By Leslie Jacobs
On Tuesday, Mayor Erin Stewart announced plans to reduce the number of homeless through a grant used to build 11 efficiency and one bedroom units in a three family building on North Street.
The 11 units will include residential and common space and will implement green development strategies in the design and construction. The project will be located within walking distance of shops, restaurants, bus stops and other amenities in the area. The CT-Transit system bus stop is located near North Street which will allow the residents access to shopping and services throughout the area.
Mayor Erin Stewart with New Britain Residents. Photo Courtesy of the North-Oak NRZ Facebook Page.
The CT. Department of Housing awarded a Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties (CHAMP) grant of 2.145 million to build permanent supportive housing. New Britain has committed $258,829 in HUD home funding to support the project and arranged for the acquisition of the land it will occupy on 180 North Street.
According to the census.gov website, an estimated 23.5% of New Britain residents are considered under the poverty line. The estimated national percentage of population under the poverty line according to the site is 14.8%. The data is collected by the American Community Survey over a 5 year period, with the last update in 2015.
“We have made great strides in tackling the issue of homelessness in New Britain by connecting individuals with the services they need to get back on their feet. Taking this nationally recognized Housing First approach to ending homelessness has been successful in other parts of the country and is a proven solution to ending chronic homelessness.” Said the Mayor.
Chronic homelessness are individuals with a disabling condition who have either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or have had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.
Image Courtesy of nbhact.org
Ellen Perkins Simpson, executive director of the Friendship Center said, “This is an awesome new opportunity to assist with permanent supportive housing those the Friendship Center has had the privilege of serving for almost 50 years.”
The Mayor thanked her father, the former Mayor Tim Stewart who along with other community leaders starting in 2007 developed a 10 year plan to end homelessness. The Mayor and Simpson both thanked the American Savings Foundation which gave the Friendship Center a $232,000 challenge grant to raise an equal amount from other private funding sources, including Webster Bank, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, the Liberty Bank Foundation, Hospital of Central Connecticut, the Robert C. Vance Foundation, and many others.
A photo of plans for the low income housing development. Photo Courtesy of North-Oak NRZ Facebook Page.
Simpson also said the building will be named The Howey House in honor of Greg Howey, Chairman of Okay Industries and a long time leader of Building Hope Together: New Britain’s Permanent Work Plan to end homelessness.
“Without her suggestion and assistance we wouldn’t be here today,” said Simpson thanking Mayor Stewart who called her one day with an idea about the North Street property.
Construction of Howey House on a vacant lot at 180 North Street will start this summer, take a year to complete, and will finished in the summer of 2017.