Fair Housing COVID-19 Daily Response Efforts 4.7.2020

For a PDF view of this update click here.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

April 7, 2020

  • Have a question? Review our COVID-19 FAQ here.
  • Need to have your subsidized rent recalculated due to income loss? The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.

What happened on April 6, 2020:

  • No help for tenants who cannot pay rent: Tenants and advocates continue to ask for financial assistance or a rent forbearance similar to what has been given to homeowners. For more information about the difference between the assistance for homeowners v. what has been done for tenants, click here.
  • Request to expand and extend the eviction moratorium: The Center joined a letter drafted by New Haven Legal Assistance, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, and Community Legal Services that was sent to Governor Lamont asking that the current eviction moratorium be extended beyond May 1, 2020 and be expanded to include all of phases of an eviction action from sending Notices to Quit to filing a summary process case in court.  The letter can be found here.
  • Hotel for homeless falls through: The Department of Housing’s efforts to move people out of shelter and into hotels in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 was stopped by West Haven officials who demanded nearly $5,000 a day to hire two police officers to guard the hotel. This type of police presence is not required at any of the other shelters in the State nor is it required at any of the other hotels in West Haven. To read more, click here and here.
  • People with disabilities and their families: People with disabilities and their families face difficulties in coping with the crisis. The community of disability advocates, people with disabilities and their families have sent several letters to Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Attorney General alerting them to the legal requirement not to discriminate against people with disabilities. Copies of the letters can be accessed here. People with disabilities, their family members and advocates are asking that:
    • The State do what it can to stop new involuntary admissions to congregate settings through the process of civil commitment. Bringing new people into a setting where it is already difficult to prevent the spread of COVID19 does not make sense during the current pandemic. 
    • Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) stop pursuing probate court orders for involuntary treatment. If people are not taking meds voluntarily, forced administration of medications puts both staff and patients at additional risk of transmission during hands-on processes. 
    • People with disabilities be discharged to community settings with services and supports. 
    • People are housed in the least restrictive environment. 
    • Staff of groups homes be considered essential health care workers giving them priority for personal protective equipment and testing.
    • Competency restoration be done in the community rather than in a hospital setting. This request has already been made to the Judicial Branch.
    • The State provide legal services for people with mental disabilities when the State applies for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Act-COVID19 funding. 

For information on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting people with disabilities, their caretakes and their families, click here. For more information about the Connecticut Cross-Disability Lifespan Alliance request, please contact Melissa Marshall, at Melissa.marshall@snet.net. For more information about Disability Rights Connecticut, contact Bob Joondeph at bob.joondeph@disrightsct.org. For questions regarding the specific asks to DMHAS and the Judicial Branch outlined here, contact Kathy Flaherty, Connecticut Legal Rights Project at kflaherty@clrp.org.

  • FHA mortgage borrowers hard hit by COVID-19 economic shut down: A new survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association of 45% of mortgage servicers found that approximately 4.25% of FHA loans are in forbearance. In contrast, 69% of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans are in forbearance. 2.96% of private securities and other mortgages not covered by the CARES Act are in forbearance.  While these numbers will likely increase for all types of mortgages, FHA borrowers are having more trouble paying their mortgage than borrowers with other types of loans.  In addition, homeowners with loans serviced by non-bank mortgage servicers are have higher rates of forbearances. To see the full report on the survey, click here.
  • Outreach: Staff has produced a comprehensive FAQ for tenants and advocates on what how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting tenants and how to respond. The FAQs can be accessed here.
  • Outreach: Staff created a Rent Recalculation Request letter generator to help tenants living in subsidized housing ask that they rent be reduced as the result of a loss in come.  The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • Outreach: The Center’s website doubled the number of views it receives in one day to more than 1,241 unique views on COVID-19 resources.
  • Outreach: Staff distributed this daily housing update to over 600 advocates and had more than 600 unique hits on the update on our website.  If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.

 

What has NOT happened:

  • Help for tenants who cannot pay their rent, they are still receiving notices to quit and summary process complaints. As a result, tenants are likely to spread the coronavirus as they are forced from their homes and take refuge with family or friends or try to access homeless shelters. Effective assistance for tenants includes:
    • Money to pay rent or utility bills for people whose employment is affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Money for utility shut-off restoration once the moratorium ends and people are again faced with loss of utilities;
    • Stopping all of phases of the eviction process for all tenants including issuing notices to quit, filing of summary process actions, court hearings, eviction judgments, and court ordered move outs;
    • Prohibition of late fees;
    • Making automatic adjustments to subsidized rents;
    • Setting reasonable time limits on landlord access to rental units;
    • Creation of a rent bank to help tenants who have lost their jobs pay rent;
    • Announcing self-help evictions are not allowed now that the courts are closed.
    • Ensure judgments dismissing summary process cases are being entered.
    • Keeping the eviction moratorium in effect long enough to allow tenants whose income was reduced to apply for and obtain any relief benefits;
    • Additional lawyers to represent tenants in evictions and homeowners in foreclosure filed after the current moratoriums on filing new cases is lifted;
    • Housing counselors who can advise tenants and homeowners of the resources available to them to keep their homes after the current moratoriums are lifted as well as to avoid scams that may result in them losing money and their housing;
    • Additional mediators for Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to assist the homeowners who will be faced with foreclosure actions once the moratorium on filing new foreclosure cases is lifted;
  • Despite guidance from HUD on March 31, 2020, there has been no effort by housing authorities to notify their tenants of new procedures and requests for rent calculations during the current pandemic. A review of housing authority websites to determine what they were telling their tenants about COVID-19 procedures and whether there was any information in Spanish. The majority still have no information about changes to housing authority procedures in light of the current crisis. Click here for a summary of what we have found.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.

 

What we are learning from our clients

  • The majority of calls received by the Center and other housing advocates ask whether there is any assistance for tenants who cannot pay their rent.
  • Landlords continue to issue notices to quit.
  • Landlords continue to file summary process complaints. More than 700 new summary process cases have been filed since the governor declared a public health and civil preparedness emergency.
  • The Center’s Rent Recalculation Request tool has been used to request a rent recalculation more than 25 times since it was created on April 1, 2020. The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • Tenants continue to call because they are being asked to show their apartments to prospective tenants without regard to COVID-19 precautions. The Center is advising tenants that under Connecticut landlord/tenant laws they have the right to refuse entrance to anyone if it would cause a safety hazard.
  • Because not all mortgage servicers are participating in the federal or state forbearance programs, homeowners continue to receive notices of default.
  • Mortgage servicers continue to file foreclosure complaints.
  • Homeowners do not know what to do when they receive a foreclosure summons and complaint since many courts and court information centers are closed.
  • People without legal status continue to face deportation and are unable to access services to stay in their homes.
  • People who were laid off from their jobs as the result of the pandemic are moving in with parents and friends sometimes causing overcrowding or lease violations. Foreclosures of homeowners will now affect many more people.

Get Help

  • Tenants who cannot pay rent: The courts are closed for most matters but that has not stopped landlords from sending notices to quit or serving summary process complaints.  For questions about what to do or what will happen when a tenant does not pay rent, click here.
  • Subsidized tenants: Tenants living in subsidized housing or who pay their rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher can ask their landlords to recalculate the rent they pay if their income has gone down.  Click here to use the Center’s rent recalculation letter generator in Spanish and English.
  • Help for homeowners: No matter who provided the mortgage or who is servicing the loan, homeowners should contact the mortgage company and review its website for programs that may be available to help. You might also want to (1) contact a CHFA-approved housing counselor for assistance in learning about your options. Find contact information here; (2) call the Department of Banking’s Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance Hotline at 877-472-8313 for information about a broad range of programs; (3) request a copy of or review our guide for homeowners facing foreclosure. To request that a copy be mailed to you, click here or click here to view an on-line copy; and (4) when the public health emergency is lifted, attend one of our Home Mortgage classes. The schedule can be found here. You can also talk to an attorney through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • Health insurance: There is still time to enroll in Access Health CT to get health insurance.  This is a new Special Enrollment period that will be open through April 2, 2020. Enrollment is available by phone only.  The Access Health call center will be helping people enroll Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm. Dial 855-805-4325 (TTY: 1- 855-365-2428) to begin your enrollment.
  • Mental health: If you’re struggling with your mental health during this crisis, you are not alone. Text SHARE to 741741 for free, 24/7 support from the Crisis Text Line.
  • Domestic Violence: In Connecticut, we have a network of domestic violence programs that can be accessed 24/7 by calling 888-774-2900. The programs provide shelter for victims of domestic violence, as well as counseling and other support services.
  • Help with COVID-19 programs: To get help from a Hartford Courant reporter who is troubleshooting access to COVID-19 relief resources, click here.
  • Education: For help with on-line learning and the issues faced by people with limited access to education resources, click here.
  • Federal COVID-19 relief: For a list of assistance available from the federal government, click here. This page is updated frequently so continue to check back.
  • Assistance for people with disabilities: For people with disabilities, there is a list of resources here.
  • Report housing discrimination: Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.
  • COVID-19 resources in Connecticut: For a list of places to find help with anything from food pantries to legal assistance to energy assistance, click here.
  • Assistance applying for unemployment or Medicaid: For help applying for unemployment benefits or Medicaid: Several Trinity College students have volunteered to help people apply for unemployment benefits. Email them here: Wilson@trincoll.edu; Larisa.Bogomolov@trincoll.edu; Elizabeth.Morrison@trincoll.edu; or Rebecca.Pappas@trincoll.edu

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

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

 

Fair Housing COVID-19 Response Effort 4.6.2020

For a PDF view of this update click here.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

April 6, 2020

  • Have a question? Review our COVID-19 FAQ here.
  • Need to have your subsidized rent recalculated due to income loss? The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.

