Fasano, Candelora React to Federal Raid of New Haven Community Action Agency

December 14, 2007

Call for DSS review of CAA’s across Connecticut

HARTFORD – State Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and State Representative Vincent Candelora
(R-North Branford) today reacted to news that federal authorities raided New Haven’s Community Action Agency on Whalley Avenue Thursday, removing large numbers of documents and files. The Agency is also currently under investigation by the State of Connecticut for its billing practices.

In September, Senator Fasano and Representative Candelora called for an expanded forensic audit of CAA of
New Haven by the Department of Social Services, saying information they had reviewed revealed a lack of financial controls and improper administration of federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds. It was determined that illegal immigrants and other unqualified applicants were receiving these funds and that the agency generated false Social Security numbers for unqualified applicants. Today the legislators commended Governor Rell for her efforts to assure services will continue for New Haven CAA clients. The legislators also called for a full review of each of the state’s thirteen Community Action Agencies.

“All procedures at all Community Action Agencies across Connecticut should be reviewed, specifically regarding the agencies’ administration of LIHEAP funds,” said Senator Fasano. “We need to take every precaution to ensure that these funds are properly dispensed to families who cannot afford fuel during the winter.”

“We have a situation now where the mismanagement and fraud that is prevalent at New Haven CAA have now placed in jeopardy the services of those who are in real need of them,” said Candelora. “Senator Fasano and I warned about theses issues well ahead of the cold months, and now following a major snow storm and with another on the way, CAA was closed by federal authorities.”

Senator Fasano and Representative Candelora contacted the Governor’s office and the Department of Social Services today expressing their hope that service would not be interrupted for those who depend on the CAA. The legislators were assured by DSS that services would continue through the investigation, and they were doing everything they could to see they remain uninterrupted.

“Right now, we don’t know exactly why New Haven CAA is being investigated by federal authorities, but there have been a number of credible claims of wrongdoing on their part. I want to be sure that any malfeasance on the part of the CAA doesn’t prevent those in need from getting help,” said Representative Candelora.

“Governor Rell is taking the right steps to ensure home heating assistance is not interrupted for those most in need,” said Senator Fasano. “I will continue to work with Governor Rell and DSS officials to make sure qualified families who cannot afford fuel this winter, continue to receive assistance.”