Community News

Governor Lamont Announces Assistance for Renters, Homeowners, and Residential Landlords Impacted by COVID-19 Emergency

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Lamont announced today a comprehensive plan to put more than $33 million in state and federal resources to work providing emergency assistance to renters, homeowners, and residential landlords impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Elements of this plan include:

  • $10 million rental assistance program for Connecticut residents impacted by COVID-19, administered through the Department of Housing, which will provide payments to landlords on behalf of approved tenant applicants, with a priority on lower-income households who have been denied unemployment insurance;
  • $5 million for eviction prevention to help renters who were in the process of eviction before the declaration of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • $10 million to provide mortgage relief to homeowners who have suffered impacts from COVID-19 and whose mortgages are not federally insured, administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA);
  • $4 million in rapid rehousing funds to help people pay costs like security deposits and initial rent to exit homelessness to housing, administered by the Department of Housing;
  • $2.5 million rental assistance program for those who are ineligible for emergency assistance through the federal CARES Act, including those who are undocumented, administered by the Department of Housing;
  • $1.8 million in funding for reentry and rehousing assistance for people exiting incarceration, administered by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness;
  • Extending the residential eviction moratorium to August 25, bringing Connecticut’s measures in line with federal measures (the CARES Act prevents evictions from most properties until late summer); and
  • Extending the opportunity to apply a portion of any security deposit worth more than one month’s rent toward rental payments.

All housing assistance programs administered through the state and through CHFA will include housing counseling to help renters and homeowners problem solve and develop plans to pay housing costs going forward.

In addition to this assistance through the state, large Connecticut cities received $10 million under the CARES Act Emergency Solution Grants program to prevent homelessness and support homeless populations. The Connecticut Department of Housing is encouraging those municipalities to allocate some of that funding to provide rent arrearage assistance for low and very low-income families that are struggling to make ends meet.

Governor Lamont previously allowed and encouraged municipalities to provide homeowners a 90-day grace period on any property taxes due through July 1. His administration also partnered with local financial institutions to provide mortgagors financially impacted by COVID-19 more time to make their payments.

Governor Lamont said, “The COVID crisis has taken a toll on many Connecticut families. We know that some renters and homeowners are having a hard time paying the costs of their housing. It’s critical that we provide emergency help so that they can stay housed, and to support residential landlords, many of who are mom-and-pop small businesses themselves.”

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said, “During the COVID-19 public health emergency, housing hardships have reached unprecedented heights. Too many families across our state have had difficulty paying their rent or mortgage due to job loss or decreases in wages. We need to do all that we can to ensure families have the assistance they need to stay in their homes. By working with multiple partners to launch this emergency housing assistance package, we can help relieve some of the financial burden our families have faced during this pandemic.”

Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said, “Housing stability is critical to the health and wellbeing of Connecticut residents, and COVID has had a significant impact on the ability of many of our families to pay the costs of their housing and maintain that stability. These initiatives, working in coordination with our partners across the housing industry, including legal services, developers, landlords, lenders and our social service providers, will provide a great opportunity to promote stability, and help our families to weather this epidemic.”

Nandini Natarajan, CEO of CHFA, said, “There are many low and moderate-income homeowners with mortgages not covered by CARES Act protections, who need some assistance to meet their mortgage payments. This emergency funding will provide vital assistance, helping them to remain in their homes as they work to regain their financial stability.”

Social Services Commissioner and Acting Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford said, “When people lose their housing, they may be forced to resort to living in doubled-up situations or to enter homeless shelters. Science is clear that denser housing conditions and less ability to socially distance mean a greater risk to these individuals and families, and to their communities, of catching and spreading the COVID virus. Helping Connecticut residents stay housed is an important part of our public health response.”

Kiley Gosselin, Executive Director of the Partnership for Strong Communities, said, “We welcome the governor’s action to extend the eviction moratorium and put in place this package of housing assistance. Housing is a necessity under any circumstances and helping the estimated 230,000 Connecticut renter households at risk of losing their housing to remain housed during this public health emergency is a particularly urgent issue.”