What happened on April 3, 2020:

  • No help for tenants who cannot pay rent: Tenants and advocates continue to ask for financial assistance or a rent forbearance similar to what has been given to homeowners. For more information about the difference between the assistance for homeowners v. what has been done for tenants, click here.
  • Request to expand and extend the eviction moratorium: The Center, along with Connecticut Legal Services, New Haven Legal Assistance, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Open Communities Alliance, and the Yale Law School Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization sent a letter to Judge Patrick Carroll, Chief Court Administrator of the Connecticut Judicial Branch asking that the current eviction moratorium be extended beyond May 1, 2020 and be expanded to include all of phases of an eviction action from sending Notices to Quit to filing a summary process case in court.  The letter can be found here.
  • Housing authorities asked to help their tenants: The Center sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Department of Housing asking that she tell the State’s housing authorities to provide the assistance their tenants need during this time of crisis. A copy of that letter can be found here. The request was made in response to a letter sent by ConnNAHRO, the organization which represents all of Connecticut’s housing authority.  You can read that letter here.
  • HUD guidance to housing authorities: The Department of Housing and Urban Development sent guidance to housing authorities receiving federal funding that encourages housing authorities to consider what types of functions it can do remotely like recertifications and rent reductions as well as encouraging housing authorities not to evict tenants who cannot pay the rent. The guidance can be found here.
  • Housing inspections in Hartford: Mayor Luke Bronin of Hartford announced that the City’s building inspectors will be limiting on-site inspections for occupied, private residences to emergencies only, including but not limited no heat or water, carbon monoxide issues, and responding to fires. The City is still in the process of determining if other inspections can be done remotely.  For more information on Hartford City services, click here.
  • Outreach: Staff co-hosted a webinar last week to over 450 individuals answering their questions about how to protect tenants against homelessness. The webinar was co-hosted with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, Connecticut Legal Services, and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness.
  • Outreach: Staff has produced a comprehensive FAQ for tenants and advocates on what how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting tenants and how to respond. The FAQs can be accessed here.
  • Outreach: Staff created a Rent Recalculation Request letter generator to help tenants living in subsidized housing ask that they rent be reduced as the result of a loss in come.  The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • Outreach: The Center’s website doubled the number of views it receives in one day to more than 1,241 unique views on COVID-19 resources.
  • Outreach: Staff distributed this daily housing update to over 600 advocates and had more than 600 unique hits on the update on our website.  If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.

 

What has NOT happened:

  • Help for tenants who cannot pay their rent, they are still receiving notices to quit and summary process complaints. As a result, tenants are likely to spread the coronavirus as they are forced from their homes and take refuge with family or friends or try to access homeless shelters. Effective assistance for tenants includes:
    • Money to pay rent or utility bills for people whose employment is affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Money for utility shut-off restoration once the moratorium ends and people are again faced with loss of utilities;
    • Stopping all of phases of the eviction process for all tenants including issuing notices to quit, filing of summary process actions, court hearings, eviction judgments, and court ordered move outs;
    • Prohibition of late fees;
    • Making automatic adjustments to subsidized rents;
    • Setting reasonable time limits on landlord access to rental units;
    • Creation of a rent bank to help tenants who have lost their jobs pay rent;
    • Announcing self-help evictions are not allowed now that the courts are closed.
    • Ensure judgments dismissing summary process cases are being entered.
    • Keeping the eviction moratorium in effect long enough to allow tenants whose income was reduced to apply for and obtain any relief benefits;
    • Additional lawyers to represent tenants in evictions and homeowners in foreclosure filed after the current moratoriums on filing new cases is lifted;
    • Housing counselors who can advise tenants and homeowners of the resources available to them to keep their homes after the current moratoriums are lifted as well as to avoid scams that may result in them losing money and their housing;
    • Additional mediators for Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to assist the homeowners who will be faced with foreclosure actions once the moratorium on filing new foreclosure cases is lifted;
  • Despite guidance from HUD on March 31, 2020, there has been no effort by housing authorities to notify their tenants of new procedures and requests for rent calculations during the current pandemic. A review of housing authority websites to determine what they were telling their tenants about COVID-19 procedures and whether there was any information in Spanish. The majority still have no information about changes to housing authority procedures in light of the current crisis. Click here for a summary of what we have found.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.

What we are learning from our clients

  • The majority of calls received by the Center and other housing advocates ask whether there is any assistance for tenants who cannot pay their rent.
  • Landlords continue to issue notices to quit.
  • Landlords continue to file summary process complaints. More than 700 new summary process cases have been filed since the governor declared a public health and civil preparedness emergency.
  • Tenants continue to call because they are being asked to show their apartments to prospective tenants without regard to COVID-19 precautions. The Center is advising tenants that under Connecticut landlord/tenant laws they have the right to refuse entrance to anyone if it would cause a safety hazard.
  • Because not all mortgage servicers are participating in the federal or state forbearance programs, homeowners continue to receive notices of default.
  • Mortgage servicers continue to file foreclosure complaints.
  • Homeowners do not know what to do when they receive a foreclosure summons and complaint since many courts and court information centers are closed.
  • People without legal status continue to face deportation and are unable to access services to stay in their homes.
  • People who were laid off from their jobs as the result of the pandemic are moving in with parents and friends sometimes causing overcrowding or lease violations. Foreclosures of homeowners will now affect many more people.

 

Get Help

 

  • Tenants who cannot pay rent: The courts are closed for most matters but that has not stopped landlords from sending notices to quit or serving summary process complaints.  For questions about what to do or what will happen when a tenant does not pay rent, click here.
  • Subsidized tenants: Tenants living in subsidized housing or who pay their rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher can ask their landlords to recalculate the rent they pay if their income has gone down.  Click here to use the Center’s rent recalculation letter generator in Spanish and English.
  • Help for homeowners: No matter who provided the mortgage or who is servicing the loan, homeowners should contact the mortgage company and review its website for programs that may be available to help. You might also want to (1) contact a CHFA-approved housing counselor for assistance in learning about your options. Find contact information here; (2) call the Department of Banking’s Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance Hotline at 877-472-8313 for information about a broad range of programs; (3) request a copy of or review our guide for homeowners facing foreclosure. To request that a copy be mailed to you, click here or click here to view an on-line copy; and (4) when the public health emergency is lifted, attend one of our Home Mortgage classes. The schedule can be found here. You can also talk to an attorney through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • Health insurance: There is still time to enroll in Access Health CT to get health insurance.  This is a new Special Enrollment period that will be open through April 2, 2020. Enrollment is available by phone only.  The Access Health call center will be helping people enroll Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm. Dial 855-805-4325 (TTY: 1- 855-365-2428) to begin your enrollment.
  • Mental health: If you’re struggling with your mental health during this crisis, you are not alone. Text SHARE to 741741 for free, 24/7 support from the Crisis Text Line.
  • Domestic Violence: In Connecticut, we have a network of domestic violence programs that can be accessed 24/7 by calling 888-774-2900. The programs provide shelter for victims of domestic violence, as well as counseling and other support services.
  • Help with COVID-19 programs: To get help from a Hartford Courant reporter who is troubleshooting access to COVID-19 relief resources, click here.
  • Education: For help with on-line learning and the issues faced by people with limited access to education resources, click here.
  • Federal COVID-19 relief: For a list of assistance available from the federal government, click here. This page is updated frequently so continue to check back.
  • Assistance for people with disabilities: For people with disabilities, there is a list of resources here.
  • Report housing discrimination: Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.
  • COVID-19 resources in Connecticut: For a list of places to find help with anything from food pantries to legal assistance to energy assistance, click here.
  • Assistance applying for unemployment or Medicaid: For help applying for unemployment benefits or Medicaid: Several Trinity College students have volunteered to help people apply for unemployment benefits. Email them here: Wilson@trincoll.edu; Larisa.Bogomolov@trincoll.edu; Elizabeth.Morrison@trincoll.edu; or Rebecca.Pappas@trincoll.edu

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

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

 

Fair Housing COVID-19 Response 4.3.2020

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

April 3, 2020

  • Have a question? Review our COVID-19 FAQ here.
  • Need to have your subsidized rent recalculated due to income loss? The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.

