The Connecticut Department of Social Services, or (DSS), works with a number of community based non-profit agencies and local towns to offer residents support. The programs include, but are not limited to, emergency housing, rent, and mortgage assistance. Oftentimes the statewide agency provides and administers grant programs to the local agencies who then distribute money to the needy. In certain cases the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) may distribute funds themselves. No matter the situation that the family is faced with, they are a great place to call for information and referrals. Get more information and details on the extensive number of resources and housing services below.
Rent Bank – This has been established to provide financial assistance for paying rent to low and moderate income households. Priority is given to families and individuals who are in are in imminent danger of eviction or foreclosure. Applicants therefore generally need a vacate notice from their landlord or need to be threatened with a foreclosure in the local courts. The goal of DSS is to stop homelessness across the state, so money is offered to those people who are most at risk of losing their home or apartment.
Security Deposit Programs and Housing Subsidies – Since the mission of the Connecticut Department of Social Services is to help individuals and families address housing issues, this will mean they can assist the homeless with move in costs. DSS can also help them maintain or achieve their full potential for self-reliance, various subsidy programs are run. They include the following housing and rental assistance programs. The Security Deposit Guarantee Program; the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, and the state of Connecticut Rental Assistance Program.
Transitional housing and shelters – DSS runs a grant program for the homeless so they can access shelters and short term transitional housing. The locations can offer initial shelter, social supportive services, and nutrition, among other aid. The various transitional living programs help to facilitate the movement of homeless people of all backgrounds into decent housing, affordable apartments or homes. There are also units focused on veterans, women that are survivors of DV or single parents, and others. The service will provide them with a stable living environment.
Connecticut Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program (EFPP) – The goal is to prevent both foreclosures and evictions through housing mediation. Renters can also get grants and financial help from the Rent Bank referenced above. A number of community-based agencies and non-profits operate the program across the state.
A trained housing or foreclosure mediator acts as a third party facilitator to help develop mutually agreed upon solutions between the bank and homeowner, or between the landlord and tenant. The mediator will try to find a solution to identified problems which may include negotiation for back rent or mortgage payments, repairs, housing code violations and communication problems. If the issue is strictly monetary, then the Rent Bank may be able to provide funds to eligible families to help pay their back mortgage or rent arrears.
Grants for Housing for AIDS patients - The state of Connecticut department provides funds to house people with AIDS or HIV, and provides grants for their operation. The service can help stabilize the situation so they can focus on their medical needs. The program is run at your local county level.
Emergency Rental Assistance for TANF Families in Motels/Hotels – Families in Connecticut who receive TANF can get help in paying for emergency housing. The Department of Social Services can help them move from a motel into a new apartment. Many parents with kids using this service, or they apply to other housing assistance programs for single mothers that are available.
Connecticut Rental Assistance Program (RAP) – This is the primary housing and rent program offered by the Connecticut Department of Social Services. Very-low-income families, seniors, and disabled may be able to get help in paying for affordable decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.
Participants in the RAP program find their own housing, including townhouses, apartments, and single-family homes to live in. The housing unit they select just needs to meet program terms. Certificates and vouchers are then provided by the Department of Social Services. Applications and details are offered by your local Connecticut Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and Community Action Agency.
Security Deposit Guarantee Program – Qualified applicants can get a guarantee on their rent to landlords of up to two month's. This is even similar to a loan for paying their rent instead of an actual cash payment. People who get a section 8 housing voucher may apply, a participant in RAP can ask for this service, or someone who works with the Connecticut Housing authority may also be qualified for a security deposit.
Mediation Program and Assessment for Families at Risk of Becoming Homeless – If you are unable to pay your mortgage or rent, then this program may be able to assist. Resources offered include assessment, conflict resolution, community based mediation and use of the rent bank which is referenced above.
Housing Services for Victims of Domestic Violence – The social services department works closely with local non-profits to offer housing and general support services to victims of domestic violence. Assistance programs run include security deposit assistance, emergency shelter, foreclosure counseling, advocacy, a 24-hour hotline and information and referral. Shelter and transitional housing for victims and their children are offered too.
This emergency program also provides a number of shelter services, including support staff, living expenses, emergency food and other social services and financial help for victims of household abuse. It is also intended to reduce and ideally stop the incidence of domestic household abuse through preventive education programs for all family members.
The Housing Authority of Connecticut also works with the Department of Social Services to administer the Section 8 housing choice vouchers. This is the federal government funded program that helps the low income find and pay for housing. Participants are allowed to find their own homes or apartments to live in, provided the unit meets standards as established by section 8.
If the rental units found do meet the minimum standards of safety and quality as determined by the federal government HUD agency, then the rent assistance will not be provided. A housing subsidy or voucher to apply towards your monthly rent is paid by the local Connecticut PHA to the landlord directly on behalf of the participating family. The family who is then part of section 8 then pays the difference between the actual monthly rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the federal government program.
To learn more about any of these emergency housing programs, rent help, or other aid call the Connecticut housing authority/social services. They are located at 25 Sigourney Street Hartford, CT 06106-5033 and can be reached at 800-842-1508.
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