Press Release Emergency Rental Utility Assistance Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Connecticut Legal Services joins with Greater Hartford Legal Aid, New Haven Legal Assistance, and Statewide Legal Services, in partnership with Connecticut’s Department of Housing, under Unite CT., a new state program to provide rental and utility assistance to qualified Connecticut households financially impacted by COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our clients who already faced numerous challenges in meeting their basic needs,” Deborah Witkin, executive director of Connecticut Legal Services, said. “We look forward to working with our partners in Unite CT to ensure that our clients can maintain stable housing during one of the most destabilizing times our community has experienced. This program will help our clients begin to address the effects of the pandemic.”

Read the full press release

Systemic Complaint Filed on Behalf of Bridgeport School Children

Connecticut Legal Services, with the Center for Children’s Advocacy, filed a systemic complaint on March 11, 2021 with the State Department of Education on behalf of students with disabilities in Bridgeport Public Schools after Bridgeport failed  to provide appropriate education services to those students.  The complaint asks for individual relief for the students who have not received adequate education programs and asks the Department of Education to ensure Bridgeport Public Schools develops a district-wide plan to fill current staffing gaps and address new gaps as they arise.


Read the Full Press Release Here


CLS leads the effort in filing a Complaint with the U.S. Office for Civil Rights on behalf of our low-income clients, people who are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and all other nonwhite racial identities in CT.


Read our press release OCR complaint Covid-19 Vaccine Discrimination




On March 8, 2021 attorneys with Connecticut Legal Services, Greater Hartford Legal Aid and New Haven Legal Assistance Association filed a Complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), on behalf of their low-income clients who are people who are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and all other nonwhite racial identities in CT (BIPOC), including those with disabilities.  The complaint requests that OCR investigate Connecticut’s COVID-19 allocation plan that was announced on February 22, 2021 which violates Title Vl of Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, Title Il of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, by:


  • imposing eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 vaccine that discriminate against and unfairly burden nonwhite individuals protected by law;
  • refusing to reasonably modify its COVID-19 vaccine policy so that it no longer discriminates against nonwhite individuals and those with disabilities and pre-existing conditions.


Governor Lamont announced a change in vaccination allocation policy which now almost exclusively prioritizes age to determine one’s eligibility. The former policy took into account the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and followed the recommendations of CT’s own COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group’s Vaccine Allocation Subcommittee which prioritized people with underlying medical conditions and certain types of essential workers, such as grocery store and agricultural field workers, who were slated to be eligible for the vaccine on March 1st.  The new policy ignores those recommendations, and simply prioritizes age, with the exception of teachers and childcare providers, while continuing to include first responders and healthcare workers.


Data shows several things about CT’s BIPOC residents:

  • More likely to be working in essential jobs that regularly expose them to the virus
  • More likely to live in tightly cramped housing
  • More likely to use public transportation
  • More likely to have pre-existing conditions and comorbidities


“All of these factors contribute to Black and brown Connecticut residents contracting COVID-19 at higher rates, and dying of it at higher rates,” attorney Kristen Noelle Miller Hatcher of Connecticut Legal Services said. She added, “in fact, in CT Black and brown people are dying younger when they contract COVID-19, making it even more critical that the allocation of the vaccine not be done simply by age, and that they need to instead prioritize people with underlying conditions and with high risks of exposure- especially those fellow residents who need to go to their jobs and are unable to work remotely, as the state’s earlier plan appropriately provided.”






COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

Protect Yourself and Avoid COVID-19 Vaccine Scams


 As COVID-19 vaccine distribution begins, here are signs of potential scams:

  • You are asked to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine.
  • You are asked to pay to put your name on a vaccine waiting list or to get early access.
  • Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources.
  • Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine for payment.

Protect Yourself. Do not give out your personal information to unknown sources.

If you believe you have been the victim of COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it to:

  • HHS-OIG Hotline: 1-800-HHS-TIPS I
  • FBI Hotline: 1-800-CALL-FBI I
  • CMS/Medicare Hotline: 1-800-MEDICARE

PDF Flyer: COVID-19 Vaccine Scams (PDF)

An Appeal for Justice: Help us help our neighbors!

