/connecticut-trhap/

Facebook

English

Do you need help paying your rent because of COVID-19? The State’s rental assistance program is still accepting applications. Please call (860) 785-3111 or go to http://bit.ly/TRHAPApp to apply.

If you have any questions about the program or need materials in languages other than English please visit our website at http://bit.ly/TRHAPmultilanguage

Spanish

¿Necesita ayuda para pagar el alquiler debido a COVID-19? El programa estatal de asistencia para el alquiler todavía está aceptando solicitudes. Llame al (860) 785-3111 o visite http://bit.ly/TRHAPApp para presentar su solicitud.

Si tiene alguna pregunta sobre el programa o necesita materiales en otros idiomas además del inglés, visite nuestro sitio web en http://bit.ly/TRHAPmultilanguage

Twitter

Spanish

¿Necesita ayuda para pagar el alquiler debido a COVID-19? El programa estatal de asistencia para el alquiler todavía está aceptando solicitudes. Visite http://bit.ly/TRHAPApp

Twitter 

English

Do you need help paying your rent because of COVID-19? The State’s rental assistance program is still accepting applications. Visit http://bit.ly/TRHAPApp

 

Fair Housing COVID-19 Weekly Response 8.13.20

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

August 13, 2020

Eviction moratorium ends on August 22: The State of Connecticut’s eviction moratorium ends on August 22, 2020. Please read our FAQs about the moratorium here in English and in Spanish. Executive Order 7DDD issued by Governor Lamont extended the eviction moratorium so that, except for serious nuisance cases or cases based on nonpayment of rent that was due prior to February 29, 2020, no notices to quit may be served until Saturday, August 22, 2020.

Apply for TRHAP on-line:  As of Wednesday, July 12, the Department of Housing’s Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program is available to everyone who has moderate income and owes rent because of COVID-19. You can apply on-line or by telephone, 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here.

President issues executive order regarding eviction: On August 8, President Trump signed an executive order regarding evictions. The order directs various federal agencies to consider what they can do with existing authority or budgets to help people in danger of losing their homes to eviction. However, immediate relief for renters seems unlikely via this order since it does nothing to stop landlords from filing eviction cases nor courts from hearing them. In addition, the President said he ordered emergency pandemic aid for needy Americans as well as a cut in payroll taxes.

 Apply for T-MAP on-line:  CFHA’s Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program to assist homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage, the Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program, now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here.

Foreclosure advice: Until the pandemic, the Center provided several different ways for homeowners in foreclosure to get assistance. Since some of these involved in-person meetings in courthouses, those particular avenues for assistance have shut down. However, on August 7, the Center started holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure will be able to sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way they – under normal circumstances – could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. The program offers several weekly, and we will expand it based on demand and our own capacity. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment pretty quickly.

 What happened since August 6, 2020:

  • Few qualify for state programs: According to the Department of Housing, more than 1,100 people call to apply for the State’s TRHAP rental assistance every day. Yet only about 170 callers each day qualify for help. Evictions are expected to almost double over the same period last year, rising to a total of at least 14,000 households in danger of being displaced in the next few months.
  • Court refuses to issue an injunction ending the eviction moratorium: Several landlords filed suit against the Lamont administration alleging that by issuing a moratorium on evictions, the State has violated their due process rights and deprived them of their ability to collect rent. This week Connecticut’s federal District Court refused to issue an order which would have immediately suspended the State’s eviction moratorium.
  • Eviction Lab publishes Connecticut data: The Eviction Lab, begun by sociologist Matthew Desmond, has begun publishing data gathered by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center on the number of new summary process actions filed every day. With the number of new filings expected to go up after the moratorium ends on August 22, Connecticut will be facing an eviction crisis which will be tracked in real time.
  • NY stops evictions until the COVID-19 crisis ends: The New York State legislature has passed a law that suspends all evictions until Governor Cuomo lifts all restrictions on businesses and non-essential gatherings.
  • Public housing tenants worried about COVID-19 spread can refuse inspections: While HUD has ordered housing authorities to resume in-person inspections of housing units, tenants worried about the spread of the COVID-19 virus can refuse to permit people into their apartments to do inspections.
  • Evictions and foreclosures are coming: People all over the country are facing evictions and foreclosures. More than 20% of households say they do not expect to be able to pay rent or their mortgage in September. The number of people displaced could be greater than the number during the real estate collapse in 2008. This will also effect the economy with experts predicting the largest disruption to the housing market since the Great Depression.
  • Mortgage delinquencies are spiking: As of the end of June, more people were behind on their mortgage, and more people were “seriously” behind on their mortgage (90+ days) since 2011 – one of the worst years of the Great Recession. Most mortgage companies are allowed to pursue foreclosure actions once the borrower has been behind on their mortgage for 120 days. Click here for more information.
  • Health care workers of color nearly twice as likely as whites to get COVID: According to a new study by Harvard Medical School, health care workers of color were more likely to care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, more likely to report using inadequate or reused protective gear, and nearly twice as likely as white colleagues to test positive for the coronavirus. 
  • The Connecticut Fair Housing Center is responding to the coming eviction crisis by hiring a Staff Attorney and a Community Education Specialist and Tenant Organizer. You can find the job announcements here. Please share this announcement with your contacts.

