NEW HAVEN, CT – On September 2, 2020, Mayor Justin Elicker joined HUD’s Regional Administrator David Tille along with state, and local housing officials and stakeholders, to launch the City of New Haven’s Emergency Housing Response aimed at helping residents experiencing housing instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic, known as CASTLE: Coronavirus Assistance and Security Tenant Landlord Emergency Program. The event was held at the New Haven Opportunity Center in New Haven.
“This collaborative program will provide New Haven tenants and homeowners with financial and technical resources to ease the burdens created by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a sense of housing stability to our residents,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.
David Tille, the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, praised the program as a model for other cities bracing for a possible wave of COVID-19 related evictions and foreclosures. “The New Haven Emergency Housing Response Program shows what’s possible when city and community organizations collaborate with state and federal agencies to find resources and solutions to keep people stably housed. This program is just one example of how the more than $88 million in CARES Act funding that HUD has invested in Connecticut is making a difference,” Tille said.
The Mayor was also joined by the Commissioner of the Department of Housing, Seila Mosquera-Bruno, whose agency has its own programs to help renters and homeowners throughout the state; she applauded Mayor Elicker’s efforts. “The economic upheaval from COVID-19 has been far-reaching. I have been able to develop a great working relationship with Mayor Elicker and the City of New Haven, starting with our collaboration to decompress the shelters. It’s great to see a municipality be proactive in providing another pool of funding to assist the residents of their city,” said Commissioner Mosquera-Bruno.
Livable Cities Initiative (LCI) Director Neal-Sanjurjo outlined details of the program and criteria for eligibility. Along with direct financial support, it offers a hotline that renters and homeowners can call to get help assessing state and local housing programs. LCI will operate the hotline and has established an eviction resolution fund and a housing stabilization fund for qualifying renters and homeowners — working in collaboration with local housing counselors and mediators. “This response will provide a vital safety net for residents at risk of losing their homes,” she said.
“Keeping people in their homes has the added benefit of shoring up the local housing market,” said New Haven Economic Development Administrator Michael Piscitelli. “Rental housing is a vital element of the local economy, and the tax revenue generated by homeowners is essential to New Haven’s fiscal health,” he said. “This program will not only shield already struggling residents from further hardship, but it will also help sustain the local economy until we can get it fully up and running post-pandemic,” he concluded.