Fair Housing COVID-19 Response 5.21.20

 ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

May 21, 2020

Beginning today, the Center will publish this update on a weekly basis every Thursday. Since the Governor declared a state of emergency and ordered people to quarantine themselves on March 13, the Center has published its daily update every workday. The list of readers has grown to more than 1,200 each day. We have heard from many of you how much you appreciate our efforts to keep you updated on the latest efforts to assist people whose housing stability is threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shut down. We hope you will continue to read and share the updates. Thank you for working with us on these important issues.

Important Deadlines:  Tenants who did not pay May rent were supposed to notify their landlords in writing by May 10, 2020 that they could not pay rent due to full or partial unemployment, or significant loss in revenue or increase in expenses due to the pandemic to get a 60-day extension to pay the rent.

If you did not send a letter by May 10, you should still use the letter and text templates to request rental payment extension from your landlord, click here.

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

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

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

 

What happened on May 20, 2020:

 

  • Tenants need assistance to pay the rent: The Center continues to urge the Governor and the Department of Housing to assist tenants who are not able to pay the rent. The Center and legal services advocates have proposed creating a Rental Market Stabilization fund that would give landlords money in exchange for an agreement not to evict tenants. Currently, the State has allocated $2.8 million for rental assistance but has not announced how those funds will be distributed. For the rental assistance programs implemented by other cities and states, click here. To read the proposal put together by legal services and the Center, click here.
  • Tenants paying rent in May but what about June: While reports from owners with market-rate apartments show that as many as 81% of tenants paid rent in May, it is unclear what will happen when June rent comes due. Owners believe that tenants paid April and May rent with a combination of savings, stimulus checks, and unemployment benefits. However, as states reopen, many tenants are faced with leaving children at home alone because there are so few daycare slots or losing unemployment benefits for refusing to return to work. Tenants and landlords need rental assistance. For more information, click here.
  • The Boston Federal Reserve estimates that as many as 268,000 Connecticut residents could miss housing payments: According to a newly released report by the Boston Federal Reserve, at least 268,000 homeowners and renters could miss housing payments as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown. Despite the receipt of CARES Act payments, 9 to 13% of renters and 2 to 3% of homeowners are likely still at risk of losing their homes without additional intervention from the state or federal government. To read the study, click here.
  • Governor asked to issue an Executive Order regarding forbearances and post-forbearance workout options: The Center and Yale Law School’s Housing Clinic have asked the Governor to issue an Executive Order that requiring all the state-chartered banks and credit unions, along with all the nonbank mortgage servicers licensed and regulated by the Department of Banking, to offer forbearance options no worse than the federal CARES Act; and post-forbearance loan workout options no worse than what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require from their servicers. To read the full letter, click here.
  • Hundreds of foreclosure cases continue to be filed: Most government agencies have announced that their insured or backed mortgages would be subject to a bar on new foreclosure actions or post-foreclosure eviction actions until at least June 30, 2020. On March 31, Governor Lamont announced he had reached an agreement with more than 50 Connecticut banks and credit unions in which the banks and credit unions agreed not to begin any new foreclosures for at least 60 days. However, since that announcement, more than 360 new foreclosure actions have been filed, including 16 by nine covered institutions.
  • Mortgages in forbearance continue to grow: The mortgage industry company Black Knight reported that, as of the week ended May 5, 8% of all mortgages and 12.4% of FHA/VA mortgages are in forbearance. These totals plus recent projections by Black Knight make it likely that seriously delinquent mortgages (90+ days delinquent) will be worse than at the peak of the Great Recession (8.13% in Connecticut) by August. For more information on this story, click here.
  • Call to Action: Tenants in Connecticut are calling on Governor Lamont to stop all evictions indefinitely and cancel the obligation to pay rent. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown, over 50% of renters across the state were cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Connecticut leads the nation in income inequality, and this burden is disproportionately shouldered by Black and brown communities: nearly 60% of Black renters and 55% of Hispanic renters are cost-burdened compared to 43% of white renters. For more information on tenants’ demands and to sign the petition, click here. To participate in the daily actions on Mondays and Wednesday, click here.
  • Outreach: The Center is hosting a remote training on the design and construction requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act on Wednesday, May 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. This program is registered with the American Institute of Architects. Architects will receive up to 6 continuing education HSW credits. For more information, click here. To register, click here.
  • Outreach: Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 housing resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Shaznene Hussain, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at Shussain@ctfairhousing.org

 

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

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

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