What happened on April 2, 2020:

  • No help for tenants who cannot pay rent: Tenants and advocates continue to ask for financial assistance or a rent forbearance similar to what has been given to homeowners. For more information about the difference between the assistance for homeowners v. what has been done for tenants, click here. Additional reporting on this issue by NBC Connecticut can be found here.
  • Help for small businesses and nonprofits: At 9 p.m. on April 2, 2020 the Small Business Administration issued new guidance and new application procedures. Most banks are still trying to determine how to administer the program. For more information, check here.
  • Outreach: Staff has produced a comprehensive FAQ for tenants and advocates on what how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting tenants and how to respond.  The FAQs can be accessed here.
  • Outreach: Staff created a Rent Recalculation Request letter generator to help tenants living in subsidized housing ask that they rent be reduced as the result of a loss in come.  The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • Outreach: The Center’s website doubled the number of views it receives in one day to more than 1,241 unique views on COVID-19 resources.
  • Outreach: Staff distributed this daily housing update to over 500 advocates and had more than 500 unique hits on the update on our website.  If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.

 

What has NOT happened:

  • Help for tenants who cannot pay their rent, they are still receiving notices to quit and summary process complaints. As a result, tenants are likely to spread the coronavirus as they are forced from their homes and take refuge with family or friends or try to access homeless shelters. Effective assistance for tenants includes:
    • Money to pay rent or utility bills for people whose employment is affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Money for utility shut-off restoration once the moratorium ends and people are again faced with loss of utilities;
    • Stopping all of phases of the eviction process for all tenants including issuing notices to quit, filing of summary process actions, court hearings, eviction judgments, and court ordered move outs;
    • Prohibition of late fees;
    • Making automatic adjustments to subsidized rents;
    • Setting reasonable time limits on landlord access to rental units;
    • Creation of a rent bank to help tenants who have lost their jobs pay rent;
    • Announcing self-help evictions are not allowed now that the courts are closed.
    • Ensure judgments dismissing summary process cases are being entered.
    • Keeping the eviction moratorium in effect long enough to allow tenants whose income was reduced to apply for and obtain any relief benefits;
    • Additional lawyers to represent tenants in evictions and homeowners in foreclosure filed after the current moratoriums on filing new cases is lifted;
    • Housing counselors who can advise tenants and homeowners of the resources available to them to keep their homes after the current moratoriums are lifted as well as to avoid scams that may result in them losing money and their housing;
    • Additional mediators for Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to assist the homeowners who will be faced with foreclosure actions once the moratorium on filing new foreclosure cases is lifted;
  • There has been no effort to get housing authorities to notify their tenants of new procedures and requests for rent calculations during the current pandemic. A review of housing authority websites to determine what they were telling their tenants about COVID-19 procedures and whether there was any information in Spanish. The majority still have no information about changes to housing authority procedures in light of the current crisis. Click here for a summary of what we have found.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.

What we are learning from our clients

  • The majority of calls received by the Center and other housing advocates ask whether there is any assistance for tenants who cannot pay their rent.
  • Tenants continue to call because they are being asked to show their apartments to prospective tenants without regard to COVID-19 precautions. The Center is advising tenants that under Connecticut landlord/tenant laws they have the right to refuse entrance to anyone if it would cause a safety hazard.
  • Landlords continue to issue notices to quit.
  • Landlords continue to file summary process complaints. 700 new summary process cases have been filed since the governor issued an order closing Connecticut’s courts.
  • Because not all mortgage servicers are participating in the federal or state forbearance programs, homeowners continue to receive notices of default.
  • Mortgage servicers continue to file foreclosure complaints.
  • Homeowners do not know what to do when they receive a foreclosure summons and complaint since many courts and court information centers are closed.
  • People without legal status continue to face deportation and are unable to access services to stay in their homes.
  • People who were laid off from their jobs as the result of the pandemic are moving in with parents and friends sometimes causing overcrowding or lease violations. Foreclosures of homeowners will now affect many more people.

 

Get Help

  • Tenants who cannot pay rent: The courts are closed for most matters but that has not stopped landlords from sending notices to quit or serving summary process complaints.  For questions about what to do or what will happen when a tenant does not pay rent, click here.
  • Subsidized tenants: Tenants living in subsidized housing or who pay their rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher can ask their landlords to recalculate the rent they pay if their income has gone down.  Click here to use the Center’s rent recalculation letter generator in Spanish and English.
  • Help for homeowners: No matter who provided the mortgage or who is servicing the loan, homeowners should contact the mortgage company and review its website for programs that may be available to help. You might also want to (1) contact a CHFA-approved housing counselor for assistance in learning about your options. Find contact information here; (2) call the Department of Banking’s Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance Hotline at 877-472-8313 for information about a broad range of programs; (3) request a copy of or review our guide for homeowners facing foreclosure. To request that a copy be mailed to you, click here or click here to view an on-line copy; and (4) when the public health emergency is lifted, attend one of our Home Mortgage classes. The schedule can be found here or talk to an attorney through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • Health insurance: There is still time to enroll in Access Health CT to get health insurance.  This is a new Special Enrollment period that will be open through April 2, 2020. Enrollment is available by phone only.  The Access Health call center will be helping people enroll Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm. Dial 855-805-4325 (TTY: 1- 855-365-2428) to begin your enrollment.
  • Mental health: If you’re struggling with your mental health during this crisis, you are not alone. Text SHARE to 741741 for free, 24/7 support from the Crisis Text Line.
  • Domestic Violence: In Connecticut, we have a network of domestic violence programs that can be accessed 24/7 by calling 888-774-2900. The programs provide shelter for victims of domestic violence, as well as counseling and other support services.
  • Help with COVID-19 programs: To get help from a Hartford Courant reporter who is troubleshooting access to COVID-19 relief resources, click here.
  • Education: For help with on-line learning and the issues faced by people with limited access to education resources, click here.
  • Federal COVID-19 relief: For a list of assistance available from the federal government, click here. This page is updated frequently so continue to check back.
  • Assistance for people with disabilities: For people with disabilities, there is a list of resources here.
  • Report housing discrimination: Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.
  • COVID-19 resources in Connecticut: For a list of places to find help with anything from food pantries to legal assistance to energy assistance, click here.
  • Assistance applying for unemployment or Medicaid: For help applying for unemployment benefits or Medicaid: Several Trinity College students have volunteered to help people apply for unemployment benefits. Email them here: Wilson@trincoll.edu; Larisa.Bogomolov@trincoll.edu; Elizabeth.Morrison@trincoll.edu; or Rebecca.Pappas@trincoll.edu

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

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

Fair Housing COVID-19 Response Efforts 4.2.20

For a PDF view of this update click here.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

April 2, 2020

  • Have a question? Review our COVID-19 FAQ here.
  • Need to have your subsidized rent recalculated due to income loss? The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.

What happened on April 1, 2020:

  • Outreach: Executive Director, Erin Kemple, did an interview with News 12 Connecticut regarding the problems tenants are facing in paying rent.  You can see the interview here.
  • Outreach: Staff has produced a comprehensive FAQ for tenants and advocates on what how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting tenants and how to respond.  The FAQs can be accessed here.
  • Outreach: Staff created a Rent Recalculation Request letter generator to help tenants living in subsidized housing ask that they rent be reduced as the result of a loss in come.  The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • Municipal Tax Sales: The Governor has ordered that all municipal tax sales (via Executive Order 7S) – out-of-court foreclosure actions for unpaid taxes – be postponed till no earlier than 30 days after the end of the civil preparedness and public health emergency. He has also extended all redemption periods associated with tax sales that already happened for the length of the emergencies. More than 100 municipalities conduct tax foreclosures through this method (rather than going through the courts), and five had tax sales planned for April till the Governor had issued his order.
  • Evictions: As of 3.11.2020 when the COVID-19 public health care crisis hit Connecticut 700 evictions have been filed with Connecticut’s courts, 516 have been filed since 3.16.2020 when the State’s judicial department halted the issuance of executions. 
  • Help for nonprofits addressing the COVID-19 crisis: A group of Connecticut philanthropists has raised $10 million and formed a nonprofit charitable organization to aid people who are experiencing hardship as a result of the coronavirus and its associated shutdown of businesses. For more information, click here.
  • Legislative session: For information on effect of COVID-19 on the 2020 legislative session, click here.
  • Real estate tax forbearance, and collection actions: The Governor’s Executive Order 7S requires municipalities (1) to relax documentation requirements for property tax exemptions for the elderly and (2) to enact one or both of two options for providing temporary tax forbearance of property tax collection and reduced interest on delinquent tax payments to property owners under certain conditions, including that landlords agree extend commensurate forbearance to commercial, residential, or institutional tenants for the duration of the deferment.
  • Outreach: The Center’s website doubled the number of views it receives in one day to more than 1,241 unique views on COVID-19 resources.
  • Outreach: Staff distributed this daily housing update to over 500 advocates and have more than 600 unique hits daily on the update on our website.  If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.

