Weekly Update September 10

September 10, 2023

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Dear Neighbor,

The application period for the 2023-2024 winter season of the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is open. CEAP provides vulnerable state homeowners and renters with crucial support for the associated costs with heating their homes.

Applications for the 2023-2024 winter season must be received by May 31, 2024. If you are interested, there are several ways to apply: 
•    Visit ct.gov/heatinghelp
•    Call your local community action agency and request application assistance or schedule an in-person appointment (Click here for the list of phone numbers)
•    Download and complete the CEAP application. Mail the completed application and required documents to your local community action agency. (Click here for the list of mailing addresses)

Additional information on the application process can be obtained by visiting ct.gov/heatinghelp or calling 2-1-1. 

Basic benefits toward heating bills range from $180 to $530 depending on income, size of household, and need. Benefits are available for households with incomes up to 60% of the state median income, which equates to roughly $79,910 for a family of four. These benefits are usually paid directly to the utility company or fuel supplier. Households that heat with deliverable fuels like oil or propane may be eligible for multiple free tank refills.

I want to spread the word that this resource is available to our most vulnerable community members.

Building On Our Skilled Workforce

During the 2023 legislative session, we successfully passed a number of measures, which will enhance and support our skilled workforce and make our state more attractive for companies and new businesses.
These new initiatives in diverse fields including education, aviation, healthcare, and first responders seek to attract the best talent from within and beyond to create a top-notch workforce.

Below are some highlights of the work we accomplished this past session:

Public Act 23-97 is a multifaceted step forward for those in the medical fields.

Additional measures include:
Public Act 23-167:

  • Expands school-based apprenticeship opportunities in aviation and aerospace
  • Builds on training for future paraeducators
  • Offers dual credit/enrollment opportunities

Public Act 23-55:

  • Creates prosecutor apprenticeships for law school students

Public Act 23-207:

  • Creates tax credits and incentives for towns and businesses that build and/or develop housing set aside for specific workforces including teachers, police officers, and firefighters.

A skilled workforce is one of the foundations of a robust economy. My colleagues and I are committed to strengthening our current and future workers by providing the necessary tools to help them thrive and succeed.

Operation Fuel Applications Are Now Open
Do you need help paying utility bills? Operation Fuel provides emergency energy and utility assistance to households in Connecticut that are facing financial crisis. Applications for energy assistance are now open through November 10th, 2023!💡

🔌You can learn more at operationfuel.org/gethelp

National Food Bank Day
Connecticut residents struggling from food insecurity are people from all walks of life – children, working parents, seniors, or people living with disabilities. They are our neighbors.

Sometimes the difference between a family that uses a food program and one that doesn’t is the sudden loss of a job, an illness or unexpected rise in health care or utilities expenses.

On #NationalFoodBankDay, will you help me spread the word about Connecticut's food resources and Connecticut Foodshare? ➡️ ctfoodshare.org

Debt-Free Community College
Fighting for Connecticut's students! We worked hard to pass a budget that focuses on affordable education.
Tick Safety
It's tick season! ⚠️

As Connecticut scientists warn of new tick species, it is more important than ever to take preventative measures. Here are some tips to share with your friends and family!

Health Care Assistance for Paraeducators
Paraeducators provide critical and direct support to teachers and students, which makes them an integral part of the school ecosystem. That is why I am happy to share that the Paraeducator Healthcare Subsidy Program will provide $5 million in financial assistance and increase access to quality health care.

This program was created during the 2023 Legislative Session and signed into law as part of the bipartisan biennium budget. It will help paraeducators enrolled in high-deductible health plans with a health savings account and employed by a local or regional school district with a one-time stipend to reduce out-of-pocket costs. Payments are expected to go out in September to more than 4,000 paraeducators. 

Legislative leadership made appropriating these funds a priority in budget negotiations to help bridge the painful gap between high-deductible health plans and low wages for paraeducators, who are critical to our classrooms. We must continue efforts that ensure that paraeducators receive proper compensation and benefits.

September is World Alzheimer's Month 
September is World Alzheimer's Month. More than 6 million Americans age 65+ are living with Alzheimer's. Many of those the disease experience agitation and anxiety. It's important for caregivers to have open conversations with a care team about the journey and treatment options. 

Click here to listen to a PSA about the disease. 


Michelle Cook

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