Dear Friends,

As Connecticut Legal Services’ staff reflects on one of the most memorable years in our nation’s history, we are grateful for the role that supporters such as you played in helping us face this past year’s challenges. Our clients have lost their jobs, struggled to help their children learn remotely, feared eviction from their homes, experienced an increase in family violence, and struggled to meet their basic needs. Our clients came to us in desperation and your support made our help possible. One such client is Nancy.

Nancy, a mother of three, came to CLS after one of many beatings she received at the hands of her husband. She was visibly bruised and frightened when she approached CLS for help. Nancy was still living with her abuser at the time. Her CLS attorney helped her file charges against her husband, resulting in his arrest. CLS helped Nancy obtain a restraining order, file for divorce, and get a temporary order of custody of her children. CLS also helped Nancy and her children obtain shelter with a domestic violence program and access the services that program provides. As a result, Nancy’s older son began receiving therapy to help him deal with the abuse he witnessed in the household and his resulting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

With temporary safety achieved, Nancy’s CLS attorney began working toward Nancy’s longer-term stability. After guiding her through the process of securing appropriate and safe housing, Nancy’s CLS attorney helped her apply for subsistence benefits to make sure that Nancy could feed her children and make ends meet while she worked to get back on her feet. Because of CLS’ help, Nancy and her children are living in safety and working towards financial stability.

We need your support more than ever as we continue to address the consequences of the global pandemic on the low-income community of Connecticut. Please consider making a gift to CLS’ Campaign for Justice so that we can help Nancy and others who are struggling during these unprecedented times.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.


Deborah Witkin
Executive Director




State of Connecticut has relaunched the THRAP rental assistance program for Connecticut

The State of Connecticut has relaunched the THRAP rental assistance program for Connecticut residents impacted by COVID. Information on how to apply is on the flyers.

Download the English & Spanish Flyers:

TRHAP Phase 2 Flyer English

TRHAP Phase 2 Flyer Spanish

Applicants may visit and directly
input their information into the TRHAP Portal.

Applicants may contact the Call Center at 860-785-3111, and an
agent will enter the data directly into the TRHAP Portal for them.




Governor Announces Launch of New Paid Leave Authority Website To Help Navigate Paid Leave in Connecticut

Connecticut Legal Services and its partners fought to get Paid Family Sick Leave legislation passed in Connecticut.  It is set to begin on January 1, 2021 and benefits will be accessible the following year.  The Governor announced a new website that will help all residents navigate the program.  Check it out here…

New Paid Leave Authority Website To Help Navigate Paid Leave in Connecticut



Temporary Rental Assistance Program Opens July 15

The state is opening its Temporary Rental Assistance Program starting July 15th, 2020.  There is a very short window to submit applications.

Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program TRHAP FLYER



State of Connecticut Temporary RentalHousing Assistance Program (TRHAP)

  • The State of Connecticut with financial support from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority has launched a rental assistance program for Connecticut residents impacted by COVID-19, administered through the Department of Housing:
  • Potential applicants will be directed to a Centralized Call Center for Threshold Eligibility, after which a detailed application must be completed, including verification of documentation.
  • Initial priority for assistance will be targeted at individuals and families who have been denied unemployment assistance from the Department of Labor.
  • If you are unemployed/under-employed and have not yet filed for unemployment assistance, you should do so as soon as possible.
  • Please make every attempt to remain in contact with your landlord, and to make rental payments.
  • Beginning 8 am on Wednesday, July 15, call the number below and speak to a Call Center Representative to determine if you qualify for TRHAP assistance. For

additional information about the program, please  visit






A Legal Services Conversation About Equity with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy

The Legal Services program in Connecticut will be hosting a conversation with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy on Wednesday, July 1st, 2020 at 1 pm on racial equity.


GHLA, CT Legal Services, and New Haven Legal Assistance Association are hosting a Legal Services Conversation with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. Moderated by Alison Weir of GHLA and Kristen Noelle Hatcher of CT Legal Services, we will be discussing race equity issues, including:

• Evictions, Housing & Rental Assistance
• Education & School Resource Officers
• Employment, COVID 19, PPE & Return to Work
• HUSKY and Health Equity
• Nursing Home Safety

This is a Zoom meeting.
Time: Jul 1, 2020 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

To join the Zoom Meeting

To join via phone:
+1 646 558 8656
Meeting ID: 821 8824 9265
Password: 695236