What has NOT happened:

  • Help for tenants who cannot pay their rent, they are still receiving notices to quit and summary process complaints. As a result, tenants are likely to spread the coronavirus as they are forced from their homes and take refuge with family or friends or try to access homeless shelters. Effective assistance for tenants includes:
    • Money to pay rent or utility bills for people whose employment is affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Money for utility shut-off restoration once the moratorium ends and people are again faced with loss of utilities;
    • Stopping all of phases of the eviction process for all tenants including issuing notices to quit, filing of summary process actions, court hearings, eviction judgments, and court ordered move outs;
    • Prohibition of late fees;
    • Making automatic adjustments to subsidized rents;
    • Setting reasonable time limits on landlord access to rental units;
    • Creation of a rent bank to help tenants who have lost their jobs pay rent;
    • Announcing self-help evictions are not allowed now that the courts are closed.
    • Ensure judgments dismissing summary process cases are being entered.
    • Keeping the eviction moratorium in effect long enough to allow tenants whose income was reduced to apply for and obtain any relief benefits;
    • Additional lawyers to represent tenants in evictions and homeowners in foreclosure filed after the current moratoriums on filing new cases is lifted;
    • Housing counselors who can advise tenants and homeowners of the resources available to them to keep their homes after the current moratoriums are lifted as well as to avoid scams that may result in them losing money and their housing;
    • Additional mediators for Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to assist the homeowners who will be faced with foreclosure actions once the moratorium on filing new foreclosure cases is lifted;
  • There has been no effort to get housing authorities to notify their tenants of new procedures and requests for rent calculations during the current pandemic. A review of housing authority websites to determine what they were telling their tenants about COVID-19 procedures and whether there was any information in Spanish. The majority still have no information about changes to housing authority procedures in light of the current crisis. Click here for a summary of what we have found.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.

What we are learning from our clients

  • Tenants continue to call because they are being asked to show their apartments to prospective tenants without regard to COVID-19 precautions. The Center is advising tenants that under Connecticut landlord/tenant laws they have the right to refuse entrance to anyone if it would cause a safety hazard.
  • Tenants continue to call the Center asking if they will be evicted because they have been laid off, are not receiving unemployment benefits yet, and are unable to pay the rent.
  • Landlords continue to issue notices to quit.
  • Landlords continue to file summary process complaints. 700 new summary process cases have been filed since the governor issued an order closing Connecticut’s courts.
  • Real estate agents have contacted the Center saying they will not show units to people who are infected or who the agents suspect are infected with the virus.
  • Tenants with housing choice vouchers are having difficulty being recertified or porting their vouchers.
  • Mortgage servicers continue to file foreclosure complaints.
  • People without legal status continue to face deportation and are unable to access services to stay in their homes.
  • People who were laid off from their jobs as the result of the pandemic are moving in with parents and friends sometimes causing overcrowding or lease violations. Foreclosures of homeowners will now affect many more people.

Get Help

  • Tenants who cannot pay rent: The courts are closed for most matters but that has not stopped landlords from sending notices to quit or serving summary process complaints.  For questions about what to do or what will happen when a tenant does not pay rent, click here.
  • Subsidized tenants: Tenants living in subsidized housing or who pay their rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher can ask their landlords to recalculate the rent they pay if their income has gone down.  Click here to use the Center’s rent recalculation letter generator in Spanish and English.
  • Help for homeowners: No matter who provided the mortgage or who is servicing the loan, homeowners should contact the mortgage company and review its website for programs that may be available to help. You might also want to (1) contact a CHFA-approved housing counselor for assistance in learning about your options. Find contact information here; (2) call the Department of Banking’s Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance Hotline at 877-472-8313 for information about a broad range of programs; (3) request a copy of or review our guide for homeowners facing foreclosure. To request that a copy be mailed to you, click here or click here to view an on-line copy; and (4) when the public health emergency is lifted, attend one of our Home Mortgage classes. The schedule can be found here or talk to an attorney through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • Health insurance: There is still time to enroll in Access Health CT to get health insurance.  This is a new Special Enrollment period that will be open through April 2, 2020. Enrollment is available by phone only.  The Access Health call center will be helping people enroll Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm. Dial 855-805-4325 (TTY: 1- 855-365-2428) to begin your enrollment.
  • Mental health: If you’re struggling with your mental health during this crisis, you are not alone. Text SHARE to 741741 for free, 24/7 support from the Crisis Text Line.
  • Domestic Violence: In Connecticut, we have a network of domestic violence programs that can be accessed 24/7 by calling 888-774-2900. The programs provide shelter for victims of domestic violence, as well as counseling and other support services.
  • Help with COVID-19 programs: To get help from a Hartford Courant reporter who is troubleshooting access to COVID-19 relief resources, click here.
  • Education: For help with on-line learning and the issues faced by people with limited access to education resources, click here.
  • Federal COVID-19 relief: For a list of assistance available from the federal government, click here. This page is updated frequently so continue to check back.
  • Assistance for people with disabilities: For people with disabilities, there is a list of resources here.
  • Report housing discrimination: Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.
  • COVID-19 resources in Connecticut: For a list of places to find help with anything from food pantries to legal assistance to energy assistance, click here.
  • Assistance applying for unemployment or Medicaid: For help applying for unemployment benefits or Medicaid: Several Trinity College students have volunteered to help people apply for unemployment benefits. Email them here: Wilson@trincoll.edu; Larisa.Bogomolov@trincoll.edu; Elizabeth.Morrison@trincoll.edu; or Rebecca.Pappas@trincoll.edu

 

 

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

 

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

Fair Housing COVID-19 Response Efforts 4.1.20

For a PDF view of this update click here.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

April 1, 2020

*Register for our webinar at 1:00 pm EDT tomorrow with Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Connecticut Legal Services, and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities on Eviction and Discrimination Concerns During the COVID-19 Crisis. Register for the webinar here.

What happened on March 31, 2020:

  • Help for homeowners with Connecticut mortgages: Governor Lamont announced that many banks and credit unions in Connecticut have implemented a voluntary plan to help homeowners that expands their current forbearance programs.  Forbearance programs are short-term relief programs that temporarily stop late fees and new foreclosure actions from being filed. Similar programs were already in place for federally backed loans.  For more information about them, click here. This announcement only covers loans that are not federally backed and only loans that were not covered by what these banks and credit unions already offer their consumers. It does not apply to any loans from private investors. In addition, more than half of Connecticut mortgages are serviced by national banks or “non-bank” mortgage companies that are not participating in this initiative. For additional information about the program announced by the governor, click here.
  • Summary of help for homeowners:
  • Connecticut’s Judicial Branch has implemented prohibitions on completing foreclosure actions for loans that are in foreclosure now. Click here for more.
  • Most banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies are already prohibited by federal law from starting a foreclosure action till 120 days after the first missed mortgage payment. Accordingly, if a homeowner misses their April payment, the lender or servicer cannot serve a foreclosure complaint until the very end of July or beginning of August, at the earliest. See the Center’s guide for homeowners if you have more questions about foreclosure.
  • The program announced by the Governor offers short-term relief on payments. It does not include a loan modification component that would assist people who are facing more than a few months of hardship, nor does it apply to many borrowers who may have missed payments already, nor does it include a commitment to increase staffing to address the increase in calls from homeowners in financial distress.
  • Tenants who cannot pay rent on April 1 due to COVID-19 income loss: Do not vacate your unit. Stay in your house. Communicate with your landlord in writing about your inability to pay rent because of job loss due to the pandemic. Attempt to develop and negotiate a repayment plan for when you are able to access unemployment benefits, or other social relief options available. Submit this repayment plan in writing to your landlord. If your landlord attempts to force you out of your unit with harassment call the Connecticut Fair Housing Center (860) 247-4400. If you landlord locks you out call the police.
  • Tenants living in subsidized housing and need their rent recalculated: Tenants living in subsidized housing or who pay their rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher can ask their landlords, voucher administrators or public housing authority to recalculate the rent they pay if their income has gone down.  Click here to use the Center’s rent recalculation letter generator in Spanish and English.
  • Outreach: Staff distributed this daily housing update to over 500 advocates and had more than 500 unique hits on the update on our website.  If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.
  • Outreach: Staff produced a comprehensive FAQ here that answers your questions about evictions, lockouts, and leases agreements during the COVID-19 public health care crisis. Click here to review the FAQ.
  • Outreach: We are hosting a webinar tomorrow with the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Connecticut Legal Services, and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities on Eviction and Discrimination Concerns During the COVID-19 Crisis. Register for the webinar

 

What has NOT happened:

  • An effective eviction moratorium that includes:
    • Stopping all of phases of the eviction process including issuing notices to quit, filing of summary process actions, court hearings, eviction judgments, and court ordered move outs;
    • Prohibition of late fees;
    • Covering all tenants;
    • Setting reasonable time limits on landlord access to rental units;
    • Keeping the eviction moratorium in effect long enough to allow tenants whose income was reduced to apply for and obtain any relief benefits.

For more information regarding an effective eviction moratorium, click here.

