Help is on its way for tenants and landlords that have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Department of Housing, the state of Connecticut has developed the UniteCT program which will provide rental and utility payment assistance to those who qualify.
In order to help stabilize the housing markets, UniteCT is using $235 million to assist with rental and utility payments for households that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic for up to six months.
To qualify, you must be a Connecticut resident, qualify for unemployment, have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19. For more information or to apply go to https://portal.ct.gov/DOH/DOH/Programs/UniteCT
Several agencies in Meriden have partnered to assist with the application process. These include New Opportunities Inc., the Women and Families Center and Casa Boricua. They will be providing electronic and hands-on support. Those looking to apply may also go to the Meriden Public Library, 105 Miller St., to fill out an online application.
“There has been a moratorium on evictions since the COVID-19 protocols began, and a lot of people have fallen behind on their rent due to a number of circumstances. A lot of people lost their jobs,” Women and Families Center CEO Wayne Valaitis said.
Workforce Alliance will soon be hiring temporary rental assistance specialists at the Women and Families Center to assist with the UniteCT application process. The rental assistance specialist positions will be paid $15 an hour.
In order to apply for financial assistance through the program, tenants must make landlords aware of the application to provide supporting documents on both ends. Tenants and landlords will work together to ensure their sections of the application are completed.
The portal to access the application is compatible with any smartphone or computer. Individuals must follow the step-by-step directions given on the page.
UniteCT will also have a mobile bus schedule for those who need additional assistance. The bus will travel throughout various cities in Connecticut and was in Meriden on Friday. The schedule can be located on the UniteCT portal.
The program will provide financial assistance to households earning up to 80% of the area median income. In Meriden, that’s $54,950 for a single person, $62,800 for a household of two and $70,650 for a household of three.
Assistance will depend on the continued availability of funds in the program but is expected to go through Sept. 30.
Casa Boricua Executive Director Anabel Beltran Roman, will be helping those who need assistance apply for the UniteCT program.
“There are people that I know can benefit from this,” she said. “We will be starting, hopefully, this week if the client qualifies since there are guidelines that have to be met. Considering so many people lost their jobs because of COVID-19, I think it would be very helpful to help people get back on their feet. Not only the clients but the homeowners too.”
Anyone needing assistance filling out an application, can contact Casa Boricua at 203-235-1082.