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.

Foreclosure Advice Virtual Meetings

You can now access foreclosure prevention advice remotely

Image description: Miniature house sits on table on top of paperwork reading "Notice of Foreclosure," with gavel on top of paperwork.

If your home is at risk of foreclosure and you would like to speak with attorney about your options, you can schedule a free foreclosure advice virtual meeting here.

This is a free legal advice program for people whose home is at risk of foreclosure. This program for people who own their home or have an interest in their home such as an inheritance or a transfer because of a divorce. It is not for tenants, second homes, or investment properties. You will receive legal advice about representing yourself in your foreclosure case.

Eligible participants will be able to schedule 15-minute appointments on set dates with an attorney. Information you provide will be stored and, in anonymous form, may be used for public reports.

After answering some questions, you will be provided a link to schedule a virtual meeting. The virtual meeting will require an internet connection. If you need to conduct the meeting via telephone instead, an option will be provided for you.

Fair Housing COVID-19 Weekly Update 7.30.20

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

July 30, 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.

Eviction moratorium:  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. Please read our FAQs about the moratorium here in English and in Spanish.

Federal eviction moratorium ends: In March, the federal government placed a moratorium on evictions from homes with federally-backed mortgages. On Friday, July 24, that eviction moratorium ends. However, the Connecticut moratorium on evictions will continue until August 22, with the limited exceptions explained above. This means that landlords in Connecticut cannot serve a Notice to Quit or a summary process complaint against anyone regardless of whether they have a federally backed mortgage.

Foreclosure advice: Until the pandemic, the Center gave homeowners in foreclosure several ways to get assistance. Most of these involved in-person meetings in courthouses or clinics which are not currently possible. Beginning on August 7, the Center will start holding

Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for 15 minute advice sessions over video or phone to get legal advice about their foreclosure questions. The program will begin on August 7, with 8 advice slots available weekly. We will expand availability based on our capacity and demand for the programs. Homeowners can sign up online, answer a few short questions, and select an appointment date and time.

What happened since July 16, 2020:

  • 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.
  • Want to help kids weather this school year? Keep them from getting evicted: Experts researching the effect of eviction on families and educational achievement by children recommend that keeping families from being evicted will ensure better school outcomes. Unfortunately, Congress has not yet acted to extend the federal moratorium on evictions, nor has it provided any significant rent relief program. Connecticut’s TRHAP program is predicted to run out of money before everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is assisted.
  • Solving the eviction crisis: The Editorial Board of the New York Times recommends that Congress impose a nationwide moratorium on evictions and then give people who have lost their jobs money to pay their rent or mortgage. If something is not done, the United States is on the verge of allowing a mass dislocation of lower-income household that could dwarf the Great Recession.
  • As enhanced unemployment ends, expect a wave of evictions: With the end of the $600 a week enhanced unemployment benefits, Connecticut should expect a wave of evictions when the Connecticut moratorium lifts on August 22. More than 300,000 people who are unemployed have applied for benefits while Connecticut landlords have predicted a doubling or tripling of new evictions over the number filed last year.

 

  • Connecticut’s coffers have grown during the pandemic: Connecticut’s rainy day fund which can be used to solve short term budget crises has grown during the pandemic despite warnings of a nearly $1 billion deficit just three months ago. The rainy day fund now stands at $2.8 billion, an increase from $2.5 billion when the crisis began.

 

  • Homebuyers look to upgrade while renters face eviction: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequities throughout the country. With historically low interest rates, many homebuyers are upgrading to their dream homes while renters face eviction. Real estate agents throughout the country report a hot market for people buying homes with sellers sometimes receiving multiple offers above listing price. At the same time, renters are hearing only that they may lose their homes to eviction because they lost their jobs and cannot pay rent.

 

  • Judicial Branch is developing a process to handle summary process mediations by video conference: The Judicial Branch announced that in addition to holding remote hearings and remote trials in identified civil cases, it is also developing a process to allow for summary process cases to be mediated through video conference with a housing mediator.