  • The state and federal governments have not announced they will:
    • Create a rent bank to help tenants who have lost their jobs pay rent. The $1,200 payment under the CARES Act will not allow most people in Connecticut to pay rent and pay for necessities.
    • Ensure judgments dismissing summary process cases are being entered.
    • Announce self-help evictions are not allowed now that the courts are closed.
    • Make automatic adjustments to subsidized rents by April 1 as suggested here.
  • While the CARES Act gives some new protections for tenants in federally subsidized housing, the State has not:
    • Placed a moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a tenant is late paying the rent.
    • Placed a moratorium on the service of notices to quit.
    • Placed a moratorium on the service or filing of summary process complaints.
  • The federal stimulus package and state relief package do not include funding for:
    • Money to pay rent or utility bills for people whose employment is affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Money for utility shut-off restoration once the moratorium ends and people are again faced with loss of utilities;
    • Additional lawyers to represent tenants in evictions and homeowners in foreclosure filed after the current moratoriums on filing new cases is lifted;
    • Housing counselors who can advise tenants and homeowners of the resources available to them to keep their homes after the current moratoriums are lifted as well as to avoid scams that may result in them losing money and their housing;
    • Additional mediators for Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to assist the homeowners who will be faced with foreclosure actions once the moratorium on filing new foreclosure cases is lifted;
    • Nonprofits who have shifted their priorities to serve low-income people affected by the COVID-19 crisis but do not have funding to do so.
  • There has been no effort to get housing authorities to notify their tenants of new procedures and requests for rent calculations during the current pandemic. A review of housing authority websites to determine what they were telling their tenants about COVID-19 procedures and whether there was any information in Spanish. The majority still have no information about changes to housing authority procedures in light of the current crisis. Click here for a summary of what we have found.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.

 

What we are learning from our clients

 

  • Tenants continue to call because they are being asked to show their apartments to prospective tenants without regard to COVID-19 precautions. The Center is advising tenants that under Connecticut landlord/tenant laws they have the right to refuse entrance to anyone if it would cause a safety hazard.
  • Tenants continue to call the Center asking if they will be evicted because they have been laid off, are not receiving unemployment benefits yet, and are unable to pay the rent.
  • Landlords continue to issue notices to quit.
  • Landlords continue to file summary process complaints.
  • Real estate agents have contacted the Center saying they will not show units to people who are infected or who the agents suspect are infected with the virus.
  • Tenants with housing choice vouchers are having difficulty being recertified or porting their vouchers.
  • Mortgage servicers continue to file foreclosure complaints.
  • Towns continue to schedule tax auctions which would result in homeowners losing their homes; five towns have auctions scheduled for April.
  • People without legal status continue to face deportation and are unable to access services to stay in their homes.
  • People who were laid off from their jobs as the result of the pandemic are moving in with parents and friends sometimes causing overcrowding or lease violations. Foreclosures of homeowners will now affect many more people.

 

Get Help

  • List of open court houses click here.
  • Tenants who cannot pay rent: The courts are closed for most matters but that has not stopped landlords from sending notices to quit or serving summary process complaints.  For questions about what to do or what will happen when a tenant does not pay rent, click here.
  • Subsidized tenants: Tenants living in subsidized housing or who pay their rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher can ask their landlords to recalculate the rent they pay if their income has gone down.  Click here to use the Center’s rent recalculation letter generator in Spanish and English.
  • Help for homeowners: No matter who provided the mortgage or who is servicing the loan, homeowners should contact the mortgage company and review its website for programs that may be available to help. You might also want to (1) contact a CHFA-approved housing counselor for assistance in learning about your options. Find contact information here; (2) call the Department of Banking’s Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance Hotline at 877-472-8313 for information about a broad range of programs; (3) request a copy of or review our guide for homeowners facing foreclosure. To request that a copy be mailed to you, click here or click here to view an on-line copy; and (4) when the public health emergency is lifted, attend one of our Home Mortgage classes. The schedule can be found here or talk to an attorney through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program. Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • Health insurance: There is still time to enroll in Access Health CT to get health insurance.  This is a new Special Enrollment period that will be open through April 2, 2020. Enrollment is available by phone only.  The Access Health call center will be helping people enroll Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm. Dial 855-805-4325 (TTY: 1- 855-365-2428) to begin your enrollment.
  • Mental health: If you’re struggling with your mental health during this crisis, you are not alone. Text SHARE to 741741 for free, 24/7 support from the Crisis Text Line.
  • Domestic Violence: In Connecticut, we have a network of domestic violence programs that can be accessed 24/7 by calling 888-774-2900. The programs provide shelter for victims of domestic violence, as well as counseling and other support services.
  • Help with COVID-19 programs: To get help from a Hartford Courant reporter who is troubleshooting access to COVID-19 relief resources, click here.
  • Education: For help with on-line learning and the issues faced by people with limited access to education resources, click here.
  • Federal COVID-19 relief: For a list of assistance available from the federal government, click here. This page is updated frequently so continue to check back.
  • Assistance for people with disabilities: For people with disabilities, there is a list of resources here.
  • Report housing discrimination: Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.
  • COVID-19 resources in Connecticut: For a list of places to find help with anything from food pantries to legal assistance to energy assistance, click here.
  • Assistance applying for unemployment or Medicaid: For help applying for unemployment benefits or Medicaid: Several Trinity College students have volunteered to help people apply for unemployment benefits. Email them here: Wilson@trincoll.edu; Larisa.Bogomolov@trincoll.edu; Elizabeth.Morrison@trincoll.edu; or Rebecca.Pappas@trincoll.edu

 

 

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

 

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

 

Request Rent Recalculation

If you live in low-income public housing or have a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) and you have lost income due to the Covid-19 health emergency, you can use this website to send a letter to the housing authority to report a change in your income and request that your rent be recalculated: https://ctfairhousing.org/rent/.

Fair Housing COVID-19 Response Efforts 3.31.20

For a PDF view of this update click here.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

March 31, 2020

What happened on March 30, 2020:

  • Tenants living in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) housing: In response to the COVID-19 crisis, CFHA issued guidance to owners and manager of LIHTC housing that states:
    • To the extent possible, annual recertifications will proceed;
    • Annual recertification interviews will be conducted by telephone, teleconference, email or video conferencing;
    • If annual recertification is delayed or postponed due to COVID-19, this should be documented in a tenant’s file;
    • Owners and managers can accept electronic documents as part of the tenant recertification process;
    • Tenant Income Certification (TIC) signatures can be obtained electronically;
    • 3rd party verification of income remains the preferred method.  However, if they are not available, the file should notate attempts to obtain 3rd party verifications and why alternative procedures are being conducted; all procedural changes that are attributable to COVID-19 should be clearly documented in each file. For new move-ins, multiple alternative forms of verification to ensure eligibility should be obtained (i.e., pay stubs, self -certification, tax returns);
  • Access to food:  Travelers has repurposed its kitchen facilities to assist nonprofits in the preparation and delivery of meals through Hands on Hartford and Meals on Wheels.
  • People who are homeless: The State of Connecticut is rapidly moving people to hotels to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness hopes to relocate at least 1,000 people to hotels. You can read more about efforts to keep people who are homeless and the staff who care from them safe by clicking here.
  • Outreach: Staff distributed this daily housing update to over 500 advocates and had more than 600 unique hits on the update on our website.  If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.
  • Outreach: Staff is producing a comprehensive FAQ for tenants and advocates. We are providing answers to the questions we are hearing from clients. We will continue to update this list, see the beginning of this list here. 

What has NOT happened:

  • An effective eviction moratorium that includes:
    • Stopping all of phases of the eviction process including issuing notices to quit, filing of summary process actions, court hearings, eviction judgments, and court ordered move outs;
    • Prohibition of late fees;
    • Covering all tenants;
    • Setting reasonable time limits on landlord access to rental units;
    • Keeping the eviction moratorium in effect long enough to allow tenants whose income was reduced to apply for and obtain any relief benefits.

For more information regarding an effective eviction moratorium, click here.

  • The state and federal government have not announced they will:
    • Create a rent bank to help tenants who have lost their jobs pay rent. The $1,200 payment under the CARES Act will not allow most people in Connecticut to pay rent and pay for necessities.
    • Ensure judgments dismissing summary process cases are being entered.
    • Announce self-help evictions are not allowed now that the courts are closed.
    • Make automatic adjustments to subsidized rents by April 1 as suggested here.
  • While the CARES Act gives some new protections for tenants in federally subsidized housing, the State has not:
    • Placed a moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a tenant is late paying the rent.
    • Placed a moratorium on the service of notices to quit.
    • Placed a moratorium on the service or filing of summary process complaints.
  • The federal stimulus package and state relief package do not appear to include funding for:
    • Money to pay rent or utility bills for people whose employment is affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Money for utility shut-off restoration once the moratorium ends and people are again faced with loss of utilities;
    • Additional lawyers to represent tenants in evictions and homeowners in foreclosure filed after the current moratoriums on filing new cases is lifted;
    • Housing counselors who can advise tenants and homeowners of the resources available to them to keep their homes after the current moratoriums are lifted as well as to avoid scams that may result in them losing money and their housing;
    • Additional mediators for Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to assist the homeowners who will be faced with foreclosure actions once the moratorium on filing new foreclosure cases is lifted;
    • Nonprofits who have shifted their priorities to serve low-income people affected by the COVID-19 crisis but do not have funding to do so.
  • There has been no effort to get housing authorities to notify their tenants of new procedures and requests for rent calculations during the current pandemic. A review of housing authority websites to determine what they were telling their tenants about COVID-19 procedures and whether there was any information in Spanish. The majority still have no information about changes to housing authority procedures in light of the current crisis. Click here for a summary of what we have found.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.
  • Many closing dates for people buying homes have been postponed or canceled because town clerk’s offices are closed or open only limited hours. Title insurers have made arrangements to provide “gap” coverage for these circumstances.

