Seven-year old Oscar started an organization to give back to others in need here in Connecticut. Specifically, he has been raising money to donate PPE to those that need these valuable supplies. On Wednesday, a large donation that he sent was given to the residents at CRT’s East Hartford Family Shelter.

Oscar calls his organization “Superheroes Are Found Everywhere” or “SAFE” for short, and he is truly a superhero to CRT!

Leslie Mayes from NBC Connecticut shared the story of this true act of kindness.

More details can be found in this story in the Hartford Courant.

Great news for people living in Connecticut! The deadline to apply for the CT Energy Assistance​ Program is extended to Tuesday, June 15, 2021! The Community Renewal Team (CRT) can help individuals and families complete the application by phone, email, or in-person at our multi-service center in Hartford located at 395 Wethersfield Ave., Hartford.

CRT spoke with Kevin Nathan from NBC Connecticut about this important deadline extension, and how to apply for the program.


Featured photo by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash.

Hartford – Spring may be here, but many of us are still worried about those home-heating bills! Do you know how you will pay to heat your home this year? Will you have the financial resources to do so?

If you are worried about how you will pay these big monthly expenses, the Community Renewal Team (CRT) may be able to assist you with your home-heating costs!

Fortunately, the deadline for all eligible households to apply for the CT Energy Assistance Program has been extended to Tuesday, June 15, 2021!

CRT can help individuals and families complete the application by phone, email, or in-person at our multi-service center in Hartford located at 395 Wethersfield Ave., Hartford.

The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program is available to both homeowners and renters living in Connecticut to help them cover their home-heating expenses during these difficult times.

CRT is encouraging everyone throughout the state of Connecticut to find out if they qualify for this FREE program.

Who qualifies to receive help from the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program?

There are income eligibility requirements to qualify for the CT Energy Assistance Program, and the Community Renewal Team can help you check to see if you are qualified.

In fact, the income eligibility requirements, per household, are quite generous – there is no harm in checking to see if you qualify, and there’s no shame in using this important service!

According to the Connecticut Department of Social Services, decisions regarding eligibility are based on the number of people living in your household. Specifically, household size includes both homeowners and renters that pay separately for heat; AND renters whose heat is included in the rent, as long as more than 30% of gross income is paid towards rent.
For example:

  • For a single person, the income level is up to $37,645.
  • For two people in the home, the income level is up to $49,228.
  • For a household of 4 people, the income level is up to $72,394.

So again, many more people may be qualified this year than previously thought possible – it is worth checking to find out!

What types of home-heating options are covered by the CT Energy Assistance Program?

For those who qualify for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program, home-heating assistance pays for a household’s primary heating source, and this includes many different ways to heat your home. Heating sources include: oil, natural gas, electricity, propane, kerosene, coal, and even wood and wood pellets.

How do I apply for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program?

CRT maintains a call center with representatives ready to speak with individuals and help them complete their application over the phone. The call center representatives speak both English and Spanish.

If you live in Central Connecticut (i.e., Hartford County or Middlesex County), the fastest way to apply for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program is to call CRT’s Energy Assistance Hotline @ 860-560-5800.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, ALL Applications can be taken over the phone – this is for the health and safety of both CRT’s staff, and for the individuals applying for Energy Assistance.

Outside of Central Connecticut, please call 2-1-1 to find the Community Action Agency that can assist you.

CRT’s hotline number is: 860-560-5800, and it is available 24-hours a day – if you leave a message, someone will get back to you!

You can also visit the Energy Assistance Page for more information.

For more information, please contact CRT’s Communications Director, Jason Black at 860-230-4535.

The Retreat Assisted-Living in Hartford is now making small group gatherings available to their senior members (for the first time in a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic!), and that includes use of the internet cafe room for table games, like Jenga!

We invited Hartford Courant photographer Mark Mirko to come see the action for himself last Friday. He got an amazing shot that ran on the FRONT PAGE of the Courant this past weekend!

