Neighborhood Stabilization Program Creates Housing Opportunities for Working Families in City Neighborhoods
(6/10/2010) (NEW HAVEN)- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) approved July 30, 2008, appropriates $3.92 billion for emergency assistance for redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes and residential properties. The State of Connecticut received an allocation of approximately $25 million under HERA to distribute to the areas of greatest need.
The State of Connecticut, Department of Economic and Community Development allocated $3.2 million to the City of New Haven in early 2009. The City of New Haven, Livable City Initiative (LCI) will finish administering funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program by the end of December. An additional $1.7M of private funds were raised to extend the reach of the program. LCI has provided the oversight, administration, property management and project management of the program in New Haven.
Funds were used to acquire and rehabilitate vacant foreclosed properties in areas of greatest need throughout the City. The city recognizes that there are more areas of significant need than the City’s allocation could support. Properties were purchased in the Fair Haven, Newhallville, Hill and Dixwell neighborhoods.
The criteria, as required by the federal NSP guidelines, for selecting target zones within the areas of greatest need included the existence of recent public and private investments in the surrounding area and the “tipping point neighborhood” characteristics where foreclosures do not out number the existing homes on the street. The criteria also required that the existing block be stable and that the existing foreclosures on the street be a threat to the stability of the street.
The City of New Haven partnered with the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven and the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund to acquire properties to be developed, rehabilitated and, in one case, demolished. All properties will be transferred to developers by the end of this month, to start the second phase of rehabilitation to be completed by the end of the year where the properties will be occupied by homeowners and renters.
New Haven’s NSP Program has exceeded its projected outcomes submitted to the State of Connecticut. The City initially expected to acquire 25 units of housing, but LCI leveraged this funding to acquire and rehabilitate 28 units consisting of 15 properties.
New Haven is the first city in Connecticut to return income to the State in this program totaling $109,611 with an additional $790,000 pending. This program has enabled households earning up 120% of the area median income to become homeowners.
NSP has already contributed toward stabilizing a street in Newhallville that was “tipping.” The first property will be occupied by homeowners in July on Read Street. Also required, is that 30% of the housing allocation be used for households making no more than 50% of the area median income. This structure enabled the City to partner with New Haven Home Recovery to provide housing opportunities to families displaced as a result of foreclosure action or in danger of becoming homeless. .
“While funding from NSP will be expended by the end of the year LCI’s work on this kind of initiative is far from over,” said Catherine Carbonaro-Schroeter, Deputy Director of Housing Preservation & Development Division of LCI. “We continue to seek more funds to continue these efforts.” The City is aggressively pursuing a reallocation of NSP I from other cities and states that did not use all of their funding.
“In addition to buying and rehabilitating foreclosed properties, LCI, with its partners the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund and Neighborhood Housing Services, continues to provide foreclosure and financial counseling to our residents,” said Erik Johnson, Director Livable City Initiative. “This will be an ongoing effort. Financial literacy counseling is now a standard part of LCI loan and grant programs.”
“NSP has developed into more than just a program for the City. It has helped to build partnerships, stabilize streets and provide housing opportunities to working families,” said Kelly Murphy, Economic Development Administrator. “We will continue to target other LCI’s program, including our Energy Efficiency and Rehabilitation Program on this NSP model that leverages other public and private investments in housing and our commercial districts to continue to invigorate our neighborhoods.”
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