WNPR

Mayors Ask Connecticut Governor For Help Supporting Puerto Rican Evacuees

Mar 21, 2018

A letter signed by Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and six other mayors from Connecticut’s larger cities was sent to Governor Dannel Malloy Monday asking for assistance with evacuee families in three areas.

“I think what’s important is that we as a state come together to make sure that the communities that are experiencing the greatest influx of displaced residents are able to welcome those residents appropriately,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

The mayors want the governor to ensure that federal money earmarked for schools to pay for evacuee students arrives in the districts as soon as possible. They also want help in eliminating a potential obstacle in the way of jobs for Puerto Rican evacuees — asking the state to waive fees for occupational licenses.

Finally, they want Malloy to petition the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to allow more than the maximum number of occupants in one Section 8 housing unit for those who get housing vouchers.

Bronin said his city may be on the hook for more than $1.2 million in taking in displaced students.

“In Hartford, nearly 500 students have enrolled into Hartford Public Schools since the hurricane,” Bronin said. “Of course that happens after the state grants are set and it’s a significant cost.”

In the letter, the mayors applauded Malloy’s inclusion of $400,000 for evacuee families in his proposed 2019 budget. But they’re seeking more immediate help from the governor. Speaking Tuesday, Malloy did not commit to more specifics.

“I think we made a proposal on distributing money to the districts already and I think we’re pretty proud of our response,” Malloy said. “And we will continue that response in assistance to our fellow citizens.”

Malloy said he’d take a look at the letter, but he hadn’t received it yet.