A BRIEF HISTORY OF NHS NEW HAVENWe’re creating social, economic & environmental health for all New Haveners.
Established in 1979 as Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, our mission was to revitalize the Upper State Street and Dwight/Edgewood neighborhoods by rehabilitating houses for people who needed technical or financial assistance.
In 1982, we incorporated a new goal into the mission — to increase homeownership. Shortly thereafter, we began community organizing to help residents take charge of their neighborhoods.
During the 1990s, when housing values were declining sharply, we increased homebuyer education and counseling programs. These programs helped residents to cope with the economic realities in our local housing market. We took on complete gut rehabs to assure each new homebuyer that their new home would require only routine maintenance. While we attempted to group our developments, our projects covered a broad swath of territory in Dwight/Edgewood, West River, Newhallville, the Hill, and Fair Haven.
In 1996, we initiated our collaboration with the Yale School of Architecture with the construction of a new single-family home in the Cedar Hill neighborhood.
In 2001, recognizing the growing need for comprehensive homebuyer education and counseling, NHS New Haven worked with NeighborWorks® America to launch the New Haven HomeOwnership Center (HOC), to serve new homebuyers and existing homeowners alike. Our timing was perfect; after a decade of declining values, the housing market finally began to rebound, with homeowners and investors demonstrating a renewed confidence in purchasing real estate in New Haven.
By 2010, foreclosures were commonplace in NHS’ target neighborhoods, even for well-maintained, owner-occupied homes. As “bargain priced” homes lost value, both owner-occupants and real-estate investors walked away from their properties.
In response to an abundance of foreclosures, NHS New Haven decided to pursue a new strategy for strengthening our target neighborhoods. Believing that renovating multiple homes on a block would maximize the impact of our work, we began purchasing homes in clusters, rather than widely scattered individual properties. The “healthy neighborhoods” approach to community revitalization reinforced our idea.
Today, we persist in our efforts to improve New Haven residents’ perceptions of the neighborhoods in which we have a presence. We continue to encourage reinvestment from both new homebuyers and existing homeowners. This strategy is a work in progress; we are seeing a slow transition in Newhallville and the Hill that has eluded housing developers and community housing development corporations for decades.
OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE
We envision a New Haven where all neighborhoods are vibrant and safe,
and all residents are thriving in beautiful, dignified homes.