Residents of This City Can Receive Up to $12,000 in Stimulus Funds

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  • Connecticut is no longer accepting rent relief applications.
  • Residents of New Haven can still apply for aid under a separate program.

Could you be in for a windfall?

When the COVID-19 outbreak first erupted, many people immediately lost their jobs or saw their income take a notable hit. And many of those who didn't have savings quickly fell behind on their bills, including their rent payments.

Now that there's no longer an eviction moratorium in place, tenants who are behind on rent are desperate to get caught up to avoid losing their homes. But those who have yet to apply for federal rent relief funds may be out of luck.

Unfortunately, that’s the case for many Connecticut residents. On Feb. 15, the state's emergency rental assistance program, UniteCT, closed to new applications.

To be clear, the state says it will continue to process existing applications until it runs out of money. But those who don't have a pending application can no longer access that federal funding.

But that doesn't mean all Connecticut residents who need help are out of luck. Residents of New Haven can turn to a separate program for aid, and those who qualify may be in line for up to $12,000 in assistance.

More help is available

The city of New Haven is continuing to offer rental assistance through its CASTLE program. As of late March, CASTLE still had $213,000 in funding, according to city spokesperson Len Speiller. Those who apply for aid through this program can receive up to $12,000 to cover past-due rent (funds owed prior to March 2020 don't qualify for this incentive).

Tenants who wish to apply for assistance through CASTLE must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an income that doesn't exceed 80% of the area's median income
  • Have proof of income loss or disruption due to COVID-19
  • Not have a court-ordered eviction dated prior to March 11, 2020

Meanwhile, the program isn't just open to tenant applications. Landlords are allowed to apply for relief, too.

For landlords to qualify, they must:

  • Have a property that's up to date on property taxes
  • Not be receiving other state or federal mortgage assistance funds

Now there's a catch for landlords -- they must agree to write off the balance of back rent from March 2020 onward after receiving a CASTLE payment, even if that payment does not cover all of their missing rental payments. Landlords must also agree not to start eviction proceedings for unpaid rent, including pre-COVID rent.

Go after that aid

If you're a New Haven resident who's yet to recover financially from the financial blow of the pandemic, and you didn't apply for federal rent relief on time, then it pays to see what options you have available under the CASTLE program. You can access an application online and call (203) 946-5363 if you have any questions about the process.

Keep in mind that there's a bunch of financial information you'll need to provide as part of your application, so carve out time to get that paperwork together. The sooner you apply, the greater your chances of getting a piece of what's left in CASTLE's pool of money.

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