Forgiving Loans for Healthcare Workers & Food Insecurity Crisis

May 22, 2024

The state is introducing a new initiative to help healthcare workers pay off as much as $50,000 of their student loans. I'll break down who is eligible and how to apply for this special loan repayment program.

Higher prices at the grocery store are causing problems across the country. 90,000 more people in Connecticut are considered food insecure since 2022. I'll dig deeper into some of the staggering statistics and the plan to address this issue.

The community came together to remember our fallen heroes at Stamford's Memorial Day Parade. Keep scrolling to see some of the best pictures and video of the event.

Here are the sections of today's email:

  • Forgiving Student Loans for Healthcare Workers
  • Food Insecurity Crisis Getting Worse
  • Memorial Day Parade
  • Celebrating Stamford's Haitian Heritage
Forgiving Student Loans for Healthcare Workers

Connecticut is launching a new program that will expand health care to underserved communities while forgiving the student loans of health care workers.

The Connecticut Student Loan Repayment Program incentivizes eligible health care providers to practice full-time in underserved Connecticut communities for at least two years by offering up to $50,000 in student loan repayments. Part-time options are also available for $12,500 per year over two years, totaling $25,000.

The program offers a unique advantage in that it allows federal and private student loan debt to be repaid, expanding the eligible talent pool that can participate.

The following health care jobs are eligible for this new statewide initiative:

  • MDs and DOs in Family Practice, General Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN
  • APRNs, including Certified Nurse Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, and Psychiatric Nurse Specialists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Registered Nurses
  • Dentists and Dental Hygienists
  • Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Core Behavioral Health Providers, including Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Substance Use Disorder Counselors
  • Pharmacists

This great program will recruit and retain new health care workers, forgive the student loans of these heroes, and reduce health disparities across our state - a major win for all Connecticut residents.

The state began accepting applications this week.

Click Here to Learn How to Apply
 Food Insecurity Crisis Getting Worse

There is a sudden spike in hunger and food insecurity in Connecticut and around the country. Higher prices on food are a major financial strain for many individuals and families in Stamford.

According to Feeding America, 468,150 people in Connecticut are food insecure, which is 90,000 more people since the last study in 2022. The most alarming data shows there is a 34% spike in the number of children who are food insecure.

Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” shows a disturbing trend in Connecticut:

  • 1 in 8 residents is food insecure, compared to 1 in 10 last year
  • 1 in 6 children is food insecure
  • 1 in 4 Black persons is food insecure
  • 1 in 4 Hispanic persons is food insecure
  • 1 in 11 White non-Hispanic persons is food insecure
Read the Entire Report
The Connecticut General Assembly is trying to tackle this issue head on. This year, I co-sponsored House Bill 5011, which would have contributed more state funding for nutrition assistance. The measure would have provided $10 million to Connecticut Foodshare for the Connecticut Nutrition Assistance Program (CT-NAP) and 15% of that would have gone to farmers in Connecticut for the food they grow. CT-NAP directly affects the well-being of countless individuals, families, and businesses in our state.
I was happy to support and push for House Bill 5011 as a continuation of my work on food access. You may recall, I was behind the State Food Advocate office within the Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity, and Opportunity. My colleagues and I plan to file the bill again during the next legislative session, which starts in January. Our residents deserve nothing less.
Memorial Day Parade

It was an honor to march alongside my legislative colleagues in our Memorial Day Parade in Stamford. It is truly important to remember those who lost their lives while serving our country. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

My paternal grandfather survived the Holocaust and escaped from a camp along with his wife to go to Scotland and then Australia. My maternal grandfather was a "chasseur alpin," in the maquis, and was a leader in the resistance. I know they would be proud of me for standing for veterans.

Please watch the video below to see the entire parade, which was full of amazing performances. I would like to thank everyone who participated including our veterans, students, first responders, and everyone else who honored our heroes.
Highlights from the Stamford Memorial Day Parade.
Celebrating Stamford's Haitian Heritage
The community came together to celebrate Haitian Flag Day and to recognize the resilience and strength of the Haitian people. Many participants wore lovely shades of red and blue as we honored Haitian culture at the Stamford Government Center. Organizers also displayed some lovely art and musical instruments.
It was a pleasure to be a part of this event, and I thank everyone who contributed to its success.