Bridgeport woman credits rental assistance program after breast cancer diagnosis

A Bridgeport woman says she is grateful for a rental assistance program that helped her pay her bills when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

News 12 Staff

Oct 22, 2021, 5:09 PM

Updated 1,002 days ago

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A Bridgeport woman says she is grateful for a rental assistance program that helped her pay her bills when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Phennel Austin, 42, of Bridgeport, says the agency Building Neighborhoods Together has been a lifesaver. Austin is battling breast cancer and struggling financially as a result, due to the time she was forced to take off from work while fighting the illness. As a result, she was way behind on her rent.
"The only thing I think I could do was pray -- I prayed a lot," Austin told News 12.
Austin thought she was going to be homeless until she learned about The Unite CT Emergency Rental Assistance Program being administered by Building Neighborhoods Together at 570 State St. in downtown Bridgeport. BNT ended up paying for 6 months of *back* rent. Even more, they paid for three months into the future.
"BNT means to me life," Austin added. ""They were able to help me and I'm grateful — so very grateful. Depression was, like, bye -- haha -- no longer here."
"She kept her life together, continued working, her son in school at Dartmouth, just a phenomenal success story," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Austin says the agency was able to help her to not think about living on the street and dealing with the cancer. 


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