Cecil J. Thomas, an attorney at Greater Hartford Legal Aid, Inc., speaking on behalf of Connecticut’s three legal services programs (Connecticut Legal Services, New Haven Legal Assistance Association, and Greater Hartford Legal Aid) said, “We are very pleased that the governor has ordered extension of the eviction moratorium in tandem with the introduction of these new programs to offer rental assistance to low-income tenants. In light of the enormity of the pandemic crisis for both landlords and tenants, we hope that the governor will take additional steps as the need arises.”

Richard Cho, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, said, “We’ve long known that a stable home is critical to success in reentry. We now know how critical it is to health and to life. We are grateful to the Connecticut state government for ensuring that vulnerable people are not discharged from prison to the streets during this public health emergency, but to a safe and stable home.”

For more information on the resources, please see the following websites:

NUMC Food Pantry

Coronavirus Testing at InterCommunity

COVID-19 Testing Sites & locations

Trinity Health Of New England and Charter Oak Health Center are bringing free COVID-19 testing out into the local Hartford community.  As part of a joint venture with Charter Oak Health Center free COVID-19 testing is being made available at 19 (now 6) different locations, three days per week, from  June 2 through June 11.

Patients are welcome to walk up to a testing location, no appointment necessary, and receive a free COVID-19 test.  The mobile testing program is available for all ages, 6 months and older.  Each mobile test site will be staffed by individuals from Charter Oak and Saint Francis Hospital, a member of Trinity Health Of New England.

The mobile test program will run 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. as follows (weather permitting, subject to change):

  • Tuesday June 2, 2020 | First Church of Living God – 70 Whitney Street, Hartford, CT
  • Wednesday June 3, 2020 | Sigourney Square Park – 280 Sigourney Street, Hartford, CT
  • Thursday June 4, 2020 | Dwight Belizzi School – 215 South Street, Hartford, CT
  • Tuesday June 9, 2020 |  Windsor Shopping Center – 530 Windsor Avenue, Windsor, CT
  • Wednesday June 10, 2020 | East Hartford Public Library – 840 Main Street, East Hartford, CT
  • Thursday June 11, 2020 | Mary Shepard Place, 15 Pavilion Street, Hartford

May 26, 2020 – Community News

Robinson+Cole Facilitates Launch of Statewide COVID-19 Small Business Virtual Legal Clinic in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic

Firm to lead oversight of Connecticut-wide virtual clinic as part of national program

Robinson+Cole and the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) will lead the Connecticut COVID-19 Small Business Virtual Legal Clinic as part of the nationwide program organized by Lawyers for Good Government to assist small businesses in weathering the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mission of the clinic is to help Connecticut’s entrepreneurs and small businesses that have suffered adversely from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing free, limited-scope legal advice. Qualifying small businesses and nonprofits of 25 or fewer employees will be offered a free 45-minute phone or virtual consultation with pro bono attorneys who can answer legal questions and help determine the best path forward for those companies. Consultations will include helping Connecticut small business owners understand the legislative language in the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and answer questions related to employment, contracts, commercial leases and insolvency issues.

Those interested in learning more about the Connecticut COVID-19 Small Business Virtual Legal Clinic, including registration for small business as well as attorney volunteers, please visit

West Indian Foundation Community Conversation Survey

We would like your feedback to incorporate your suggestions into future plans and programs.  Thank you for completing the survey below:

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Free Food Distribution

Rentschler Field
615 Silver Lane, East Hartford, CT

Weekdays:  June 1 – 30 • 8:30 am – 12 pm

More details…

May 17, 2020 – Community News

Free Memorial Day Community Meal

Meals to go, with limited outdoor seating available

55 Bartholomew Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106
(off of Park Street, two blocks west of Pope Park)

Monday, May 25, 2020
Meal served at 11:30am—1:30pm

Reopening guidelines – by sector – restaurants, hair salons & barber shops, museums, zoos

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

We’ve been working closely with the Connecticut office of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and have been informed that just over $110 billion in funding remains for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Many Connecticut companies and non-profits have taken advantage of this program to date, with approximately 30,000 organizations approved for $2.5 billion in forgivable loans so far during this round.

The PPP provides forgivable loans to small businesses and non-profits with less than 500 employees. 75% of the loan must be used for payroll expenses, with the remaining used on rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. More Information about the PPP can be found on the SBA website.

