New Haven launches program for those struggling with housing insecurity due to pandemic

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Struggling families facing evictions from their homes are now getting more protection from New Haven. On Wednesday, the city announced a plan to help both those tenants and their landlords.

With so many people not working or working less due to the pandemic, making rent has become a challenge for a lot of people. Here we are almost six months into this pandemic and there is some good news this week on both the federal a local level for people who are struggling to pay those bills.

We have seen the protests for months. “Cancel Rent.” “Stop Evictions.” This week came word from the federal government.

“Just last night, the CDC issued an order deeming that the potential for mass eviction posed a serious public health risk,” said Mayor Justin Elicker, (D) New Haven.

Because homeless shelters full of people is a sure way to spread the pandemic. There is a state eviction moratorium, too but if landlords are not getting rent, how can they pay their bills? That’s where New Haven’s Coronavirus Assistance and Security Tenant Landlord Emergency or CASTLE program comes in.

“For those facing eviction, there will be an eviction prevention fund where residents can apply for back rent to their landlords to allow landlords to be paid what they are owed, and allow tenants to stay in their homes,” said Elicker.

They will also work with tenants and landlords to develop a compromise payment plan when possible. Right now they only have around $800,000, which will help an estimated 300 families stay in their homes, and landlords certainly like the idea.

“We’ve talked to them, they understand what we are doing, met no hesitation from them because this is actually going to help,” said Serena Neal-Sanjurjo, Director, Livable Cities Initiative.

There is a whole list of requirements to be eligible for the program: You have to have been laid off, furloughed, had a reduction in hours or your employment closed. You’ve not been able to work because you’ve been at home caring for someone like a child or elderly relative, and your household income has to be at or below 80% of the area median income.

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