HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Some renters are breathing a sigh of relief after the ban on evictions was extended in Connecticut on Monday.
The ban was set to expire on Wednesday, July 1, but Governor Ned Lamont moved the date to coincide with the federal CARES Act, which is August 25.
However, some still feel the housing issue is far from over.
Thirty protesters — some undocumented immigrants — are calling on the Lamont adminstration to do more for renters.
They claim 80,000 people will face eviction for owing back rent. COVID-19 shutdowns left them with less work or no work.
“All of them are behind at least one month if not two or three,” said Eric Cruz Lopez, Cancel Rent Coalition.
They also said nonproft 4-CT’s gesture to help the undocumented with $1 million in gift cards is a joke.
“For billionaires to get together and create this supposedly great fund of $1 million is a slap in the face,” said Constanza Segovia, Hartford.
Shortly after their protest wrapped up, Governor Lamont released a $33.3 million Housing Aid Package. Among the relief was $10 million in rental assistance, $5 million for eviction prevention and $2.5 million for undocumented families.
There is also money for mortgage relief, rapid rehousing funds for those being released from homeless shelters and money for re-entry and re-housing assistance for those getting out of prison.
Ten million to provide mortgage relief, $4 million in rapid rehousing funds and $1.8 million in funding for reentry and rehousing assistance.
“Some poor landlords are holding the bag for eight months rent,” said John Souza, CT Coalition of Property Owners. “That’s a lot to ask for, whether it’s a small landlord, even a big landlord, let’s be honest.”
Souza represents thousands of landlords around Connecticut. On average, he said there are 15,000 evictions a year, adding that it’s a difficult process, costing landlords on average $10,000 per case.
He said news of the governor’s ban on evictions was extended through August is troubling.
“What’s gonna happen is the towns aren’t going to get tax money, the buildings are going to fall into disrepair.”
However, he said he is hopeful all can agree on a way to keep the money flowing and to keep people in safe housing.
The Lamont administration has set up mortgage relief with 50 banks, but some property owners fear foreclosure because their bank isn’t on the list.
The Department of Housing Commissioner, Seila Mosquera Bruno acknowledged that she is working on the issue before it turns into a homeless crisis.
“Housing stability is critical to the health and wellbeing of Connecticut residents,” Bruno said. “These initiatives, working in coordination with our partners across the housing industry, including legal services, developers, landlords, lenders and our social service providers, will provide a great opportunity to help our families to weather this epidemic.”
Large cities in the state received $10 million from the CARES Act to help support the homeless. In a controversial move, the Connecticut Department Of Housing now encouraging those mayors to use some of that money and give it to struggling families who owe back rent.
More information on available state funding can be found online.