CL&P gives more than $900K for New London housing assistance

New London - Connecticut Light & Power distributed more than $900,000 in contributions Friday to nonprofit developers who build homes for lower income families and help first-time home buyers with loans and down payments.

Ken Bowes, vice president of emergency delivery services for CL&P parent company Northeast Utilities, handed out checks totalling $910,448 during a press conference in Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio's office at City Hall.

The funds were donated by CL&P through the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority's Housing Tax Credit Contribution Program, through which businesses donate to approved housing programs and receive one-for-one credit in the amount of the donation to reduce their state corporate tax liability.

"We think this is the right thing to do here in New London,'' said Bowes, adding that CL&P has contributed about $9 million over the past 10 years in tax credit grants.

Renaissance City Development Association received $325,000 for the New London County Down Payment Program.

The funds will be administrated by Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities for down-payment assistance to qualified first-time home buyers to purchase homes in the town where they work. Loans from $10,000 to $25,000 can be used for down payments or closing costs. The loan is forgiven if the buyers stay in the home for five years.

It is the second year NU has supported the program. Last year it contributed $290,000, which helped 15 families buy their first homes.

Bowes also gave $500,000 to Marilyn Graham, executive director of HOPE, Inc., which is planning to use the money to buy and renovate several blighted homes in the city. With Friday's donation, CL&P has given more than $3.7 million to HOPE over the past 23 years, Graham said.

HOPE is currently refurbishing homes on Belden Street and will continue construction there and in other neighborhoods, she said.

Habitat for Humanity received $85,488 to develop new homes for buyers who contribute "sweat equity." to the project.

Habitat has redeveloped more than 70 homes in the city.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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