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Rent relief for many New Haven residents

Nearly 1,300 families, who live in public housing in New Haven, received wonderful news Thursday morning.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — While there are state and federal regulations in place for a couple of months, protecting renters from being evicted or having their electricity turned off during this pandemic, there have certainly been other struggles. So, the New Haven Housing Authority decided to dip into their rainy day fund.

Nearly 1,300 families, who live in public housing in New Haven, received wonderful news Thursday morning.

"In an effort to support our families, we are canceling rent for the month of July," said Karen DuBois-Walton,

President of the New Haven Housing Authority.

That is a great relief to some residents that were on hand for the announcement.

"Often times I think many of us feel like we’re forgotten about in low income housing," said Trisha Mackay of New Haven.

Some could not believe the news.

"It scared me because I thought it was a scheme," said Glynis Terry of New Haven. "I still don’t trust it."

It’s the housing authority's hope that this will provide some much-needed relief.

"That that money that they may set aside for July might go to pay a back arrearage, might help them pay on mounting utility or other bill," said DuBois-Walton.

And, many residents already have that found money spent.

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"Get me a new bed, get me another dresser," said a smiling Gerald Smith of New Haven.

The New Haven Housing Authority said typically they like to see their rent collection exceed 90 percent every month. However, during the pandemic, they have been only collecting an average of about 70 percent of rents.

The Housing Authority made it very clear that, while they are not charging rents to many families in public housing in New Haven during July, no federal money is being used.

That’s because the Housing Authority has formed development and property management companies

"It allows us to generate fees," DuBois-Walton said. "It allows us to provide services that other people pay us for that are not federal dollars and it is those fees that we are using for this initiative."

Forgiving rent will cost the Housing Authority over $400,000.

"The average income for families in our portfolio ranges annually between $14,000 and $16,000 a year for an average family size of three," DuBois-Walton said.

The Housing Authority says they hope to inspire private landlords to consider doing the same.

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