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As end to eviction moratorium looms, many Connecticut families are left wondering what's next

Connecticut has launched a program to try to help those struggling. UniteCT provides up to $15,000 in rental assistance and $1,500 in electricity payment assistance.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The federal eviction moratorium ends Saturday, July 31st, leaving thousands of people in Connecticut at risk of losing their homes. 

"I don't know where I'm going to go with my kids," said a New Haven mother of four who does not want to be identified.

Impacted by COVID-19, she and her husband were out of work for months. He's been able to return to work, but only part-time, and it hasn't been enough to pay the bills.

"We're behind on rent. We've tried to pay the rent how we can, through borrowing money, but I have letters that the landlord is trying to kick me out of the apartment," she said.

Connecticut has launched a program to try to help those struggling. UniteCT provides up to $15,000 in rental assistance and $1,500 in electricity payment assistance. However, advocates said it hasn't been the easiest system to try and navigate.

"We like the program and we're helping our people apply for the program, but it's kind of difficult. There's a lot of paperwork, they need to present it, and there is a lot of family who they don't even have documents," said John Lugo, of Unidad Latina en Acción.

The program also requires landlords and tenants to both file an application, creating a difficult situation if one side refuses. 

For many landlords, the past 16 months have also been difficult. 

"We've got bills to pay too. Every single little mom and pop landlord, they're small businesspeople, salt of the earth, they don't

deserve to pay all these bills without getting compensation," said John Souza, president of the CT Coalition of Property Owners. 

He said, some landlords have faced issues with people who didn't need assistance but still refused to pay rent. To them, the end of the moratorium is about fairness.

"This doesn't just mean there's going to be a rush of evictions it just means that the court system can operate the way that it's supposed to operate. Nobody is automatically thrown on the street, everybody gets to go to court to have their day in court," said Souza.

Governor Lamont also signed an executive order giving tenants 30 days instead of 3 to file an appeal of an eviction.

Resources:
UniteCT is the rental assistance program announced in March to help people dealing with financial consequences of the pandemic. 

You can also find information and resources at CT Legal Services (a/k/a legal aid). 

CT Fair Housing is non-profit that also provides assistance.

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