 

  • Court issues guide to participating in court hearings remotely: The Judicial Branch issued 32 pages of guidance on how to participate in court hearings remotely for attorneys and self-represented parties. To participate, parties must have access to the internet and the Microsoft Teams app. Advocates are concerned that many low-income people will have difficulty participating in court hearings in the future.

 

  • Foreclosures delayed. The Judicial Branch issued orders delaying foreclosure sales until October 3, 2020 to prevent the potential gathering of individuals at the auction site and rescheduling law days for strict foreclosures to September 9, 2020.

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.

 

 

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.

Call for Fellowship Applications

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center seeks candidates to apply for a fellowship, such as school-funded, Equal Justice Works, Skadden, or CBF Singer Fellowships. The project must be focused on assisting underrepresented populations with respect to housing such as, but not limited to, eviction, fair housing, fair lending, or foreclosure issues. Please begin the process by submitting a letter of interest, resume, and brief description of your proposal to Pamela Heller via electronic mail: pheller@ctfairhousing.org

Candidates should be a graduate or expected graduate of an accredited law school. Fellowships generally are restricted to applicants who have never worked full-time in the nonprofit sector. Applications are due in Fall 2020 for fellowships beginning in Fall 2021.

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Teaching History of Fair Housing in Connecticut

Teach young Connecticut residents about the History of Race and Housing in our state!

The CT Fair Housing Center has developed educational materials on the history of race and housing in Connecticut that teachers may use in their school curriculum.

You can view and incorporate our presentations in your classes. They cover the racialized history of housing policies and practices in the United States throughout the 1900s, efforts of the Civil Rights movement to ensure equal access to housing, a fair housing timeline, legacies of historic housing discrimination, and contemporary housing challenges in Connecticut. The materials are designed for incorporation into lesson plans in a number of possible subject areas such as U.S. history, Social Studies, and African American Studies for Grades 4-12.

History of Fair Housing Timeline
History of Race and Housing in Connecticut

If you would like the Center to present in your classes or would like to learn more about how to incorporate our materials in your teaching, contact our Education & Outreach Coordinator at shussain@ctfairhousing.org.

Fair Housing COVID-19 Weekly Update 7.23.20

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

July 23, 2020

To sign up to receive this weekly update please click here.

Tenant Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP):  The Department of Housing’s rental assistance program began accepting applications on July 15. To apply for assistance, 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.

Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program (T-MAP):  CHFA’s program to assist homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage as the result of income loss due to COVID-19 began accepting applications on July 15. To apply for assistance, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here.

Eviction moratorium:  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. Please read our FAQs about the moratorium here in English and in Spanish.

Federal eviction moratorium ends: In March, the federal government placed a moratorium on evictions from homes with federally backed mortgages. While eviction moratorium ends on July 24. landlords with federally backed mortgages can only start an eviction by serving a thirty-day notice to quit rather than a three-day notice. Further, the Connecticut moratorium described above applies to serving any notices to quit, and it will continue until August 22. This means that landlords in Connecticut cannot serve a Notice to Quit or a summary process complaint against anyone regardless of whether they have a federally backed mortgage unless they (1) fit the exceptions listed above under the Connecticut moratorium and (2) do not have a federally backed mortgage.

 

What happened since July 16, 2020:

 

