Hartford Foundation Submits Testimony In Support of Extending Executive Order 12D to Public Health Committee
On Tuesday, February 9, the Hartford Foundation submitted testimony to the legislature’s Public Health Committee during a special public hearing being held to get input on the expiration of Governor Lamont’s COVID-19 executive orders. While much of the testimony focused on issues around ending public school masking mandates, the Foundation joined some of its colleagues in housing advocacy to encourage the legislature extend and modify the Governor’s Executive Order 12D to ensure the full implementation of the state’s UniteCT rental assistance program. The provisions in Executive Order 12D protect not only new applicants, but also tenants and landlords whose applications are pending. Since the Department of Housing (DOH) does not expect to finish disbursing the currently available UniteCT funds until this summer, extending this order would ensure that individuals and families with pending applications will not be evicted while they wait for DOH to complete the process. While almost all of the funds in the UniteCT budget have been committed, almost half of those funds - almost $200,000,000 – has yet to be disbursed. If the emergency order expires, it is expected that new applications to the program will be paused. In addition, DOH has applied for additional federal funds and it is possible that a modest amount may yet be received before the program closes.
In addition, the Foundation also urged the legislature to support the Governor's recommendation regarding FEMA funding for non-congregate housing which would continue the declaration of the public health and civil preparedness emergencies, as several federal funding sources are contingent on this continuation. These resources have been critical in ensuring that our residents experiencing housing instability are able to remain safely housed during the ongoing public health crisis.