Connecticut has more than 350 SBA-approved banks and credit unions that can help your organization secure this critical funding. If you do not have an existing banking relationship, you can also apply for this program through approved online lenders (fintechs) like PayPal, QuickBooks, Bluevine, Funding Circle, Kabbage, OnDeck, and Square.

Funding for this program will not last much longer. I encourage you to apply today.

David Lehman, Commissioner, (860) 500-2310

Youth Violence Prevention Program

100 CARE PACKAGES to be distributed
Free CARIBBEAN “Grab and GO” Care Packages for youth ages 5 through 17
June 13, 2020
10 AM to 2 PM
Location: West Indian Social Club
3340 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06120
Drive Up and Pick Up a care package – no need to get out of your car!

Restaurants/Breweries/Food Facilities- Get on state list that list places providing take out food/beverage services

The list is available to any restaurant/food facility/brewery/winery, that is active with take-out or delivery. The Tourism Office sent out an initial call to restaurants with an existing list of over 8,000 tourism had access to at that point and time.

Businesses can continuously sign up to get on the list through the Tourism Portal  (link below). There is a pop-up COVID-19 message on the site that say “If you think you should be on this list, let the Office of Tourism know”.  I have also alerted the Tourism team of your concerns for follow up.

*If you are the manager of a restaurant that you think should be on this list, please contact the Connecticut Office of Tourism.

Week of April 26, 2020 – Community News

Caribbean Update Covid-19  – Town Hall with West Indian Ambassadors  (Boston, MA 4/21/2020):


Hartford Symphony Orchestra to hold virtual gala, Reimagine Joy, on May 2; online auction now open

In the spirit of enduring optimism and creativity, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra has announced that its 2020 Bravo! gala, IGNITE JOY, has been renamed REIMAGINE JOY, and will be celebrated virtually on May 2 at 7 pm. The virtual gala will feature music performed by HSO musicians and much more. All are welcome to this free online event. A link to the gala will be available on at that time.

Working from Home Things you Need to Know:    Learn how to set up your home office –      

Food in Hartford During Pandemic

Free Food Distribution at Rentschler Field – Weekdays April 27 – May 8:  8:30 am – 12 pm



HARTFORD, CONN (April 21, 2020) – Today the City of Hartford, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, HEDCO, Inc., and Capital for Change launched a $1 million Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program to provide at least 100 small Hartford businesses with a grant of up to $10,000 to make lease or mortgage payments, pay salaries, make vendor payments, pay taxes, or pay for other eligible expenses.

The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program is aimed at small businesses that may have difficulty obtaining funding from other federal or state initiatives, with a particular focus on providing assistance to small businesses owned by women and people of color, located in low-income neighborhoods in Hartford.  The program will be administered by Capital for Change and applications will be accepted online beginning on May 4, 2020.  A link to the application will be available at  Grant awards are expected to be made on or before May 22, 2020.  Program dates are subject to change.

Beginning on April 27, 2020, interested businesses can access technical assistance to ensure they are prepared to submit an application.  Organizations providing technical assistance include the Blue Hills Civic Association, the Upper Albany Merchants Association, the Spanish American Merchants Association, HEDCO Inc., the Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Hartford, the Minority Construction Council, and the Hartford Chamber of Commerce.

In order to be eligible for the grant, businesses must: (a) be located within the City of Hartford, (b) be able to provide at least one federal tax return, (c) have positive revenues not exceeding $500,000 for the submitted tax years, (d) have an EIN and/or DUNS number, if applicable.  Other eligibility requirements will be available in the grant application.  In an effort to make grants available to as many business owners as possible, principal owners of multiple businesses will only be eligible for one grant.

In addition to the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, in the coming months the City of Hartford will launch a separate grant program to provide approximately $300,000, with a focus on helping small businesses in Hartford neighborhoods restart when restrictions on business activity begin to loosen.

“This pandemic has devastated small businesses, and we want to do everything we can to help our small businesses here in Hartford survive, reopen, re-hire, and start growing again,” said Mayor Luke Bronin.  “All too often, small businesses in communities like Hartford don’t have the banking relationships, the connections, or the ability to access federal grants or loans, and this partnership is aimed at helping those small businesses that are most likely to be left out.  We are incredibly grateful to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Capital for Change, and HEDCO for partnering with us, and we’re looking for additional partners to grow this program going forward.”

