Low-income residents and families could soon see more housing options, thanks to decisions made at the Board of Alders’ joint community development and human services committee Thursday evening.
At the meeting, committee members approved amendments to city appropriations of four federal grants aimed at providing more housing options to specific groups of city residents. Each of the grants targets a particular demographic in the city — the homeless, low-income persons with AIDS and low-income families, among others. These grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will take effect in the upcoming fiscal year.
“Everything worked out,” said Santiago Berrios-Bones, co-chair of the committee and Ward 14 alder representing Fair Haven.
The alders voted Thursday night on amendments that had been presented earlier last week. Mayor Toni Harp had proposed a division of the grant money among nonprofit organizations and city departments, and the alders made minor reappropriations to these divisions through the amendments.
Berrios-Bones underscored that the money from these HUD grants will go to nonprofit organizations that help the New Haven community. In fact, the four HUD grants will be divided among a variety of organizations, ranging from the Connecticut Native American Inter Tribal Union Council, a nonprofit that seeks to preserve Northeast Region Native American traditions, to Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, a nonprofit aimed at helping refugees and displaced peoples with pre-employment training, to city departments themselves.
Community development committee member and Ward 29 Alder Brian Wingate, who represents the Beaver Hills area, added that this year’s approval process was smoother than a few years ago.
The city’s appropriations for these four HUD grants are assembled into a document known as the Consolidated Annual Action Plan. Both this document for fiscal year 2015–16, which specifies how the HUD grants will be used, and a five-year Consolidated Plan must be approved by the Board of Alders and submitted to HUD in order for the city to start using the grants.
In the 2015–16 fiscal year, $6.2 million dollars will be available to the city through these grants, a slight decrease from the $6.4 million available to the city in the last fiscal year.
Kellyann Day, CEO of New Reach, a nonprofit homelessness assistance organization, said HUD grant money has previously been used to fund renovations and New Reach’s rapid rehousing programs, which help the homeless find housing. This upcoming year, New Reach is applying for funding to provide subsidies for as many as 24 units of housing and 81 people through the Scattered Site Supportive Housing Program.
The board of alders will deliberate the Consolidated Plan across two meetings and then send it to the mayor for a final look. The New Haven Office of Management and Budget said it hopes to send the final plan to HUD by May 15.