Connecticut Light and Power has distributed a total of $910,448 to non-profit housing development programs and agencies in New London.
The contributions were announced today, with checks distributed to the agencies at Mayor Daryl Finizio’s office. The money was given to housing programs overseen by the Renaissance City Development Association, Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities, Habitat for Humanity of Southeastern Connecticut, and Housing Opportunities for People (H.O.P.E.).
The funds were made available by CL&P under the Housing Tax Contribution Program of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority. Ken Bowes, vice president of energy delivery services for CL&P, said the money is part of $9 million in grants being distributed throughout the state this year.
“We think this is the right thing to do in the community,” said Bowes. “It creates a sense of community. It creates jobs locally.”
H.O.P.E. received two checks totaling $500,000, which will be used to purchase dilapidated projects in the city and bring them up to code for sale to first time buyers. Marilyn Graham, executive director of H.O.P.E., said the organization has worked with tax credit programs for 23 years.
“The funds enable us not only to redo the buildings but do to a high quality building, so the homeowner won’t have to do an extensive renovation,” she said.
The RCDA received $325,000 for the New London County Down Payment Program. Frank McLaughlin, project manager for House New London, said the funds will be administered by Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities to assist first-time home buyers. CL&P gave $290,000 to this program last year, enabling the organization to give out loans to 15 families.
Peter Battles, president of Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities, said the funds are available to qualified first time home buyers in New London County. He said down payments or closing costs present the most significant challenge to low-income residents wishing to purchase a home. The $10,000 to $25,000 loans administered by the organization cover these costs.
“It’s been an extremely successful program,” said Battles.
The Habitat for Humanity of Southeastern Connecticut received an $85,448 grant. These funds will go toward the development of new homes.
“Gifts of this size really aren’t that common for us,” said Amy D’Amico, resource development manager for the organization. “They really help us to increase our capacity.”
McLaughlin said the goal of the programs is to stimulate private investment, saying property owners are more likely to renovate their buildings if there is improvement to the neighborhood as a whole. Finizio said the organizations focus on developing neighborhoods rather than single properties to achieve this goal.
“We’re not just assisting individuals, but we’re transforming neighborhoods and we’re doing it in a lasting way,” said Finizio.