What we are hearing from our clients:

  • Tenants attempting to apply for TRHAP assistance are experiencing long wait times in getting through to someone who can take their application and depleting minutes on pay-as-you-go phones.
  • The TRHAP program does not have a TTY line making it difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply for benefits.
  • Tenants continue to seek assistance on how to pay their rent when they have lost their income due to COVID-19
  • Tenants are being threatened with termination of their lease in response to extended eviction moratorium
  • Landlords are raising rents in response to housing shortage cause by inflow of new residents into Connecticut
  • Landlords are harassing tenants for rent
  • Tenants are being denied housing based on how many children they have
  • Tenants using housing subsidies to pay their rent continue to face source of income discrimination

Outreach

  • 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 our outreach coordinator shussain@ctfairhousing.org
  • 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

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 to people who are white. For more information on tenants’ demands and to sign the petition, click here. To participate in the regular actions, 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.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER (@CTFAIRHOUSING) FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

Fair Housing COVID-19 Weekly Response 8.6.2020

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

August 6, 2020

Eviction moratorium: The State of Connecticut’s eviction moratorium ends on August 22, 2020. Please read our FAQs about the moratorium here in English and in Spanish. Executive Order 7DDD issued by Governor Lamont extended the eviction moratorium so that, except for serious nuisance cases or cases based on nonpayment of rent that was due prior to February 29, 2020, no notices to quit may be served till Saturday, August 22, 2020.

 

Apply for TRHAP on-line:  The Department of Housing’s Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here. To read the Center’s fact sheet about the program, click here.

 

Apply for T-MAP on-line:  CFHA’s Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program to assist homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage, the Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program, now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here.

Foreclosure advice: Until the pandemic, the Center provided several different ways for homeowners in foreclosure to get assistance. Since most of these involved in-person meetings in courthouses, those avenues for assistance have shut down. However, beginning on August 7, the Center will start holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure will be able to sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way they – under normal circumstances – could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. The program will begin on August 7, with 8 slots weekly, and expand if there’s enough demand from homeowners and capacity for us. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment pretty quickly.

We are hiring!

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center is responding to the coming eviction crisis by hiring a Staff Attorney and a Community Education Specialist and Tenant Organizer. You can find the job announcements here. Please share this announcement with your contacts.

What happened since July 30, 2020:

 

  • Governor holding onto CARES Act funding in case it is needed later: Despite an effective unemployment rate of 16.5%, Governor Lamont has refused to spend all of the $1.38 million the State has received in CARES Act funding to alleviate the expenses caused by the COVID-19 crisis and has instead saved the money for use at a later date. In the meantime, more than 6,000 a day people have called the Department of Housing’s hotline to apply for THRAP assistance.

 

  • Connecticut’s mortgage delinquency rate is one of the highest in the nation: Connecticut homeowners are falling behind at a higher rate than those in most other states. According to Black Knight, a firm that provides lenders and mortgage servicers with data and analytics, 9.93% of Connecticut’s 571,513 mortgages were delinquent at the end of June, compared to 7.6% nationally. Over half are delinquent by 90 days when most lenders begin foreclosures actions. Connecticut ranks 10th in the country in mortgage delinquencies. If you are behind on your mortgage, beginning on Friday, August 7, homeowners can sign up for the Center’s Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment pretty quickly.

 

  • Hartford has the lowest census response rate in the nation: While Connecticut’s census response rate at 66.7% was higher than the national response rate of 62.9%, Hartford has the lowest response rate in the country with only 44.6% of people responding. Advocates hope that any new stimulus bill will give the Census Bureau additional time to finish its count. Without accurate responses from all parts of the country, it will be difficult to allocate Congressional representation and many federally funded social service program.

 

  • Crisis unwasted: In response to the Black Lives Matter movement and in the wake of the protests that began after the death of George Floyd, state and local officials are considering changes to zoning laws to require towns to be more inclusive. Mayor Justin Elicker of New Haven as well as former Darien First Selectwoman and former DOH Commissioner Evonne Klein have both made it clear that promoting integration through the building of affordable housing in many new locations will address many of the issues affecting people of color in Connecticut.
  • Unemployment numbers for June show increasing impact on people who are Black: Data released by Connecticut’s Department of Labor reveals that while the overall number of unemployed people in Connecticut decreased by about 8.2% compared to May, the improvements to the economic was not felt equally. For White and Asian people, about 11% less were out of work in June when compared to May. For Latinx people, only 6.2% less were out of work. For Black people, 6% more were out of work when compared with May.  The weight of job losses continues to be felt most by younger people as well, with more than 11% of the unemployed aged 45-59 returning to work, but only about 6.5% of unemployed people aged 22-34 returning to work. Every demographic in Connecticut saw significant numbers of unemployed people go back to work in June when compared to May, and May when compared April. The only demographic that did not show improvement were Black people. More Black people were unemployed at the end of June than in April, the peak of unemployment in Connecticut.

What we are hearing from our clients:

  • Tenants attempting to apply for TRHAP assistance are experiencing long wait times in getting through to someone who can take their application and depleting minutes on pay-as-you-go phones.
  • The TRHAP program does not have a TTY line making it difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply for benefits.
  • Tenants continue to seek assistance on how to pay their rent when they have lost their income due to COVID-19
  • Tenants are being threatened with termination of their lease in response to extended eviction moratorium
  • Landlords are raising rents in response to housing shortage cause by inflow of new residents into Connecticut
  • Landlords are harassing tenants for rent
  • Tenants are being denied housing based on how many children they have
  • Tenants using housing subsidies to pay their rent continue to face source of income discrimination

Outreach

  • 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 our outreach coordinator shussain@ctfairhousing.org
  • 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

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 to people who are white. 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.

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.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER (@CTFAIRHOUSING) FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

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