HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Ten days into the new budget year, and no progress to report on solving the state budget stalemate. And with the prolonged stalemate comes word that one of the first cuts the Governor is being forced to make is for the state’s rental assistance program that helps thousands of Connecticut residents end homelessness.
On Monday, News 8 got a close-up look at who may be first to suffer under the Governor’s Executive Order running the state from month-to-month without a real state budget. We got it from 54-year-old Gina Anton of New London who said, “I’m just a prime example of; it could happen to anybody.”
Gina Anton made the trip from New London to Hartford Monday to tell her story. Six years ago, she lost the job she had held for nearly two decades, and then lost her home in West Haven; becoming homeless for the first time in her life at the age of 48.
Originally from New London, she sought help at the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, and for the past two years has, with a state rental assistance monthly housing voucher, gotten back on her feet.
I always thought that I could handle everything on my own, raise my son, own my own house, work for Northeast Utilities for eighteen years, and then I’m out on the street.”
Gina told her story today to housing advocates from around the state where the Governor announced that he’s had no choice but to cut $4.5 million from the rental assistance program because of the budget stalemate. It places great fear into the lives of people like Gina who added, “If I didn’t have that now, I don’t know where I’d be.”
Cathy Zall of the New London Homeless Hospitality Center telling the Governor today, “When I left New London we had a dozen new people presenting, experiencing homelessness, seeking an intake.”
One by one, housing advocates from around the state made it clear that the longer the budget stalemate goes on the more vulnerable people will be put in jeopardy.
Lisa Teppler Bates of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness saying, “Taking people who we have moved from homelessness, who were moved from cycling in and out of hospitals or our jails. We’ve moved them into housing and we’re
talking about potentially pulling housing our from under them.”
After today’s forum Governor Malloy saying, “I don’t want anyone in the state to think that I am joyful about having to make these decisions on my own. This is not what you hire a Governor for.”
Malloy says you hire a Governor to work with a legislature to approve a balanced budget and that the 90 day mini budget he proposed last month would have avoided these cuts but right now the State Senate and the State House of Reps can’t even agree on that.