Federal government extends ban on most evictions until October
The federal government has extended a ban on most evictions until October.
Property manager Chris Bjorklund says he's worried to take on a new tenant at a Milford home now that the federal government banned evictions again.
"I'm concerned. I think cautiously concerned, but I'm also ready to do my part," he says.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says keeping people in their homes will keep COVID-19 from spreading, but not all tenants qualify.
You have to declare in writing that you've suffered "a substantial loss" of income, work hours or medical expenses. If you make over $99,000 a year or you and your partner make a combined salary of $198,000, you will also not be qualified.
For renters like Dasha Kelly, it's a temporary reprieve.
"This is the letter. Oh! I owe $1,900," she says. "When you start talking about it, it's different. It's like it's bringing all my emotions back up."
In Connecticut, more than 1,800 tenants have already received eviction notices. Before they can actually remove someone, landlords have to apply for state assistance - but it's capped at $15,000.
Critics say the UniteCT program has too much red tape.
"We're hearing from tenants that it takes about an hour and a half to complete an application, and that does not include finding all of the required documentation and uploading it," says Erin Kemple, of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center.
Bjorklund thinks throwing money at the problem isn't the answer.
"If COVID continues, going forward, we need some levels – measures – of accountability, right? We can't just give blank checks," he says.
So far, Connecticut has only handed out about 12% of its federal assistance money. President Joe Biden hopes the extension will buy more time.
To get rental assistance from the state, you and your landlord must both apply to the UniteCT program. Relief money goes straight to your landlord.