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and we are proud to join with these partners to get them critical support during this unprecedented time,” said City Council President Maly D. Rosado.  “The businesses we are targeting for support employ residents and serve residents, and we want to do everything we can to help them survive.  We are grateful to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Capital for Change, and HEDCO for joining with us to create this important initiative.”

“When the state was forced to close down, this not only had a devastating impact on many of our local small business owners and staff but also the residents who rely on their services and the vibrancy they bring to their neighborhoods,” said Jay Williams, President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.  “We know that small businesses owned by women and people of color do not always have access to the capital they need to survive and thrive, and that the current pandemic is exacerbating those inequities.  We are proud to stand with the City and the other partners in support of this effort.”

“We are pleased to be able to participate in such an impactful program,” said Fernando Rosa, President and CEO of HEDCO, Inc., and Kim Hawkins, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of HEDCO, Inc.  “Supporting our small business community in their hour of need.  Those businesses that provide so many of Hartford’s local jobs.  Glad to be able to help!”

“Our team is working hard to implement the grant program efficiently and strategically given the immense and pressing needs of the small business community in Hartford,” added Cal Vinal, President & CEO of Capital for Change.

The City also announced today that it is awarding approximately $120,000 to seventeen small businesses under an existing grant program, in partnership with CTNext’s Innovation Places program.  The City used funding from CTNext’s Innovation Places program, secured by Launc[H]artford, to support small businesses in the corridor between Trinity College and Hartford Hospital.

“Launc[H] is proud to support Hartford’s small business community,” said Launc[H] Director, Michelle Cote.  “We believe that our city has the potential to continue to grow as a significant center of innovation activity, but that is only possible if our neighborhoods remain vibrant.  Small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, and our region.  Their growth and success will help to spur our collective growth and success, and we look forward to seeing the ways in which they invest in capital, and other business improvements through these grants.”

CTNext’s COVID-19 Webinar Series Content Available Online

Content from the recent series of CTNext webinars focused on helping entrepreneurs, startups, and early stage companies develop new strategies to manage their business during the current crisis is now available online for free.

Webinar topics:

  • The CARES Act and other government assistance programs
  • Managing your finances during the crisis
  • What private investors are thinking, and how you can revise your strategies for retaining and attracting funding

The content includes video recordings of the webinars and copies of presentation slide decks. The presentations also provide references to organizations and resources that can help you learn more. To access this content, visit

Health Equity Solutions:  How We Feel App

A free app, called How We Feel, was launched recently to help health officials better understand and track the spread of the pandemic. Users can self-report on their phones, or on the web at In Connecticut, the app has 32,429 users so far, with about 80% of users residing in Hartford, New Haven, and Fairfield counties.

Built by the nonprofit called The How We Feel Project, the app was created by doctors, scientists, and technologists. Users self-report basic health information, such as any symptoms of COVID-19 infection or that they are feeling fine. The app offers the option of setting daily reminders to enter updates.

Data from the app is then anonymously provided to scientists and public health officials who can better determine where a new outbreak may occur, identify new populations at risk, and measure the impact of social distancing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social distancing is currently the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The app is available to download for free in the Apple Store and the Google Play Store.

For more information, visit or contact

Week of April 19, 2020 – Community News

Minority Business Webinar – $20,000 Still Available

Thursday, April 23, 2020 @ 12:30 p.m.

Register in advance for this meeting:


Caribbean Response to Covid-19

Listen to this video conversation with major Caribbean regional players concerning their roles in directing Caribbean regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Could you have COVID-19 and not know it?

Check out the following link below for a checklist of symptoms.

What is the CARES Act?
On March 27th, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The CARES Act outlines relief programs to help independent contractors, small businesses, and local governments.

The CARES Act has three main relief programs designed to provide relief to independent contractors and small business owners.

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans. The PPP Loan can help cover short-term costs, and up to 8 weeks can be forgiven.
    • Applications deadline & Information: Independent contractors can start applying through existing SBA approved lenders.  You may go through the bank you currently do business with.

How do I extend my non-immigrant stay in the United States?

