MAYOR BRONIN ANNOUNCES NEW PILOT INITIATIVE TO EXPAND HOME IMPROVEMENT LOAN PROGRAM THROUGH PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

MAYOR BRONIN ANNOUNCES NEW PILOT INITIATIVE TO EXPAND HOME IMPROVEMENT LOAN PROGRAM THROUGH PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

HARTFORD, CONN (November 27, 2017) –  This morning Mayor Luke Bronin and Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Karraine Moody visited a rehabilitated home on Ridgefield Street to highlight a new anti-blight partnership.  The partnership brings together the City’s Housing Preservation Loan Fund (HPLF) and Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity, along with the support of community organizations and neighbors.  Building on a longstanding HPLF program, the new pilot initiative aims to build public-private partnerships to help fund four additional renovations, specifically for low-income, elderly homeowners who want to age in place but who don’t have the resources to fix up their homes.  

“We’re taking an aggressive, creative approach to removing blight from our neighborhoods, using every tool we’ve got, and we’re focusing on both residential and commercial properties all around Hartford,” said Mayor Bronin.  “The partnership that got the Daniels’ home on Ridgefield fixed up is a perfect example of what we’re trying to do, and I want to thank all of the partners, including Janice Flemming-Butler, who helped bring Habitat to the table.  Our blight team has launched the ‘One Block, One NRZ’ program, working in partnership with neighborhood groups to identify priority rehab projects, and our Economic Development team is pushing hard to tackle larger industrial and commercial blight throughout the City.  This is about building stronger neighborhoods.” 

The Housing Preservation Loan Fund is one of the City’s oldest and most successful programs, and by partnering with Habitat for Humanity and hopefully other organizations, more elderly homeowners will have the resources to make long-overdue improvements to their homes.  We are still accepting applications for this fiscal year, and I urge residents who have home improvement needs to contact us to see if they are eligible for funding.” 

“Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity is pleased to partner with the City of Hartford to support our most vulnerable residents,” said Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Karraine Moody.  “Our affiliate adopted a multi-tiered neighborhood revitalization program in 2014 which includes new construction, full house renovation of blighted properties, and critical home repair.  So, this partnership with the City of Hartford and the Voices of Women of Color aligns with our expanded mission. It is worth noting that this partnership was initiated by a concerned citizen, Janice Flemming-Butler and was launched through a community landscape and clean-up day.  We encourage Hartford citizens to engage your city, nonprofits, and community groups to bring change.”

“As a resident of Ridgefield Street, I am grateful to Mayor Bronin and Habitat for Humanity for partnering to fix up a property that was blighted for so many years,” said Janice Flemming-Butler, founder of Voices of Women of Color, who reached out to the City and to Habitat for Humanity after seeing the porch of the home collapse.  “I hope that the success here will spur more private-sector and non-profit partners to get involved in the Housing Preservation Loan Fund Program and help more elderly Hartford residents stay in their homes.”

For more than 25 years, the HPLF has helped low and middle-income residents repair their properties, remediating blight and environmental hazards, and generally improving the condition of homes.  The rehabilitation on Ridgefield Street was the first time the City partnered with a non-profit partner, in this case Habitat for Humanity, as part of the HPLF Program.  

By partnering with Habitat for Humanity and others, the City will be able to leverage its funding to help more homeowners.  For 145 Ridgefield Street, Habitat for Humanity and the HPLF provided approximately $60,000 in total for renovations.

The HPLF Program provides zero or low-interest rate loans, and it is targeted at homeowners who make 80% or less of Area Median Income.  Over the last three full fiscal years, the HPLF Program has spent approximately $700,000 annually, and individual loans averaged approximately $22,700.  More than seventy percent of contractors who work on homes receiving funding from the HPLF Program are local or minority-owned firms.  The HPLF program currently funds approximately thirty-five renovations a year, with resources drawn from revolving loans as well as grants from the federal Community Development Block Grant.  The program has zero cost to City taxpayers, and does not receive funding from the City’s General Fund.  

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