What we are learning from our clients

  • Tenants continue to call because they are being asked to show their apartments to prospective tenants without regard to COVID-19 precautions. The Center is advising tenants that under Connecticut landlord/tenant laws they have the right to refuse entrance to anyone if it would cause a safety hazard.
  • As April 1 approaches, tenants are concerned they will be evicted because they have been laid off, are not receiving unemployment benefits yet, and are unable to pay the rent.
  • Landlords continue to issue notices to quit.
  • Landlords continue to file summary process complaints.
  • Real estate agents have contacted the Center saying they will not show units to people who are infected or who the agents suspect are infected with the virus.
  • Tenants with housing choice vouchers are having difficulty being recertified or porting their vouchers.
  • Mortgage servicers continue to file foreclosure complaints.
  • Towns continue to schedule tax auctions which would result in homeowners losing their homes; five towns have auctions scheduled for April.
  • People without legal status continue to face deportation and are unable to access services to stay in their homes.
  • People who were laid off from their jobs as the result of the pandemic are moving in with parents and friends sometimes causing overcrowding or lease violations. Foreclosures of homeowners will now affect many more people.

Get Help

  • There is still time to enroll in Access Health CT to get health insurance. This is a new Special Enrollment period that will be open through April 2, 2020. Enrollment is available by phone only.  The Access Health call center will be helping people enroll Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm. Dial 855-805-4325 (TTY: 1- 855-365-2428) to begin your enrollment.
  • If you’re struggling with your mental health during this crisis, you are not alone. Text SHARE to 741741 for free, 24/7 support from the Crisis Text Line.
  • In Connecticut, we have a network of domestic violence programs that can be accessed 24/7 by calling 888-774-2900. The programs provide shelter for victims of domestic violence, as well as counseling and other support services.
  • To get help from a Hartford Courant reporter who is troubleshooting access to COVID-19 relief resources, click here.
  • For help with on-line learning and the issues faced by people with limited access to education resources, click here.
  • For a list of assistance available from the federal government, click here. This page is updated frequently so continue to check back.
  • For people with disabilities, there is a list of resources here.
  • Contact your mortgage company about getting a forbearance on your mortgage if you have been laid off or lost income/hours. Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • If you experience a drop in income and you live in public or subsidized housing or you pay the rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher, report the drop in income immediately. Ask to have your rent reduced immediately so that you do not fall behind. A form for you to use will be up on our website shortly.
  • Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.
  • For a list of places to find help with anything from food pantries to legal assistance to energy assistance, click here.
  • For help applying for unemployment benefits or Medicaid: Several Trinity College students have volunteered to help people apply for unemployment benefits. Email them here: Wilson@trincoll.edu; Larisa.Bogomolov@trincoll.edu; Elizabeth.Morrison@trincoll.edu; or Rebecca.Pappas@trincoll.edu

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

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

Fair Housing Covid-19 Response Efforts 3.30.2020

For a PDF view of this update click here.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

March 30, 2020

What happened on March 27, 2020:

  • Moratorium on filing new eviction cases in federally subsidized housing: The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) includes some protections for tenants in federally subsidized housing including a moratorium on filing new eviction actions and a prohibition on charging fees, penalties or other charges to the tenant related to nonpayment of rent. The moratorium also states that a housing provider may not evict a tenant after the moratorium expires unless the landlord gives a 30-day notice. This moratorium will expire in 120 days or approximately July 27, 2020. Federally subsidized housing is housing that receives funding directly from HUD or housing providers who have a mortgage from HUD or FHA.  For more information on the moratorium and updates on any changes, click here.  This moratorium is limited in many ways and does not apply to all housing in Connecticut.
  • Forbearance and relief for federally backed loans: The CAREs act also provides relief for “federally-backed loans”, or 1-4 family properties purchased, securitized, owned, insured, or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or owned, insured, or guaranteed by FHA, VA, or USDA. For more information and look up tools for a loan, click here. It includes a moratorium on foreclosures for at least 60 days from March 18, 2020, and forbearance options for 180 days, renewable once. The forbearance protects homeowners by preventing additional fees, penalties, or extra interest from accruing on the borrower’s account (but does not waive the normal contractual interest). The forbearance is available during the emergency or until December 31, 2020, whichever is earlier.
  • People who are homeless: During a call with Connecticut’s homeless advocates, a representative from the CDC recommended that shelters not close during the pandemic but instead follow the CDC’s guidance on spacing beds and monitoring both guests and staff.  The guidance can be found here.
  • Homeless encampments: On Friday, March 27, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7P which ordered state officials to provide for physical distancing in safe and adequate settings for people who experience homelessness. Officials from the Connecticut Department of Housing clarified that this order did not require shelters to close or that homeless encampments be disbanded. Instead, several State agencies are stepping up their efforts to house people who are homeless in hotel rooms, empty apartments, and other locations that allow staff to meet the CDC guidelines.
  • Outreach: Staff distributed this daily housing update to over 500 advocates and had more than 500 unique hits on the update on our website.  If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.
  • Outreach: Staff is working to produce a comprehensive FAQ for tenants and advocates by the end of the week.  

What has NOT happened:

  • The state and federal government have not announced they will:
    • Create a rent bank to help tenants who have lost their jobs pay rent. The $1,200 payment under the CARES Act will not allow most people in Connecticut to pay rent and pay for necessities.
    • Suspend contractual and statutory landlord/tenant obligations. The moratorium is about the filing of eviction actions but not about the cessation of rent payments.
    • Ensure judgments dismissing summary process cases are being entered.
    • Announce self-help evictions are not allowed now that the courts are closed.
  • While the CARES Act gives some new protections for tenants in federally subsidized housing, the State has not:
    • Placed a moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a tenant is late paying the rent.
    • Placed a moratorium on the service of notices to quit.
    • Placed a moratorium on the service or filing of summary process complaints.
  • The federal stimulus package and state relief package do not appear to include funding for:
    • Money to pay rent or utility bills for people whose employment is affected by the Covid-19 crisis;
    • Money for utility shut-off restoration once the moratorium ends and people are again faced with loss of utilities;
    • Additional lawyers to represent tenants in evictions and homeowners in foreclosure filed after the current moratoriums on filing new cases is lifted;
    • Housing counselors who can advise tenants and homeowners of the resources available to them to keep their homes after the current moratoriums are lifted as well as to avoid scams that may result in them losing money and their housing;
    • Additional mediators for Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to assist the homeowners who will be faced with foreclosure actions once the moratorium on filing new foreclosure cases is lifted;
    • Nonprofits who have shifted their priorities to serve low-income people affected by the Covid-19 crisis but do not have funding to do so.
  • No moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a homeowner is late making a mortgage payment.
  • No moratorium on the cancellation of a trial payment plan when a homeowner is unable to pay due to a layoff or partial layoff.
  • There has been no effort to get housing authorities to notify their tenants of new procedures and requests for rent calculations during the current pandemic. A review of housing authority websites to determine what they were telling their tenants about Covid-19 procedures and whether there was any information in Spanish. The majority still have no information about changes to housing authority procedures in light of the current crisis. Click here for a summary of what we have found.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.
  • Many closing dates for people buying homes have been postponed or canceled because town clerk’s offices are closed or open only limited hours. Title insurers have made arrangements to provide “gap” coverage for these circumstances.

What we are learning from our clients

  • Tenants continue to call because they are being asked to show their apartments to prospective tenants without regard to Covid-19 precautions. The Center is advising tenants that under Connecticut landlord/tenant laws they have the right to refuse entrance to anyone if it would cause a safety hazard.
  • As April 1 approaches, tenants are concerned they will be evicted because they have been laid off, are not receiving unemployment benefits yet, and are unable to pay the rent.
  • Tenants are being told they must move so that new owners or developers can take over the property.
  • Real estate agents have contacted the Center saying they will not show units to people who are infected or who the agents suspect are infected with the virus.
  • Tenants have been the victims of rent gouging.
  • Tenants continue to be treated differently based on their race or national origin.
  • Tenants are living in bad conditions including problems with mold and leaking gas.
  • Tenants with housing choice vouchers are having difficulty being recertified or porting their vouchers.
  • Landlords continue to issue notices to quit.
  • Landlords continue to file summary process complaints.
  • Mortgage servicers continue to file foreclosure complaints.
  • People without legal status continue to face deportation and are unable to access services to stay in their homes.
  • People who were laid off from their jobs as the result of the pandemic are moving in with parents and friends sometimes causing overcrowding or lease violations. Foreclosures of homeowners will now affect many more people.