  • TRHAP rolls out slowly: Tenants needing assistance and advocates helping them reported difficulties getting through to the Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP) call center to put in an application for rental assistance during the first three days the program was in operation. Some tenants reported waiting on hold for as long as an hour and then having their calls disconnected. DOH has said all of the problems with long wait times have been cleared up.
  • Enhanced unemployment benefits end on July 27: Approximately 15% of Connecticut’s labor force, or between 240,000 and 320,000 people, are set to lose enhanced unemployment benefits on July 27. While Congress is debating extending the benefits, no legislation has passed of today. Many tenants and homeowners report having depleted savings and they now fear that the loss of the enhanced payments will lead to the loss of their homes.
  • Black renters and homeowners fear being unable to pay rent: This current estimate of households experiencing rental shortfall uses Census pulse survey data to predict that almost 50% African American renters in Connecticut have limited to no confidence in being able to pay next months rent. The tool also estimates that the rental shortfall in CT currently is just over $200,000,000, and that there is likely to be over 100,000 eviction filings in the next four months. The analysis is close to what the Center predicted in April of 2020. Similar findings are also reported
  • CARES Act payments went toward rent: Data collected by the National Multifamily Housing Councils shows that more 81% of renters who used CARES Act stimulus funds on spending (instead of paying down debt or applying toward savings) reported putting some of that money toward rent payments. Data collected by the S. Census Bureau’s Pulse Survey supports this claim.
  • Judicial Branch announces a delay in the use of executions and law days: The Judicial Branch announced that the use of executions in summary process cases and post-foreclosure ejectments has been delayed until September 1. This means that no one can be removed from their home until September 1 or later because they lost their eviction or foreclosure case in court. In addition, the Judicial Branch announced that law days for foreclosures have been extended until September 9. The law day is the last day the homeowner owns their home.
  • Court issues guide to participating in court hearings remotely: The Judicial Branch issued 32 pages of guidance on how to participate in court hearings remotely for attorneys and self-represented parties. To participate, parties must have access to the internet and the Microsoft Teams app. Advocates are concerned that many low-income people will have difficulty participating in court hearings in the future.
  • Foreclosure sales halted until October 3, 2020: The Judicial Branch has issued an order postponing all upcoming foreclosure sales to October 3 in order to prevent the potential gathering of individuals at the auction site.
  • Serious mortgage delinquencies spiking among FHA borrowers. While overall forbearance requests have gone down as a result of some people returning to work and as a result of three-month forbearance periods expiring (including borrowers who obtained a forbearance under the Department of Banking’s program), mortgage delinquency numbers continue to rise. Homeowners with FHA mortgages – who tend to have low wealth and are disproportionately Black and Latinx – are becoming “seriously delinquent” (90+ days behind) at particularly high rates.

 

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. Long wait times deplete minutes on pay-as-you-use 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 the extended eviction moratorium
  • Landlords are raising rents in response to housing shortage cause by inflow of new residents into Connecticut and increased demand for socially distant student housing
  • 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

  • Addressing Racialized Trauma and Actively Engaging in Anti-Racism: Center staff is collaborating with partners from CCEH to host this free workshop on Thursday, July 30, 2020 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm. You can register for the webinar here.
  • Public Official Outreach: Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator Shaznene Hussain via 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.

Fair Housing Weekly Update on COVID-19

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

July 16, 2020

Tenant Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP):  The Department of Housing’s rental assistance program began accepting applications on July 15. To apply for assistance, 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. To report issues with the program, call us.

Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program (T-MAP):  CHFA’s program to assist homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage as the result of income loss due to COVID-19 began accepting applications on July 15. To apply for assistance, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here. To report issues with the program, call us.

Eviction moratorium:  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 due before February 29, 2020, no notices to quit may be served until Saturday, August 22, 2020. Please read our FAQs about the moratorium here in English and in Spanish.

What happened since July 9, 2020:

