HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont announced Wednesday that $3.5 million in funding is available to help provide coronavirus relief to those who are ineligible to receive federal assistance.
Through a public-private partnership, the state, 4-CT, and other Connecticut philanthropies will provide funds to vulnerable Connecticut residents, many of them undocumented and mixed-status families, affected by the pandemic.
“Together with 4-CT and other partners in philanthropy, we will be able to provide much-needed assistance to Connecticut residents who are unable to access federal emergency supports. While more support for these families is needed, this is an important starting point, and we plan to move quickly to make this assistance available. I urge other philanthropic leaders to help grow the pot and meet the needs of impacted families. To these residents of Connecticut, I want you to know that you are not forgotten,” Governor Lamont said.
$2.5 million of state funding will help families pay rent. The Connecticut Department of Housing is currently developing that program.
Over the next few weeks, qualifying families will receive a 4-CT card, a prepaid debit card for financial relief. $1 million in raised funds will go into prepaid cards, which can be redeemed for gift cards to buy clothes, food, and medication. Participating health centers will also provide health services, including coronavirus testing, that families might not otherwise receive.
State leaders said vulnerable residents have gone months without any sort of aid from the federal government. They believe it is a great first step to helping them during a crisis, but said more needs to be done.
The leaders of Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA) said midday Wednesday that $1 million for the affected families is not enough to work with.
“One million dollars is like giving a few coins to every immigrant in our state,” said Carmen Lanche, the coordinator of ULA in Norwalk. “We don’t want charity, we want what is rightfully ours, based on our contributions to the wealth of this state.”
Gov. Lamont said around 140,000 people, or 4.9 percent of Connecticut’s workforce, are undocumented immigrants, who are also taxpayers and essential workers in our state.
“We are essential, because we are the ones who clean your offices and hospitals, who care for your elderly and your children, who prepare your food,” Lanche said. “Governor Lamont: Include us. We are tired of being essential and excluded.”
“Why don’t they cut money from police departments and other institutions that commit violence against us?” said John Lugo, Community Organizing Director of ULA in New Haven. “Why don’t they collect the money from all the billionaires and millionaires in the state, and from those institutions that historically profited off of slavery-like Yale University? This is a rich state, but our people are lining up at food banks getting crumbs.”
For more information on 4-CT or to make a donation, go to Connecticut COVID-19 Charity Connection’s website, 4-ct.org.