Get Help

  • For help with on-line learning and the issues faced by people with limited access to education resources, click here.
  • For a list of assistance available from the federal government, click here. This page is updated frequently so continue to check back.
  • For people with disabilities, there is a list of resources here.
  • Contact your mortgage company about getting a forbearance on your mortgage if you have been laid off or lost income/hours. Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • If you experience a drop in income and you live in public or subsidized housing or you pay the rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher, report the drop in income immediately. Ask to have your rent reduced immediately so that you do not fall behind. A form for you to use will be up on our website shortly.
  • Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.
  • For a list of places to find help with anything from food pantries to legal assistance to energy assistance, click here.
  • For help applying for unemployment benefits or Medicaid: Several Trinity College students have volunteered to help people apply for unemployment benefits. Email them here: Wilson@trincoll.edu; Larisa.Bogomolov@trincoll.edu; Elizabeth.Morrison@trincoll.edu; or Rebecca.Pappas@trincoll.edu

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

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

 

Fair Housing Covid-19 Response Efforts 3.27.2020

To read a PDF view of this update click here

What has NOT happened by close of business on March 26, 2020:

  • Center staff completed a partial review of public housing authority websites to determine what information was available to tenants about Covid-19 procedures and to determine if information was available in languages other than English. The majority still do not have information about changes to housing authority procedures in light of the current crisis. Click here for a detailed explanation of our findings.
  • No creation of a rent bank to help tenants who have lost their jobs pay rent.
    • Center analysis of tenant occupancy rates and unemployment data suggests that approximately 300,000 renters will struggle to pay rent in the coming weeks.
  • No suspension of contractual and statutory landlord/tenant obligations. The moratorium is about the filing of eviction actions but not about the cessation of rent payments.
  • Judgments dismissing summary process cases are not being entered.
  • No announcement from the Judicial Branch that self-help evictions are not allowed now that the courts are closed.
  • No moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a tenant is late paying the rent.
  • No moratorium on the service of notices to quit.
  • No moratorium on the service or filing of summary process complaints.
  • No moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a homeowner is late making a mortgage payment.
  • No moratorium on the cancellation of a trial payment plan when a homeowner is unable to pay due to a layoff or partial layoff.
  • No directives about how the State will implement the CDC guidance on homeless encampments. Santa Cruz, CA swept the encampment in their city and placed people in alternative housing that people described as cages without food or water. Louis, MO issued an order to all city officials that it would not sweep encampments during the public health emergency.
  • The federal stimulus package and state relief package do not appear to include funding for:
    • Money to pay rent or utility bills for people whose employment is affected by the Covid-19 crisis;
    • Money for utility shut-off restoration once the moratorium ends and people are again faced with loss of utilities;
    • Additional lawyers to represent tenants in evictions and homeowners in foreclosure filed after the current moratoriums on filing new cases is lifted;
    • Housing counselors who can advise tenants and homeowners of the resources available to them to keep their homes after the current moratoriums are lifted as well as to avoid scams that may result in them losing money and their housing;
    • Additional mediators for Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to assist the homeowners who will be faced with foreclosure actions once the moratorium on filing new foreclosure cases is lifted;
    • Nonprofits who have shifted their priorities to serve low-income people affected by the Covid-19 crisis but do not have funding to do so.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.
  • Many closing dates for people buying homes have been postponed or canceled because town clerk’s offices are closed or open only limited hours. Title insurers have made arrangements to provide “gap” coverage for these circumstances.

What happened on March 26, 2020:

  • Elm City Housing Authority (Housing Authority of the City of New Haven): The housing authority has a form on its website that allows tenants of the housing authority or tenants with Section 8 to report a change in income and ask that their rent be recalculated. You can find the form in English here and in Spanish here.
  • Homeless encampments: The CDC issued guidance around homeless encampments which states:
  • Unless individual housing units are available, do not clear encampments during community spread of COVID-19. Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.
  • Encourage people staying in encampments to set up their tents/sleeping quarters with at least 12 feet x 12 feet of space per individual.
  • Ensure nearby restroom facilities have functional water taps, are stocked with hand hygiene materials (soap, drying materials) and bath tissue, and remain open to people experiencing homelessness 24 hours per day.
  • If toilets or handwashing facilities are not available nearby, provide access to portable latrines with handwashing facilities for encampments of more than 10 people.
  • State help for small businesses and nonprofits: Governor Lamont reported that the State has doubled the amount available for the program to $50 million.  However, because the DECD has been inundated with applications since yesterday morning, DECD will temporarily stop accepting applications at the end of the day on Friday March 27, 2020.  These loans are not forgivable but have terms up to 18 months.  DECD did not say when the state will start accepting applications again.  To apply today, click here.
  • State Support Enforcement offices: On Monday, March 30, 2020 the Judicial Branch’s Support Enforcement offices and call center are closing statewide. Individuals can continue to pay child support by mailing a check or money order.  The Support Enforcement offices are operating with reduced staffing and is providing limited services.
  • Outreach: Staff distributed daily housing update to over 500 advocates and had more than 500 unique hits on the update on our website.  If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.
  • Outreach: State of Connecticut added the Center’s daily updates onto the resources available for Homeowners and Renters found here.
  • Outreach: Stay tuned for an FAQ for tenants to be published early next week.

What we are learning from our clients

  • Tenants continue to be asked to show their apartments to prospective tenants without regard to Covid-19 precautions. The Center is advising tenants that under Connecticut landlord/tenant laws they have the right to refuse entrance to anyone if it would cause a safety hazard.
  • Real estate agents continue to schedule showings of houses for sale without regard to Covid-19 precautions. There are more than 60 open houses scheduled for the weekend of March 28 and 29, 2020 according to Zillow with an additional 25 scheduled between now and April 25, 2020.
  • Tenants who have lost their job continue to call asking what to do about paying rent for April which is just 5 days away.
  • Tenants have been the victim of rent gouging.
  • Tenants continue to be treated differently based on their race or national origin.
  • Tenants are living in bad conditions including problems with mold and leaking gas.
  • Tenants with housing choice vouchers are having difficulty being recertified or porting their vouchers.
  • People continue to face homelessness due to landlords turning them down for apartments.
  • Landlords continue to issue notices to quit.
  • Mortgage servicers continue to file foreclosure complaints.
  • People without legal status continue to face deportation and are unable to access services to stay in their homes.
  • People who were laid off from their jobs as the result of the pandemic are moving in with parents and friends sometimes causing overcrowding or lease violations. Foreclosures of homeowners will now affect many more people.

Get Help

  • For a list of places to find help with anything from food pantries to legal assistance to energy assistance, click here.
  • For help applying for unemployment benefits or Medicaid: Several Trinity College students have volunteered to help people apply for unemployment benefits. Email them here: Wilson@trincoll.edu; Larisa.Bogomolov@trincoll.edu; Elizabeth.Morrison@trincoll.edu; or Rebecca.Pappas@trincoll.edu
  • For help with on-line learning and the issues faced by people with limited access to education resources, click here.
  • For a list of assistance available from the federal government, click here. This page is updated frequently so continue to check back.
  • For people with disabilities, there is a list of resources here.
  • Contact your mortgage company about getting a forbearance on your mortgage if you have been laid off or lost income/hours. Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • If you experience a drop in income and you live in public or subsidized housing or you pay the rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher, report the drop in income immediately. Ask to have your rent reduced immediately so that you do not fall behind. A form for you to use will be up on our website shortly.
  • Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.

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

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

Fair Housing Covid-19 Response Efforts 3.26.2020

To read a PDF view of this update click here.

What has NOT happened by close of business on March 25, 2020:

  • The majority of housing authorities in the state have not notified their tenants regarding any changes in procedures: 66% of the 49 housing authority websites reviewed have no information about their operations during the Covid-19 crisis.
  • No creation of a rent bank to help tenants who have lost their jobs pay rent.
  • A suspension of contractual and statutory landlord/tenant obligations. The moratorium is about the filing of eviction actions but not about the cessation of rent payments.
  • Judgments dismissing summary process cases are not being entered.
  • No announcement from the Judicial Branch that self-help evictions are not allowed now that the courts are closed.
  • No moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a tenant is late paying the rent.
  • No moratorium on the service of notices to quit.
  • No moratorium on the service or filing of summary process complaints.
  • No moratorium on the imposition of late fees or costs when a homeowner is late making a mortgage payment.
  • No moratorium on the cancellation of a trial payment plan when a homeowner is unable to pay due to a layoff or partial layoff.
  • No directives about what should happen to people living in homeless encampments.
  • The federal stimulus package and state relief package do not appear to include funding for:
    • Money to pay rent or utility bills for people whose employment is affected by the Covid-19 crisis;
    • Money for utility shut-off restoration once the moratorium ends and people are again faced with loss of utilities;
    • Additional lawyers to represent tenants in evictions and homeowners in foreclosure filed after the current moratoriums on filing new cases is lifted;
    • Housing counselors who can advise tenants and homeowners of the resources available to them to keep their homes after the current moratoriums are lifted as well as to avoid scams that may result in them losing money and their housing;
    • Additional mediators for Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to assist the homeowners who will be faced with foreclosure actions once the moratorium on filing new foreclosure cases is lifted;
    • Nonprofits who have shifted their priorities to serve low-income people affected by the Covid-19 crisis but do not have funding to do so.
  • People continue to live in substandard conditions and cannot get assistance in moving out even though the conditions are harming them and their families.
  • Many closing dates for people buying homes have been postponed or canceled because town clerk’s offices are closed or open only limited hours. Title insurers have made arrangements to provide “gap” coverage for these circumstances.

