Two Elm City affordable housing projects will see an influx in funding of up to $7.75 million from the Connecticut Department of Housing, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Monday.
The two recipients — the Dwight Co-Op on Edgewood and Farnam Courts in the Mill River neighborhood — won the Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties’ most recent funding round. CHAMP grants roughly $20 million to in-state housing projects twice a year. This time, the Dwight Co-Op, or Dwight Gardens , received a loan of $3.75 million to rehabilitate more than 50 units. The other $4 million that the DOH is granting New Haven will be directed to the Farnam Courts project. Constituting more than one-third of all DOH funding this round, the awards to New Haven are indicative of the state’s trust in Elm City housing programs, Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson said.
“We were very fortunate because two projects from the city got selected,” Nemerson said. “That is unusual given how tight money is from the state, and how competitive the project is.”
In addition to the DOH grant, the federal government will grant Farnam Courts an additional $12 million in tax credit for housing low-income residents. The project will also receive more than $35 million in non-state funding. The Housing Authority of New Haven, the local arm of federal housing programs, will use the money to build two five-story buildings in Farnam Courts consisting of 94 one- to four-bedroom units. The development project will cost over $100 million, Nemerson said.
Private developer Navarino Capital Management bought the Dwight Co-Op from Bridgeport developer Garfield Spencer in January 2014. Spencer had accrued at least $1 million in debt on the property. Although the project has changed hands multiple times, none of the developers that handled the Dwight Co-Op completed rehabilitations, Nemerson said. Yonatan Zamir, an attorney at New Haven Legal Assistance Association, added that development on the Dwight Co-Op had also stalled in the past due to lack of funding. The DOH grant will send a positive message to potential non-state investors about the project, Zamir said.
“The model we really seem to see is the private entity taking on the lion’s share,” Zamir said. “But, if we could incentivize it with state money and get it to grow, I think that’s a good use of our money.”
Completion of the two projects, which both stand within one mile of the New Haven Green, will undoubtedly improve the look and value of their neighborhoods, said Edward Mattison LAW ’68, a member of the mayor’s City Plan Committee.
The Farnam Courts development, Nemerson added, is a fundamental part of plans to rebuild and revitalize Mill River, an industrial neighborhood between Wooster Square and Fair Haven. Meanwhile, the Dwight Co-Op sits at the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and Dwight Street in a neighborhood home to many affordable housing projects.
“Dwight Gardens on Edgewood near Chapel Street are very important because this is a neighborhood that has absorbed a lot of affordable housing,” Nemerson said. “The city and private developers have been in an effort to rebuild it and make it affordable and a high quality place to live.”
These grants come in the seventh round of CHAMP funding.