In October 2014, NHS of New Haven celebrated its 35th Anniversary!

 

NHS of New Haven’s second cluster of houses on Carmel Street

The 1990s was not a good decade for New Haven's housing market. Following ten years of rising real estate prices through the 1980s, prices first stabilized, and then plunged. Investors who had been purchasing properties aggressively for at least ten years were now abandoning their real estate holdings that were concentrated particularly in New Haven's low-income neighborhoods. Undaunted by this turn of events, NHS of New Haven used the opportunity to acquire vacant and abandoned houses at reasonable prices as a way to expand our affordable housing development program. Carmel Street became the second example of our clustering strategy for maximizing the impact of our work when we acquired five contiguous houses between Whalley Avenue and Percival Street.

 

While it was difficult to motivate private reinvestment during a time of precipitously declining housing values, NHS increased its homebuyer education and counseling programs to help our new homeowners and prospective homebuyers cope with the economic realities present in our local housing market. Complete “gut” rehabs were undertaken to assure new homebuyers that they would not be confronting major systems problems in the near future and that only routine maintenance would be required.  While we attempted to cluster our developments, our affordable housing development projects covered a broad swath of territory in Dwight/Edgewood, West River, Newhallville, the Hill, and Fair Haven.  In 1996, NHS celebrated the first year of our collaboration with the Yale School of Architecture by constructing a new single-family home in the Cedar Hill neighborhood.