Winter Resources for the Community

November 18, 2022
Last Friday we honored our veterans who have selflessly defended our country. I want to take a moment to thank all of our veterans for their service, commitment, and sacrifices made toward the hope of peace. We are all so grateful for you and what you’ve given to our communities, our state, and our country.
Below is a picture of me with three of my favorite veterans, and I’m not just saying that because they are my “little” brothers!
I had the honor and privilege of also attending the Derby and Woodbridge Veterans Day events last week. I would like to thank First Selectman Jim Zeoli and Selectman Mitch Goldblatt for extending my regrets and my respects as I was not able to make it to the Orange event before it ended.

Resources for those Experiencing Homelessness
Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Columbus House in New Haven with Sen. Maroney to discuss this concern which affects all our communities. Columbus House serves our entire region and I would like to thank them for caring for residents who are experiencing homelessness. This is not an issue that is going away, rather it is increasing. I will continue to work with my colleagues to address this in a responsible way that provides opportunities for safe housing in our area.

A recent report detailed that throughout Connecticut there was an increase of 13% in overall homelessness from 2021 to 2022.

My legislative colleagues and I are actively working on solutions ahead of the upcoming winter season. Most recently, as part of the state budget adjustment passed during the 2022 legislative session, we included $5 million for the Connecticut Department of Housing (CTDOH) for eviction prevention. The funding will be divided as follows:

  • $2 million for Project Longevity housing vouchers to be issued in Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport and New Haven
  • $1.5 million for the Rent Bank
  • $1.5 million for the state’s seven regional Coordinated Access Networks, which is nearly triple the appropriation from the previous two years

In addition to our efforts in the Legislature, CTDOH and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) recently announced the release of nearly $8.5 million in aid to connect those experiencing homelessness with support services like housing, food, and mental health services.

This includes:

  • $5 million from CTDOH to support seasonal shelters and services throughout the homeless service system during the winter
  • $2.5 million from CTDOH to develop new hubs within Coordinated Access Networks that supports the hiring of more staff, ensuring flexible financial assistance is available, and technological upgrades can be supported
  • $500,000 from CTDOH for the United Way of Connecticut to increase staffing at 2-1-1
  • $475,000 from DMHAS for the United Way of Connecticut to support costs related to the complex needs of unsheltered individuals and families during periods of extreme cold weather

Anyone who is experiencing homelessness or is at imminent risk of homelessness should call 2-1-1 to get connected to available resources.

Access Health Open Enrollment
This is a reminder that the Access Health CT's (AHCT) Open Enrollment Period is now open! During this period, individuals can renew their coverage, explore the various policy options for the first time or see if they can save money.

How to Enroll:

  • In-person: Find all in-person enrollment locations across Connecticut by clicking here
  • Online: Visit to learn more about the different plans and find free help online using the "live chat" feature
  • By phone: Call 1-855-805-4325. Help is available Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM
    • Customers who are deaf or hearing impaired may use TTY at 1- 855-789-2428 or call with a relay operator
  • Work with a Broker: To find a Certified Broker or Enrollment Specialist, click here

If you or your family need quality, affordable healthcare please don't miss this opportunity. Click here to learn more.

Medicare Open Enrollment
Medicare enrollment is also open and choices can be confusing.

You can drop-in and get free expert help. Each Wednesday through December 7th, OHA in partnership with CHOICES and the State Health Insurance Assistance Program are providing an open Zoom Room with knowledgeable staff to answer all your questions!

Please find all of the upcoming sessions and links below:
Topic: Virtual Medicare Open Enrollment Q&A Session

  • November 23 at 11AM
  • November 30 at 11AM
  • December 7 at 11AM


Heating Assistance
This is a reminder that the application period for the 2022-2023 winter season of the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is now open!

Basic benefits toward heating bills are around $400 for the season, but can be significantly higher depending on the household’s income and number of family members. Benefits are available for households with incomes up to roughly $76,400 for a family of four.

To apply, click the button below:

Apply Here

Additional ways to Apply:

Applications for the 2022-2023 winter season must be received by May 31, 2023. For more information, click here, or call 2-1-1.
RSV or Flu
Connecticut Children's is warning that RSV levels are very high in our area right now - while not usually a serious concern, it can be life threatening for kids and adults, especially:
  • Infants a year or younger
  • Children younger than 2
  • Kids who are immunocompromised or who have existing lung disease, like asthma
  • Older adults, especially those 65 years and older
  • Adults with chronic heart or lung disease
  • Adults with weakened immune systems

RSV and the flu are two different viruses, but often have very similar symptoms. Sometimes, the symptoms are no more severe than that of a common cold. Other times, they can be life threatening.

Adults and parents can find more information by clicking the buttons below:

More Information for Older Adults
More Information for Parents
Metropolitan Transportation Plan Survey
NVCOG in collaboration with The Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Governments (MetroCOG), is seeking your input on transportation in the region (transit, highway, bicycle, pedestrian, etc.).

Due to strong interest, they have extended their survey deadline to November 30. The feedback they receive is crucial to ensure they include the needs and wishes of the community in the update of the region’s

Metropolitan Transportation Plans (MTP).

Please click the buttons below to access the survey in either English or Spanish:

English: MTP Survey
Spanish: MTP Survey
Aid for Ukraine
As we continue to watch the horrifying and saddening conflict between Russia and Ukraine, I wanted to remind you all that we do not have to sit back helplessly, there are ways we can offer aid and support to the innocent citizens of Ukraine.

Fellow community member, Olena Lennon, provided us with this list of legitimate donation sites for aid to the Ukrainian community.

Click here to help volunteer to help Ukraine.

Click here to learn more about projects helping Ukraine.

Click here to support funding to cover administrative costs to help Ukraine.

Click here to learn how to help Ukrainians.

Our community, state and country all stand with the innocent citizens of Ukraine and we will continue to do all we can to offer support while actively trying to deescalate conflict.