Gov. Ned Lamont declared another COVID-19 emergency Tuesday in order to secure additional federal funds through the end of December.
“I do not intend to issue any executive orders under this declaration,” Lamont said in the order.
All of Lamont’s executive powers expire at the end of the month. Most had already expired in February, but he kept the ability to declare a mask mandate for school children until the end of June.
The governor first declared public health and civil preparedness emergencies on March 10, 2020 in response to the first cases of the COVID-19 virus. The legislature extended that authority six times.
Lamont said Tuesday that he wants to ensure his administration has the authority it needs to apply for federal funds related to food stamps and housing. If he didn’t ask the federal government for the extension the funding would expire on July 16.
“We cannot ignore the reality that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income families and communities, many of whom continue to depend on public assistance programs administered by the state,” Lamont said. “The continuation of this declaration ensures that Connecticut residents who need additional support during this time will still have access to those resources.”
The order will help the state continue to receive funding under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
“Food insecurity has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, with research from the Connecticut Foodshare Institute for Hunger & Research Solutions finding that 31% of Connecticut households were food insecure one year into the pandemic, including 44% of households with at least one child,” Lamont said in his declaration. The program currently provides assistance to approximately 219,700 Connecticut households
On average, these supplemental benefits have been providing households an additional $154.74 in food benefits per month, with all enrolled households receiving at least an additional $95 per month.
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said it’s ironic that the same day Lamont is extending benefits for SNAP recipients, he’s increasing taxes on the businesses that deliver that food.
He said the governor should be focused on mitigating the inflationary costs impacting all Connecticut residents.
The declaration has also enabled the state to place 6,090 individuals experiencing homelessness and several hundred survivors of domestic violence into non-congregate housing during the pandemic. Since the pandemic began, Connecticut has received $7.7 million in federal reimbursements for this non-congregate housing assistance and is expecting an additional $20.2 million in pending reimbursements.