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Relief program allows CT residents to forgo rent and focus on career studies

 “This program has done a big change for me because right now I don't have to worry about my rental,” Rodriguez said. “I can spend that time that I used to have to take on extra jobs, do Uber, do DoorDash, anything to just pay my bills, and I can just take that time to study, get good grades, because I'm extremely focused on that.”


She recently began working as a per diem phlebotomist at Bristol Hospital, and said the program has allowed her to build a career without fear of unpaid rent or getting evicted
Abigail Brone
/
Connecticut Public
Hartford native Luan Rodriquez, who is a single mother of two young children, is training to become a health care worker through CareerConneCT and said the program has allowed her to build a career without fear of unpaid rent or getting evicted.

Connecticut residents enrolled in a state training program may not have to worry about paying rent while in training.

A new state initiative adds rental assistance for people in the state’s CareerConneCT workforce training program. Those who qualify will have their rent paid for up to nine months.

The program, announced on Monday in Bridgeport, will be funded with $30 million in COVID-19 federal aid. Households can receive a maximum of $15,000 to cover rent.

Hartford native Luan Rodriquez, who is a single mother of two young children, is training to become a health care worker through CareerConneCT. Rodriguez said the program gives her room to breathe.

“This program has done a big change for me because right now I don't have to worry about my rental,” Rodriguez said. “I can spend that time that I used to have to take on extra jobs, do Uber, do DoorDash, anything to just pay my bills, and I can just take that time to study, get good grades, because I'm extremely focused on that.”

She recently began working as a per diem phlebotomist at Bristol Hospital, and said the program has allowed her to build a career without fear of unpaid rent or getting evicted.

As the COVID-19 funding is a finite amount, residents are encouraged to apply for CareerConneCT, where a designated case manager can aid in applying for the rental assistance program.

Depending on its success, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said the state will look at other ways in the future to fund the assistance program.

The program will allow residents to focus on their education and careers without worrying about rent, Department of Labor Commissioner Dante Bartolomeo said.

“If someone doesn’t have housing, if they don’t have that kind of framework and that structure beneath them, it’s almost impossible to do a whole lot of other things,” Bartolomeo said.

To qualify, participants must have a household income of 80% of the area median income (AMI).

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Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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