A regional community action agency for low income and struggling families is Community Renewal Team. The non-profit provides services across the region, including in Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, and New London County. While a number of assistance programs are offered, some of the primary ones include offering rent help or housing, funds for paying utility bills, and basic needs. Case managers from CRT also work with clients on self-sufficiency as well.
The non-profit is a member of the Continuum of Care (CoC), which is a national, HUD-sponsored program. They work with other agencies and together they make a commitment to the goal of ending homelessness in Connecticut. This is achieved by providing funding for the efforts of nonprofit providers or local governments to quickly re-house the homeless.
Direct financial aid is offered for rent or to pay a security deposit as part of rehousing. The CoO program also works to mitigate the challenges that accompanies homelessness by providing access to mainstream social services. Optimizing self-sufficiency among homeless individuals and families is also a priority.
To that end, Community Renewal Team CoC Program offers a variety of services, including transitional and permanent supportive housing, grants to pay for rental costs, emergency shelters, and rapid re-housing. CRTI is committed to preventing and ending the issue of homelessness in Hartford County and surrounding towns.
For those having difficulty meeting their families' basic needs, CRT Resource Centers are here to help. They work by supplying free food, housing, shelter, heating or energy bill assistance. The locations also offer foreclosure or eviction prevention services.
In addition to supplying referrals and direction to other community programs, CRT offers a variety of services themselves, including but not limited to, the following. They run food pantries, Meals on Wheels - Home Delivery to Seniors, provide emergency utility bill assistance, operate Computer Labs with Free Internet, and also run Senior Community Cafe's.
Supportive Housing offers homeless families, the recently evicted and single adults access to the full range of CRT assistance programs, either on a temporary or ongoing basis. There may also be some low income apartments available for seniors or the disabled.
Caseworkers from the non-profit agency are available to help clients with creating workable budgets, job training and placement, and general life skills coaching. This Community Renewal Team program also provides assistance to those living with mental illness or alcohol/drug abuse as well as survivors of domestic abuse.
Emergency shelter is available for all area residents, and this is a priority of the CRT community action agency. For people in Hartford, New London and other counties in emergency or crisis situations, the organization operates the East Hartford Family Shelter and the McKinney Men's Shelter.
Any needed supportive services are provided by CRT case managers at these sites, who provide information, referrals and education to help the homeless move toward independence and long term self-sufficiency. The housing programs also focus on diverse social groups, such as families, veterans, single adults or moms, seniors, and people who may potentially become homeless.
Assistance is offered for veterans. CRT offers a number of services. For homeless male vets, they operate Veterans Crossing, which is a transitional residence in East Hartford. Another option is SSVF - Support Services for Veteran Families, which assists male and female veterans and their families with working toward more stable housing situations. This may include financial aid for paying rent, medications, and other bills.
The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program provides help for homeless veterans who are looking for part or full time work. In addition, they provide connections for veterans and their families with all federal government VA Services and with programs available in the greater community, including Middlesex County.
CRT's Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program provides a range of services to assist Hartford County as well as Middlesex residents who are facing the possibility of losing their homes or apartments. The agency will offer help to both tenants and homeowners as part of eviction or foreclosure.
The program coordinates workshops on landlord-tenant rights as well as money management. There are also government grants to pay a portion of back rent or maybe a mortgage payment. There are self-sufficiency sessions on several pertinent subjects, including landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities, money management, how the eviction process works, how to rework mortgage payments, and so on.
Case managers from Community Renewal Team also offer housing mediation, in which a neutral party negotiates a fair agreement between tenant and landlord or homeowner and bank. Note that some of the financial assistance with back rent or late mortgage payment may be issued in the form of a loan to clients.
The Energy Bill Assistance Program is for low to moderate-income households. There may be financial assistance or grants for paying utility and/or bills for heating oil, natural gas, kerosene, electricity, propane, or even wood. Tenants whose rent payments include heat may be eligible for this government funded service as well.
Help with making a home more energy-efficient is also available to both renters and homeowners through CRT's Weatherization Assistance Program, or WAP. Community Renewal Team works with technicians and local contractors to evaluate each home and provide services that may include adding insulation, sealing air leaks and repairing heating and cooling systems to make a home more safe, comfortable and cost-efficient.
There are workshops and programs in regard to credit repair, money-management, financial literacy, home retention, debt management, budgeting and more. CRT will also offer home buyer classes and housing counseling in the region, including Tolland and Hartford. The Matched Savings Program helps with saving to establish a business, purchase a new home, obtain a car or pay for an education. On-staff credit counselors provide one-on-one support and case management services in regard to these issues and more, such as debt reduction.
Job training and career counseling are offered in Middlesex, New London and Hartford County. For youth who are still in school, employment-related programming is available both during the school year and during summer break. Adults, including the unemployed, can access these job programs too.
TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients in Middlesex County are eligible to receive free career counseling, job placement/training and more through CRT, beginning with a skills assessment. Based on the sessions that take place, each participant is guided through the creation of an individualized personal training plan.
Youth and child services are designed to serve as a basis for the children from Hartford and nearby regions to enjoy healthy and productive futures. The community action agency will offer day care for infants and toddlers, as well as Head Start and School Readiness programs for preschool-aged children. Their after-school programming helps teenagers and older children acquire new skills or habits to help them improve school performance.
Free meals and food is for low income families in Windsor Locks, Colchester, Enfield, Glastonbury, Middletown, and Portland Connecticut. They are invited to take advantage of the Summer Food Program for Children. Teenagers, their parents or caretakers, are provided with free healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks at various sites in the region.
Senior citizens from Connecticut can get help as well. A number of CRT services are available to enhance the quality of life of the elderly, and the agency is helping them to remain healthy and independent. There are opportunities for them to volunteer and use their talents and skills to help others.
The Community Renewal Team senior housing program offers affordable place to stay combined with support services. Some examples include Meals on Wheels, in which volunteers and staff members deliver free healthy lunches and dinners right to the doors of homebound seniors living in Tolland and Hartford Counties.
Similar to above is the Grocery Delivery Program for homebound seniors and spouses. These home delivery services have the added benefit of providing social interaction and a connection with the outside world for those who are unable to leave their homes. The elderly from the community who are more mobile are encouraged to attend the Senior Cafes for a tasty meal and some social interaction.
CRT services are available at the following sites:
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