BRIDGEPORT– Surrounded by senior citizens, Bridgeport Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor Joe Ganim today offered Ned Lamont a basic education about the state funded Renter’s Rebate Program, and called for it to be expanded as well. Ganim appeared at the Sycamore Place Apartments in Bridgeport to help sign up senior citizens for the housing assistance program. Ganim was surprised to reada recent news story that highlighted how Lamont was unaware of the state funded program, which is critical for seniors on fixed incomes. Mayor Ganim says this is not enough, and the amounts need to be increased.
The Renters’ Rebate program provides up to $900 a year to married senior couples and $700 to individuals based on income criteria to help defray the cost of housing and utilities. Mayor Ganim is proposing that the amount for couples be increased to $1,000 a year, and to $750 for individuals. This would only add around $1,500,000 to the state budget, but would provide much needed help for an estimated 16,000 seniors who currently utilize the program.
“It is shocking that Ned Lamont was unaware of the Renters’ Rebate program, which is so critical to seniors throughout Connecticut. It shows how out of touch Ned Lamont is with the concerns of seniors struggling to make ends meet,” said Ganim.
“With housing and utility costs constantly rising, Renters’ Rebate is critical for Connecticut’s seniors, and it almost fell victim to state budget cuts last year”, said Mayor Ganim. “This is a program that should be protected and expanded, and it’s unacceptable that someone running for governor was was unaware that it even existed. My administration in Bridgeport even stepped up and offered nearly $1,000,000 to help fund the program before the money was added back to the state budget. As governor I will make sure this program is able to expand and thrive, helping Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents during difficult economic times.”
The Renters’ Rebate program is budgeted for over $13,000,000 by the state this fiscal year. Ganim says the increases he’s proposing would be a tiny piece of the state budget, but would make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of Connecticut seniors and disabled people. According to the state Office of Policy and Management, Renters’ Rebate assisted over 47,000 people and paid out $24,000,000 in grants in the 2013 fiscal year, meaning it has been reduced dramatically in the last few years during the budget process.