FAIRFIELD, CT – Sen. Tony Hwang applauded the approval of $30,000 in state grant funding for Operation Hope to support mortgage foreclosure counseling services, an increasing need for many affected by the economic challenges caused by Covid-19 pandemic.
The funding, which comes from the state’s Interest on Real Estate Broker’s Trust Account (IOREBTA), will help provide area residents with assistance in foreclosure proceedings, financial counseling, and housing remediation. Established in 1992, IOREBTA is not funded by Connecticut taxpayers. Under the program, real estate brokers deposit residential and commercial escrow funds into interest-bearing accounts with the purpose of providing mortgage assistance for low or moderate-income families or persons with down payment or any other appropriate housing subsidies. The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority serves as the fiduciary for the funds.
Operation Hope runs homeless shelters for men, women and families, a community kitchen, and a food pantry. It also owns or operates 46 units of affordable, supportive housing.
Operation Hope’s Executive Director Carla Miklos said, “We are so appreciative for this critically needed mortgage foreclosure counseling grant funding. For the past few years, due to Senator Hwang and former state representative Kupchick’s tireless support of our mission we have received funding. This year, thanks to continual efforts of Senator Hwang, we have been able to secure a $30,000 grant request to help families struggling against possible mortgage foreclosure on their homes. We see this year’s selection as a testament to the good work we are doing every day for the underserved in our communities and we want to thank Sen. Hwang for securing this important funding for our community and those in need of our help.”
Sen. Hwang, who serves as the Ranking Member of the state legislature’s Housing Committee, praised Operation Hope for its efforts to help families in-need.
Sen. Hwang said, “Covid-19 pandemic has been a public health and economic crisis. People are struggling financially and literally one paycheck away from home foreclosure and homelessness. Operation Hope and their entire staff and volunteer team help to stabilize the American dream for families in our communities. That support and counseling helps put families back on the right track. I am so pleased to announce this funding, because I know it will provide lasting dividends and help get people out of poverty and homelessness.”
The current number of filed evictions across the state are 300% higher than last year at this time. Cases are being filed everyday with 3,000 pending cases identified as of the end of September. Operation Hope is already overextended trying to support the number of people who cannot afford housing in our communities.
The additional Covid-19 challenges of 2020 have caused business closures and people to lose their jobs, reduce their incomes, and struggle to recover financially. Renters who are facing financial hardship are also sliding down a slippery slope of owing thousands of dollars in prior months’ rent due to the state enabled and extended moratorium. Landlords who are going month after month without income from tenants are facing their own harsh reality of not being able to keep paying their own mortgages.
The longer the pandemic goes on, the higher these numbers will grow – both in numbers of people in need and in dollars owed.
“Operation Hope has held true to its mission of fighting hunger and homelessness in our communities. They are steadfast even when the need for their support has been at its greatest; even when they must operate without their regular fundraising to sustain their efforts. Operation Hope is an exceptional organization and incredibly deserving of these funds. This is a great investment in a team that is holding our neighbors up when they need it most,” said Sen. Hwang.
Operation Hope Connecticut can be contacted at (203) 292-5588 and their website http://www.operationhopect.org/. An attachment has been provided to give you more information on the mission and diverse support functions Operation Hope provides.
PHOTO Credits: Joseph Lemieux
PHOTO 1: Senator Hwang speaks about the incredible support Fairfield’s Operation Hope provides the community and congratulates OH on the $30,000 state grant he was instrumental in securing.
PHOTO 2: (From Left) Rep. Brian Farnen, Operation Hope’s Executive Director Carla Miklos, Sen. Tony Hwang, and Rep. Laura Devlin stand together to announce the receipt of $30,000 in state grant funding for Operation Hope.