  •   The Judicial Branch has issued an order rescheduling all foreclosure sales from July to September to October 3 to prevent the potential gathering of individuals at the auction site.
  • : Approximately 15% of Connecticut’s labor force, or between 240,000 and 320,000 people, are set to lose enhanced unemployment benefits at the end of the month. The state Department of Labor has provided over $1.8 billion in benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect the state, but about two-thirds of it, the $1.135 billion paid out in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, is set to expire the week ending July 25. The loss in benefits will not only lead to less money to spend on rent or mortgage payments but will also affect Connecticut’s economy as a whole. For more on the amount of money paid out by Connecticut in unemployment benefits, click here.
  • According to state numbers, Black and Latino residents are more than three times as likely to test positive for COVID-19 as white people. Black people are more than two and a half times as likely to die from the disease and Latinos are more than one and a half times as likely. These disparities have not improved as the pandemic has progressed and by some measures have actually worsened. For more on this, click here. Additionally, new research confirms that residential segregation is a primary driver of racial health disparities and, consequently, the high rate of infection among people who are Black. Read more about this here.
  • New mortgage delinquencies hit a record high in April, well above anything seen during the Great Recession. More than 3.4% of homeowners were at least 30 days delinquent on their mortgages. Mortgage delinquencies are among the first signs of a weakness in the housing market. For more on this story, click here. A new policy brief issued by the National Consumer Law Center finds the disparity in delinquency rates is greatest for Black families. Black communities have yet to recover from the rampant foreclosures of the Great Recession. As of the first quarter of 2020, the Black homeownership rate is 44% compared to 74% for whites. This is a slight increase from the last quarter where the rate sunk to 40.6%, a level not seen since the 1960s. The looming foreclosure crisis threatens to decimate Black homeownership and destroy wealth for generations. For more information, click here.
  • Housing markets are considered more or less at risk based on the percentage of homes currently facing possible foreclosure, the portion of homes with mortgage balances that exceed the estimated property value, and the percentage of local wages required to pay for major home ownership expenses. Among the top 50 counties most at risk were five of Connecticut’s eight counties including Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, Tolland, and Windham Counties. For more information, click here.
  •   A hearing on the lack of police action in response to a car that drove through a group of protesters will begin at 7 p.m. on July 21. The meeting will be held in the community room of the Police Department at 200 Saw Mill Road, West Haven. Those who do not wish to give testimony in person can submit their comments in writing. To read about the problems encountered by protesters and the rules for submitting testimony, click here.

What we are hearing from our clients:

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

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. 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.)
  • 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.

Housing Rights of Transgender People in Connecticut

Connecticut Protects Housing Rights of Transgender Individuals (No Matter What the Federal Government Says)

Last week, the Trump Administration proposed a rule that would allow homeless shelter providers to discriminate against transgender individuals by allowing shelters to refuse to provide shelter in same-sex shelters in accordance with a person’s gender identity. This proposed rule would overturn Obama-era guidance that directed shelter providers to do the opposite.

Despite the Trump Administration’s continued assault on transgender individuals in health, education, employment, and housing, transgender individuals retain protected class status in Connecticut.

Since 2011, Connecticut has been one of few states in the nation that protects the civil rights of transgender individuals by prohibiting discrimination in housing. Connecticut’s anti-discrimination protections expressly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

Discrimination against transgender individuals can take many forms, and may include housing providers asking intrusive and unnecessary questions about body parts or surgeries, shelter providers insisting that a transgender person accept shelter in a facility that does not correspond with the individual’s gender identity, and housing providers’ refusal to use a transgender individual’s correct name or pronouns. Housing discrimination against transgender applicants can also include more subtle “discrimination with a smile” that may be harder to detect, such as quoting a higher rental amount or charging a larger security deposit, showing fewer or less desirable apartments, or misrepresenting the availability of an apartment.

Under Connecticut law, homeless shelters in the state are required to provide housing to individuals seeking shelter that corresponds to their gender identity, regardless of sex assigned at birth. For example, all women, whether transgender or cisgender, must be allowed into women’s shelters. These laws help protect the dignity and safety of transgender individuals in housing.

Despite the 2011 law, housing providers—including homeless shelters—have continued to discriminate based on gender identity and expression. A 2015 investigation performed by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center revealed discrimination based on gender identity or expression in 100% of the test cases.

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center subsequently provided fair housing training to staff of the homeless shelter system in Connecticut, which has led to a reduction in discrimination in subsequent investigations.

