A new city campaign is offering homeowners incentives to revitalize once-blighted neighborhoods.
RE:NewHaven, part of the Livable City Initiative, provides potential homeowners with forgivable loans to help with purchasing and renovating their homes.
“This is a story about what the city is doing to attract and retain homeowners,” said Erik Johnson, the executive director of the Livable City Initiative. “We’re able to provide incentives for individuals and families that are normally over income.”
Homeowners are eligible for RE:NewHaven funds of up to $10,000 to pay for down payments and closing costs, as long as their income does not exceed 80 percent of the median family income.
In addition to this $10,000 forgivable loan, the campaign provides up to $30,000 in forgivable loans for energy-saving home upgrades. Homeowners are eligible for this funding as long as their income does not exceed 120 percent of the median family income. The website set up for RE:NewHaven provides an easy calculator for families to see if they are eligible to apply for the funding.
In addition to these two forms of incentives, the campaign also provides free in-state college tuition for students who graduate from a New Haven public school in good academic and behavioral standing. Up to $40,000 in college tuition funds can be received through the New Haven Promise Scholarship.
Since the program was re-launched earlier this year, 75 to 100 properties have been funded and purchased through the Livable City Initiative, Johnson said. The program does not focus on any specific neighborhood, though some of the most recently renovated homes can be found on Putnam Street, in the Hill neighborhood.
Hopes for this new program are high, as it appeals especially to young professionals looking to become homeowners. City employees, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and military members can even receive an extra $2,500 in forgivable loans.
Anti-blight measures are also being implemented alongside this campaign in an effort to improve property values. Traditionally, crime has led to plummeting property values and quality of life in the far northeast corner of the city, so having new homeowners in the city will contribute to more stable communities with less crime.
Moreover, these homeowners will also provide a new tax base for the city, said Ward 29 Alder Brian Wingate. Though the new initiative has not come into effect within Wingate’s ward, he said that “restoring homes will give whoever wants to move to New Haven the ability to do so.”
Meanwhile, the properties themselves are undergoing renovations that should make the city more environmentally friendly as a whole. One of Mayor Harp’s priorities is making New Haven a leader in energy efficiency, according to Laurence Grotheer, director of communications at the City of New Haven Mayor’s office.
Having these new homeowners in New Haven bodes well for the city’s future. “The city is eager to promote homeownership and owner occupancy — primarily because it stabilizes the community and builds community pride,” Grotheer said.
The RE:NewHaven campaign provides incentives that are paid for by local and state funds.