HUD awards $2.3 million for disabled housing complex in New London

New London - About $2.3 million in federal grant funds announced today will enable construction of a 12-unit supportive housing apartment complex for people with disabilities to begin this spring.

The complex would be built on a vacant parcel at 432 Jefferson Ave., next to New London High School and the adjacent Science and Technology Magnet School of Southeastern Connecticut. It will have five one-bedroom units and seven two-and three-bedroom units for families, said Beth Hogan, project developer for The Connection Fund, the nonprofit affordable housing developer that will build and operate the apartment building.

The apartment building would be staffed with case managers, and would have a community room with laundry area, library and computer stations, and open space for a community garden and landscaped areas, Hogan said. The project received approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission in May.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, announced the $2.3 million federal Department of Housing and Urban Development grant in a news release. He had supported the grant application and wrote to HUD urging approval.

“This is a tremendous victory for New London and its residents with disabilities,” Courtney said. “Since 1972, The Connection has helped families across Connecticut tackle serious problems with community-based programs. This funding will help in that mission, providing a central, safe location for persons with chronic mental illness to receive the assistance they need.”

The project will also receive a renewable three-year rent subsidy of $180,900. Residents will pay 30 percent of their incomes toward rent, with the rest covered by the subsidy.

The apartment building is located on bus lines and will be built with geothermal and solar energy systems, Hogan said. She is hoping to involve magnet school students in the green energy and sustainable landscaping aspects of the project.

“The Connection Fund is honored to receive this award, which allows us to turn a blighted property into a vibrant community for some of our neediest citizens,” said Peter Nucci, chief executive officer of The Connection, said in a news release. “Supportive housing projects are a classic ‘win-win’ -- they provide quality services and raise property values, while reducing the burden on taxpayers by preventing higher costs like hospitalizations. We look forward to working with our partners to bring this project to fruition.”

Hogan said an application process will choose the residents for the apartments, who must have a mental, physical or developmental disability and receive no more than 50 percent of the region’s median income. It is projected to open in about a year.

The $2.3 million grant is the majority of funds needed for the construction, she said.

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