There is a real chance that the Trump Administration’s proposed rule will cause confusion in Connecticut and lead to increased discrimination against transgender individuals as they seek shelter in the state. All housing providers, including homeless shelters, must understand that in Connecticut, the law remains unchanged: Connecticut prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and expression and prohibits shelters from refusing to provide shelter in accordance with a person’s gender identity.

People who believe they have experienced discrimination can report the discrimination to the Connecticut Fair Housing Center by calling (860) 247-4400 or sending an email to info@ctfairhousing.org.


Fair Housing COVID-19 Response 6.30.20

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

June 30, 2020

Eviction moratorium extended:  Executive Order 7DDD issued by Governor Lamont, includes several changes from the press release issued on June 29, 2020. Executive Order 7DDD, states the following:

  • The eviction moratorium has been extended until August 22, 2020 not August 25.
  • A landlord is permitted to send a Notice to Quit for nonpayment of rent before August 22 but only if the period of nonpayment of rent was prior to February 29, 2020. No Notices to Quit for nonpayment of rent can be sent for the period March 1 – August 22, 2020 until after August 22, 2020.
  • Landlords cannot file a summary process complaint in court until after August 22, 2020.
  • If a tenant paid more than 1-month security deposit and the tenant has not used the security deposit to pay rent, the tenant may ask their landlords to use one month of their security deposit to pay rent.
  • Tenants are still required to pay rent for the months of March, April, May, June, July, and August.

Legislative Housing Committee Information hearing: The Connecticut Legislature’s Housing Committee held an informational hearing with Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera Bruno on Monday, June 29. Representative Brendan McGee asked the Commissioner about the Center’s letter to Governor Lamont regarding the segregation that will likely occur if the proposed rent relief program is not fully funded. To see the hearing, click here. Representative McGee’s questions to Commissioner Mosquera Bruno begin at minute 52.

Exclusionary Zoning in Connecticut:  In response to the many recent calls to end systemic racism, there have been several efforts to address the exclusionary zoning policies that have kept Connecticut so segregated. The Connecticut Mirror writes that Connecticut has the opportunity to address housing segregation but appears to be unwilling to move forward. The Partnership for Strong Communities hosted a training on exclusionary zoning for more than 200 people at which the Center’s staff reviewed the history of exclusionary zoning in the Connecticut and the effect it has had on segregation. The training also included several suggestions about how to end exclusionary policies. To view the training, click here. Finally, a group of planners, municipal officials, fair housing advocates, and professors led by Sara Bronin have been holding a series of discussions on ways to address exclusionary zoning in Connecticut and are now hosting a website which can be found at www.desegregatect.org.

Creation of a temporary rental housing assistance program:  In addition, Governor Lamont announced the create of a $10 million rental assistance program for Connecticut residents unable to their rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The priority for these funds will be lower-income households who have been denied unemployment insurance followed by other lower-income households.  No details as to when the program will begin or how to apply for the program have been announced.

Mortgage relief for homeowners unable to pay their mortgage:  The State is making $10 million available to provide mortgage relief to homeowners unable to pay their mortgage because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will be administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority. There has been no announcement regarding when the program will begin or how to apply.

Assistance for people who are undocumented:  The State is making $2.5 million available for rental assistance for people who do not qualify for the temporary rental housing assistance program because they do not have legal status. The program will be administered by the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants.  There has been no announcement regarding when the program will begin or how to apply.

For details on the programs designed to help people who are homeless get permanent housing as well as the programs that will provide eviction prevention counseling, read the press release referenced above.

Fair Housing COVID-19 Response 6.25.20

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

June 25, 2020

The State’s moratorium on evictions is set to expire on Tuesday, June 30 at midnight. This means that on Wednesday, July 1, landlords in Connecticut will once again be able to send Notices to Quit and to restart eviction cases that were in court on April 10 when the Governor issued the moratorium. Once Notices to Quit run out, landlords can start new eviction actions.