Extension of Stay USCIS Guide

City of Hartford – Resources

Resources for Basic Needs


  • Hartford Public Schools is operating meal distribution sites three days a week for all HPS and CREC students in Hartford.  Please click herefor the latest information.
  • FoodShare operates mobile sites almost every weekday, and a list of sites is available here.  Foodshare also has a 24/7 hotline that can tell you where mobile sites will be at 860-856-4321.
  • Search on 211for the latest information on food pantries.



  • If you can pay your utility bill, you should continue to do so. However, Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) announcedthat it issued a ruling directing all regulated electric, natural gas, and water companies in the state to cease residential service terminations for nonpayment as a protective measure during the current public health emergency.
  • The MDC announcedon March 13, 2020 that it will not initiative any water service shutoffs until further notice.


 From the Connecticut Judicial Branch:

 The State and federal governments have taken a number of steps to help protect homeowners and renters impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Connecticut Judicial Branch: Consistent with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recently enacted 60-day moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, the Court is hereby extending its previous Orders cancelling some foreclosure sales with the following Orders:
  • ALL foreclosure sales previously scheduled to have occurred in April or May are hereby rescheduled to Saturday, June 6, 2020, with no appointed Committee to begin working on the sale (i.e. place foreclosure signs on properties, etc.) prior to May 1, 2020.
  • The judgment in ANY foreclosure action in which the Court set a “law day” to run on any date in April or May is hereby amended with the first law day now set for June 2, 2020.
  • There shall be an immediate stay of all issued executions on evictions and ejectments through May 1, 2020.

From the Connecticut Fair Housing Center:

If you have any questions or concerns about fair housing protection, or believe you have experienced discrimination in housing, please call the Connecticut Fair Housing Center at (860) 247-4400 or (888) 247-4401 (toll free) or use the link below:

Hartford Launches Dedicated COVID-19 Response Website
Hartford launched, a website focused on the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The website provides useful and important information answering frequently asked questions, CDC guidance on facemasks, resources for students and families, and more.

An additional feature of the website is a section on the Hartford 311 app for residents to report non-essential business that are remaining open, recreational gatherings, and other general COVID-19 related concerns.

What To Do If You Think You Have COVID-19?: Click Here

CDC Guidance Regarding Facemasks: Click Here

CDC Guidance Regarding Facemasks (En Espanol): Click Here

Resources for Students and Families: Click Here

City of Hartford – Coronavirus Updates

Windsor Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Virtual Business Roundtable Series
Adam Gutcheon, Windsor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, and Jim Burke, Economic Development Director for the Town of Windsor, are hosting a virtual business roundtable on Mondays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Gutcheon and Burke give an update on actions taken on the state and federal levels to provide relief to businesses, and how Windsor and the Chamber of Commerce are responding.

To learn more about the weekly roundtable discussion and for a link to the Zoom call: Click Here

Or, call 646-876-9923 and enter the meeting ID: 344 422 622.

Paycheck Protection Program Recorded Webinar
Earlier this week, Economic Innovation Group, or EIG, recorded a webinar on the Paycheck Protection Program, offering forgivable loans to small businesses hit hard by COVID-19. You can listen to a recording here and access a program overview and frequently asked questions here.

ConnectiCare Benefits Updates
Employees covered by ConnectiCare can visit in-network health care or mental health clinicians from home at no charge. Working from home and social distancing is important, but physical and mental health care remains just as important during these challenging times. ConnectiCare members can talk to doctors and mental health clinicians from home without paying deductibles, copays or coinsurance if they see in-network providers. Visits can cover non-COVID injuries or illnesses through May 31.

North Hartford Churches form Community Partnership for Distribution of Prepared Meals at 6:00pm daily on Mondays through Saturdays (Until further notice!)


Phillips Metropolitan CME Church, 2500 Main Street, Hartford, CT ~ Mondays + Saturdays

Mt. Olive Church Ministries, 20 Battles Street, Hartford, CT ~ Tuesdays + Thursdays

The Citadel of Love, 167 Barbour Street, Hartford, CT ~ Wednesdays + Fridays

Please share with your networks and to those in need. Thank you!

Making Your Own Mask with Materials at Home

Center for Disease Control & Prevention

See brief video & Additional Information:  home.

 Thank you for the following that have provided information: City of Hartford,  North Hartford Churches,

Additional Information for the Community