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Lamont announces $10 million in COVID rental assistance

Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday announced $10 million in rental assistance for Connecticut renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with priority given to lower-income households who have been denied unemployment insurance.

The money will be administered by the state Department of Housing, which will provide payments to landlords on behalf of approved tenants. The department will also administer $2.5 million in rental assistance to those who are ineligible for emergency assistance through the federal CARES Act, including those who are undocumented.

Lamont extended the executive order he first issued in April prohibiting landlords from initiating eviction proceedings against tenants from July 1 to Aug. 25.

Housing advocates, who gathered at the capitol Monday to call on Lamont to institute an eviction moratorium, said $10 million isn’t enough and called for $140 million in easy-to-access rental assistance, CT News Junkie reported.

Lamont also announced on Monday $5 million to help renters who were in the process of being evicted before the pandemic.

While 95 percent of Connecticut’s business have now reopened, albeit at reduced capacity, many residents still remain unemployed. The state Department of Labor estimated the unemployment rate for May to be 19%.

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority will administer $10 million in mortgage relief for homeowners impacted by the pandemic and whose mortgages are not federal insured, per Lamont’s announcement Monday.

Under an agreement reached with the Lamont administration in late March, more than 60 financial institutions in Connecticut agreed to provide a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments to those who've experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Lamont also announced funding to combat homelessness including $4 million in rapid rehousing funds to help people pay security deposits and initial rent payments.

“The COVID crisis has taken a toll on many Connecticut families. We know that some renters and homeowners are having a hard time paying the costs of their housing. It’s critical that we provide emergency help so that they can stay housed, and to support residential landlords, many of who are mom-and-pop small businesses themselves,” Lamont said in a statement.

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