What happened on March 25, 2020:

  • Tenants living in bad conditions or paying rent into court: Connecticut State Courts continue to accept filings for Housing Code Enforcement (HCE) actions.  The courts have indicated that they will take the following actions if an HCE action is filed:
    • The judge will review the filing and decide if it is serious enough to be set for a hearing. However, there are only two housing court officials working in the entire state right now. This will obviously impact how quickly the court even reviews these cases.
    • Cases are likely to meet the “seriousness threshold” will include conditions so bad the unit must be condemned. However, judges may make different decisions.
    • If the case is serious enough to be heard by the court right now, the underlying conditions should be addressed first through the municipality who should inspect and condemn and then provide Uniform Relocation Act benefits.
    • If a case is filed that meets the “seriousness threshold,” the judge will likely order marshal service of the papers in lieu of the mail service provided for by the statute.
    • If the case does NOT meet the seriousness threshold, the filing and rent money will be accepted but the court won’t take any action until court business goes back to normal.
    • When the court does return to normalcy, the court will start processing the full backlog of cases based on the date they were filed. So, it will likely take a long time for a hearing to be set for HCEs that do not meet the seriousness threshold.
    • If you wish to file an HCE, you will still need to file in person in order to get a fee waiver.
    • If tenants are presently paying rent into court, they can continue to pay in person at the open courthouse in their Judicial District. They can also mail this money to the court with a letter including the case and docket numbers. They can address this letter to the housing court’s normal address, as the court has requested USPS forward this mail, but it may be safer to just send it to the open court clerk’s office address with the notation “Attn: housing.” Once received, the court will mail a receipt back. For the time being, that money will be kept in the open clerk’s offices escrow account. This money will be transferred back to the housing court escrow accounts when the housing clerk’s offices are reopened.
    • If tenants that are required to keep paying rent into court do NOT pay, the court will NOT dismiss their cases or take any other action.
  • Outreach: Staff distributed daily housing update to over 300 advocates, and the entire Connecticut General Assembly. If you want this daily update delivered to your inbox, click here.
  • Outreach: State of Connecticut added the Center’s daily updates onto the resources available for Homeowners and Renters found here.
  • Outreach: Center staff hosted an online training on fair housing protections with individuals from the Department of Housing, several shelter providers, and frontline case managers prioritizing diversion during the Covid-19 crisis. If you or your organization would like to set up a training, please contact our education and outreach coordinator at shussain@ctfairhousing.org
  • Lenders: CFPB prioritizes reducing burdens for loan servicers and large banks and is hiding data during this time of crisis rather than helping the consumers it is designed to support. You can read more about it here.
  • Federal stimulus package: The federal stimulus package passed by the Senate provides more than $12 billion in funding for HUD programs, including:
    • $4 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants for homelessness assistance;
    • $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants;
    • $1.25 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program;
    • $1 billion for project based rental assistance;
    • $685 million for public housing;
    • $300 million for tribal nations;
    • $1 million in additional funding for fair housing activities;
    • The bill also institutes a much-needed temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for homeowners and renters in federally subsidized apartments, including tenants living in LIHTC properties, and homes with federally backed mortgages.
    • Click here for a full explanation of what the bill contains.
  • State help for small businesses and nonprofits: The State announced a $25 million short term emergency loan program to provide emergency cash flow relief to small businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by the coronavirus. To apply or get more information, click here. To qualify a business or nonprofit must:
    • Have no more than 100 employees
    • Be in good standing with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) & DECD 
    • Have been profitable prior to March 10, 2020— with no adverse personal credit reports 60 days past due the past six months
    • Not be involved in real estate, multi-level marketing, adult entertainment, cannabis or firearms; nor be a state elected public official or state employee

The loan terms include:

  • Loan maximum of (a) $75,000 or (b) three months operating expenses, whichever is less;
  • 0% interest rate;
  • 12-month term, with 6-month extension available per request; 
  • Freely pre-payable;
  • Working capital loan;
  • Personal guarantee and credit score required;
  • Not be involved in real estate, multi-level marketing, adult entertainment, cannabis or firearms; nor be a state elected public official or state employee.
  • Utilities: The State Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has issued several orders to protect people from utility shut off:
    • The gas, electric, and water public service companies regulated by the Authority shall extend the Shut-off Moratorium to all non-residential customer classes and refrain from terminating utility service, except for reasons of public safety, until May 1, 2020, or until such other time as determined by the Authority;
    • The gas, electric, and water public service companies regulated by the Authority shall not require any financial security deposits or balance reduction payments required for restoration of utility service until May 1, 2020, or until such other time as determined by the Authority;
    • The gas, electric, and water public service companies regulated by the Authority shall maintain a detailed record of costs incurred and revenues lost as result of implementing PURA’s orders and may establish a regulatory asset to track incurred costs.
  • Telecommunications and internet connectivity: The Federal Communications Commission asked that telecommunications and internet industry pledge to:
    • Not to terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
    • Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
    • Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
    • The companies signing the pledge include (Companies doing business in Connecticut are highlighted in black): ACIRA – Powered by Farmers Mutual Telephone Company & Federated Telephone, Allstream Business US, AlticeUSA, Antietam Broadband, Atlantic Broadband, AT&T, BBT, BOYCOM Vision, Burlington Telecom, Cable One, Central Arkansas Telephone Cooperative, CenturyLink, Charter, Cincinnati Bell, Citizens Connected, Comcast, Consolidated Communications, Cox Communications, Digital West, East Ascension Telephone Company, Education Networks of America, Emery Telecom, Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative, FirstLight, Frontier, Google Fiber, Grande Communications, Granite Telecommunications, Great Plains Communications, GWI, Hiawatha Broadband, Hill Country, IdeaTek Telcom, Inteliquent, Lafourche Telephone Company, Lakeland Communications, Long Lines Broadband, Mammoth Networks/Visionary Broadband, Mediacom, MetTel, Nex-Tech, Ninestar Connect, Northwest Fiber, Orbitel Communications, Pioneer Communications, Premier Communications, Range Telephone Cooperative, RCN, Reserve Telephone Company, Sacred Wind Communications, Shawnee Communications, Socket Telecom, Sonic, Sprint, Starry, TDS Telecom, TelNet Worldwide, TMobile, TracFone Wireless, Uniti Fiber, US Cellular, Vast Broadband, Verizon, Vyve Broadband Investments, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, Wave Broadband, West Telecom Services, Windstream, and ZenFi Networks. And the trade associations ACA Connects, Competitive Carriers of America, CTIA, INCOMPAS, NCTA—The Internet and Television Association, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association, USTelecom, and WISPA
    • For information about what Connecticut cable companies are doing, click
  • Federal paid sick leave and expanded leave: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.  The Department of Labor will be issuing regulations to implement the FFCRA in April 2020. The key portions of FFCRA include:
    • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
    • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of paybecause the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
    • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leaveat two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
    • The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.
    • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
    • For more information, click here.

What we are learning from our clients

  • Tenants have been the victim of rent gouging.
  • Tenants continue to be treated differently based on their race or national origin.
  • Tenants are living in bad conditions including problems with mold and leaking gas.
  • Tenants with housing choice vouchers are having difficulty being recertified or porting their vouchers.
  • Tenants continue to be asked to show their apartments to prospective tenants or buyers without regard to Covid-19 precautions.
  • People continue to face homelessness due to landlords turning them down for apartments.
  • Landlords continue to issue notices to quit.
  • Mortgage servicers continue to file foreclosure complaints.
  • People without legal status continue to face deportation and are unable to access services to stay in their homes.
  • People who were laid off from their jobs as the result of the pandemic are moving in with parents and friends sometimes causing overcrowding or lease violations.  Foreclosures of homeowners will now affect many more people.

Get Help

  • Contact your mortgage company about getting a forbearance on your mortgage if you have been laid off or lost income/hours.  Click here to find out more and to find out if you have a Fannie Mae mortgage or here to find out more and to find out if you have a Freddie Mac mortgage.
  • If you experience a drop in income and you live in public or subsidized housing or you pay the rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher, report the drop in income immediately.  Ask to have your rent reduced immediately so that you do not fall behind. A form for you to use will be up on our website shortly.
  • For help applying for unemployment benefits or Medicaid: Several Trinity College students have volunteered to help people apply for unemployment benefits. Email them here: Madison.Wilson@trincoll.edu; Larisa.Bogomolov@trincoll.edu; Elizabeth.Morrison@trincoll.edu; or Rebecca.Pappas@trincoll.edu
  • For help with on-line learning and the issues faced by people with limited access to education resources, click here.
  • For a list of assistance available from the federal government, click here. This page is updated frequently so continue to check back.
  • For people with disabilities, there is a list of resources here.
  • Call the Center if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination. Telephone: 860-247-4400; toll free: 888-246-4401; email: info@ctfairhousing.org.

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

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

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