On “Pi Day” (March 14, 2021), Dominique Moody from NBC Connecticut shared a variety of learning resources to help parents with school-age children, including CRT’s Learning Hub designed for Hartford families that selected in‐person learning for their children (grades K – 3) and may be adversely impacted by COVID‐19‐related facility closures. Watch the full report below to learn more.

HARTFORD — As they say in the arts, “The show must go on!” And this year is no exception for the Community Renewal Team’s (CRT) 30th Annual National Arts Program® (NAP) for artists of all ages and skill levels, from Middlesex and Hartford Counties who are invited to submit their work now for the 2021 art show, which for the first time will be entirely virtual.

To accommodate the safety needs of the artists, judges, and guests who will view the artistic work submitted, this year’s National Arts show will be hosted in an online gallery format. Artists will have the opportunity to submit photographs of their work to be exhibited via a virtual art gallery and CRT plans to host an online awards reception to celebrate all of the winning work – exact time and additional details will be announced.

All forms of visual arts may be submitted to the show; from paintings and photographs to sculptures, crafts and textiles. Up to two entries may be submitted per artist and they must be the original work of the applicant and completed within the last three years. This year, CRT encourages participants to consider creating or submitting art that is related to their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artists can submit their work for free to this show. By removing the financial and commercial requirements of most exhibitions, this special show creates a sense of community and artistic fulfillment for all participants.
The deadline to register for the 2021 National Arts Program is Friday, March 19, 2021.

To register for the show, please use the link below.

Judging of the submissions to the National Arts show this year will take place at the end of March, and winning artists will be notified in early April.

Cash prizes will be awarded in each of the following categories:

  • Amateur – an adult with little or no experience
  • Intermediate – an adult with some experience, beginning art students, etc.
  • Professional – an adult with serious art training or employed in an art-related job
  • Youth (12 Years and younger)
  • Teen (ages 13 – 18)
  • Teens Looking Out for Teens (ages 13 – 18) – in this special category, individual teenagers or groups of teens can submit a piece of art that evokes a greater understanding of the social issues affecting teens.

The final category – “Teens Looking Out for Teens” is being offered for the third year in a row, following the previous success of this special category for up-and-coming artists.

This year we will be using the online platform to exhibit photos of the art submitted to the show. The exhibit will be online and available to the public starting on March 26, 2021. The gallery link will be available for sharing, and CRT encourages artists to share their work in the show with friends and family.

To register for the show, please use the National Arts Registration form:

Please Note: After you complete this registration form and click the ‘submit registration’ button, you will receive an automatic confirmation email. In that email message, there will be a link to a webpage where you will upload your art image file. On that webpage, there are also tips and tricks on how to take the best photograph of your art in order to meet the set standards for acceptable art image files. Your registration is complete when you have received an email from us confirming that your art image file was accepted.

Complete details about how to submit your artwork to CRT’s 30 Annual National Arts Program show are available online.

The National Arts Program provides materials and funding for this visual art exhibit including awards for winning work totaling $3,450.

All prizes are determined by a panel of judges with experience in the arts. Prizes will be awarded by classification:

  • Adult (Amateur, Intermediate and Professional) – There will be three First Place Awards of $350; three Second Place Awards of $250; and three Third Place Awards of $150.
  • Youth / Teen – There will be two First Place Awards of $150; two Second Place Awards of $100; and two Third Place Awards of $50.
  • A Best of Show Award in the amount of $400.
  • An Art Education Award for $200.
  • Honorable Mention Ribbons will be awarded at the discretion of the judges.

Awards are limited to one cash award per artist per classification.

Be sure to ‘like’ CRT on Facebook to get the latest information about the 2021 National Arts Program.

For more information, please contact Irene Mackey at [email protected] or call 860-519-4384.

Editor’s Note: High-Resolution pictures of winning artwork from the 2020 National Arts Program show in Hartford are available to accompany stories about this event.

For more information, please contact CRT’s Communications Director, Jason Black at 860-230-4535.