While the Judicial Branch is expanding its ability to hold hearings remotely, we do not yet know if this will extend to eviction actions. If you have an eviction case filed against you already, the Court may contact you to schedule a hearing. If you have questions about any communication from the Court regarding your eviction case, call Statewide Legal Services at (860) 344-0380.

If you receive a Notice to Quit and need legal assistance, call Statewide Legal Services at (860) 344-0380.

Check the Center’s website for updates on when and if the State will be providing rental assistance to people who cannot pay their rent as the result of COVID-19.

In addition, the Center’s website will include information regarding whether there is an extension of the eviction moratorium in Connecticut.

Important Deadline:  There is no extension for paying June rent. If you did not pay April rent, that is due in June also.

Call to Action:  Tenants in Connecticut are calling on Governor Lamont to stop all evictions indefinitely and cancel the obligation to pay rent. Connecticut leads the nation in income inequality, and this burden is disproportionately shouldered by Black and brown communities: nearly 60% of Black renters and 55% of Hispanic renters are cost-burdened compared 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.

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 shussian@ctfairhousing.org 

What happened since June 18, 2020:

  • Several cities and town have declared racism a public health emergency: At least 20 cities and three states across the country have declared racism a public health crisis. At the urging of State Senator Saud Anwar, Windsor was the first to act in Connecticut followed by Hartford, Bloomfield, and West Hartford. Health advocates around the state are now urging Governor Lamont to follow suit. For more information on what declaring racism a public health emergency means, click here.
  • Senate Democrats seek to expand agenda for Special Session: Connecticut’s Senate Democrats want to expand the issues which will be discussed if a Special Session of the Legislature is called to include not only police accountability issues and absentee ballots, but issues which people may not have been comfortable confronting before. Included in the Senators’ list is exclusionary zoning, a primary cause of segregation in Connecticut. For more on the Senate Democrats’ demands, click here.
  • Many mortgages in forbearance are now delinquent: Mortgage delinquencies which went up 90% in April, grew another 20.4% in May. As a result, the rate of delinquencies grew more than 130.8 points from May 2019. This is the highest delinquency rate since late 2011, in the middle of the Great Recession. For more information on mortgage delinquencies, click here and here.
  • Advocates seek more protections for homeowners while Banking Commissioner urges caution: Thousands of Connecticut mortgages are in forbearance and many more could go into foreclosure later this year and next. As a result, advocates have been asking the state to expand loan workout opportunities to homeowners left out by state and federal mortgage relief programs. The Department of Banking’s Commissioner, Jorge Perez, has told lawmakers to be cautious. For more on the story, click
  • Care about ending racism? Talk to your local zoning board: Connecticut Public Radio’s Where We Live held a session on the connection between racism and local zoning boards. Many local zoning boards vote to keep out affordable housing and the diverse group of people who live in affordable housing citing concerns about traffic or changing the character of the town. This has resulted in the hypersegregation we see in Connecticut today. To listen to this discussion, click here.
  • Call to Action: Tenants in Connecticut are calling on Governor Lamont to stop all evictions indefinitely and cancel the obligation to pay rent. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown, over 50% of renters across the state were cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Connecticut leads the nation in income inequality, and this burden is disproportionately shouldered by Black and brown communities: nearly 60% of Black renters and 55% of Hispanic renters are cost-burdened compared to 43% of white renters. For more information on tenants’ demands and to sign the petition, click here. To participate in the daily actions on Mondays and Wednesday, click here.

Outreach:  Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 housing resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Shaznene Hussain, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at Shussain@ctfairhousing.org

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

  • Click here to understand current tenant rent relief options in Spanish and English.
  • Click here to find more details in our tenant FAQ.
  • Click here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
  • Click here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Our guidance is now available in 11 languages.)
  • Need to have your subsidized rent recalculated due to income loss? The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • To sign up for our weekly update fill out the form

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.

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