2021 - 22 Annual Report
2020-21 Annual Report
Stand beside our communities
Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven strengthens neighborhoods by developing affordable housing and increasing homeownership opportunities; providing homebuyer education and financial coaching; making homes safe, beautiful and energy efficient; and working to improve the perceptions of the neighborhoods in which we are working by helping residents take charge of their communities.
Message from our Executive Director & Board President
As you know, we are well into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a multi- dimensional impact on all of our lives. First and foremost, our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones to the ravages of COVID-19, which has also affected people’s employment and businesses, our activities, and the ways in which our organization is able to interact with the public. Despite the challenges, we have to look at our mission of providing affordable homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers and assisting those in need of housing, whether it be homeownership or rental. NHS of New Haven remains committed to helping our clients in an increasing number of areas.
Read their message...
We are starting to develop six new houses for first-time homebuyers in Newhallville, four of which are new construction on formerly City-owned vacant lots. We invite you to watch the progress of these developments as you drive through the area on W. Hazel Street, Ivy Street, Butler Street, Lilac Street, and Bassett Street.
Our HomeOwnership Center has been involved in homeownership promotion activities for new first- time homebuyers and the UniteCT program, which provides rental assistance to tenants who are at risk of eviction from their apartments because they lost their jobs and are unable to pay their rent. The challenge is keeping our staff extremely busy; yet with our dedicated team of housing specialists and their supervisors, we are meeting the needs of an ever-increasing number of households.
HOC Realty, our full-service nonprofit real estate company, has continued to be active in serving the needs of homebuyers and home sellers throughout Greater New Haven. Indeed, we have seen an 80% increase in our activity over the past year. HOC Lending, our emerging Community Development Financial Institution, now has a full-time community lending officer, and we are about to expand the number of lending opportunities we provide to existing homeowners so that they can make improvements on their homes. We are also hoping to create a new downpayment assistance program so that an increasing number of prospective first-time homebuyers can take advantage of this assistance to help them qualify for good first mortgages.
Our department of Community Sustainability has continued to focus on the I Heart My Home Program but is also actively involved in other important sustainability measures such as climate change, pure water, and clean air. We are proud of the diversification of our endeavors so that we can serve the community in an expanded role.
We look forward to seeing an increasing number of you in our office and in the community in the coming months as we approach an end of the pandemic that has had such a negative impact on our community and our national economy over the past year and a half.
Affordable Real Estate Development
Affordable real estate development has been at the core of our business for the past 42 years, and we have been proud and honored to consistently provide affordable homeownership opportunities to residents in New Haven.
We have developed homes throughout the City over the years, but for the last 12 years, our real estate development has been focused on the Newhallville, Hill and Dwight neighborhoods.
In 2022, we completed the total gut rehabilitation of the final two houses in our inventory on Ivy Street and W. Hazel Street.
Connecticut’s first and only nonprofit real estate company, HOC Realty, serves all people, but especially those seeking low-cost housing options.
In 2021 – 2022
transactions completed with
$280,000 gross revenue
accomplished by 1 full and 2 part time Realtors
From “A Mess” to the Family’s “Financial Manager”: HOC Customer journey toward homeownership
As a leader in homebuyer education, financial coaching, credit counseling, and foreclosure prevention, the New Haven HomeOwnership Center guides people through the process of qualifying for, finding, purchasing, and maintaining their first home.
Through one-on-one counseling and workshops, we prepare individuals and families for homeownership.
The HomeOwnership Center
In 2021-22, our services supported 954 new homeowners. We had 97 new mortgage-distressed customers, provided 54 workshops for homebuyer education and landlord training with 835 new customers completing workshops.
- Customers improved their credit scores after completion of their Credit Coaching action plans 71% 71%
- Pre-purchase customers increased their savings with help from their Budget Coaches 68% 68%
We provided 5 special virtual homebuyer education seminars for Yale University Employees for their employer-assistance program 106 employees received certificates.
Positioning Neighborhoods for Success
Housing is a key ingredient in promoting the vitality of every neighborhood, every com- munity, and every city and town in the state.
As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses, many people lost their jobs and mass evictions loomed larger each month. “The Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP), administered by the Department of Housing (DOH), was a critically needed tool to address a catastrophic need,” HOC Managing Director, Bridgette Russell, explained.
With the help of selected administrators, including our HOC, Connecticut got to work distributing funds. In total, NHS assisted 448 families with more than $1,415,000 in rental assistance. “After COVID-19 shut down my work, I was in a panic,” HOC customer, Monika C., shared. The program came at the perfect time, helping with her rent. “A huge thank you to NHS of New Haven and the Department of Housing for helping me through the process!”
The need for rental assistance was and continues to be staggering. The Department of Treasury has made $235 million available to the State to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to COVID-19. Through the DOH, the UniteCT Program provides rental and utility payment assistance to qualified households financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through ??? ##, the HOC has managed…
UniteCT customers over the phone
UniteCT customers assisted in-person
MyHomeCT emergency mortgage assistance customers
counseled through HSCP mortgage assistance counseling program
new homeowners in the Great Hill Cottage Community, Guilford
HOC Lending processed 14 loans within the last 18 months.
12 of those loans were Greater New Haven NAACP Homeownership Matters down payment and closing costs assistance 5-year forgivable loans. The other two were a Neighborhood Assistance Act forgivable energy conservation loan and Rescue Relief Deferred Repayment loan.
Aging in Place
We created a CDFI-compliant development service entitled Aging-in-Place (AIP) for all age- and income-eligible homeowners in Connecticut. We received over 30 inquiries and requests for information and housing assistance/guidance.
We successfully obtained HUD’s approval as a nonprofit secondary financing provider, which provides financial assistance to homebuyers who have FHA mortgage insurance.
Community Building & Organizing
New Haven Civic Innovation Prize awarded $7,000 to Project Lighten Up, which aims to improve street lights and install exterior house lights in New Haven neighborhoods.
7 homes received motion detector side and rear yard lights as part of Project Lighten U
Community Building & Organizing By the numbers…
Resident Leaders Trained
Online Resident Leadership Program Applicants
New Community Mural
Community Gardens Supported
Watershed Stewardship Projects
Beaver Ponds Park
Home Rain Gardens
Resident-Driven Groups Supported
By the Groups
Community Management Teams
Dwight Hall @ Yale, FOCUS
Quinnipiac University, The Big Event
University of New Haven, President’s Public Service Fellow
Yale School of Management
Yale School of Public Health
Special thank you
Sally Voegeli – Volunteer of the Year
In 2020-21, NHS coordinated:
15 online Resident Leadership Program participants
1000 volunteer hours
Actively involved in 5 online Community Management Team meetings
By the Groups
- Action Button
- Community Management Teams
- Dwight Hall @ Yale, FOCUS
- Quinnipiac University, The Big Event
- Redemption House
- Southern CT University
- Squash Haven
- State of CT Judicial Branch Community Service
- The University of New Haven, President’s Public
- Service Fellow – Choate Rosemary Hall
- Yale School of Architecture
- Yale School of Public Health
Volunteer Project Locations
- Carriage Hill Condo
- Ivy Street Community Garden
- Stevens Street
- Truman Street
- Edgewood Properties
- Beaver Ponds Park
- Learning Corridor
- West Division Street
- Sherman Avenue
When Crystal Blair became a first-time homeowner in August 2020, she thought the funds allocated from the rehab component of her (FHA) mortgage would be enough to fix her new house. But after the home inspection, she discovered the house’s good looks were only skin deep. She realized she needed help from a knowledgeable service that had her interests in mind. That’s why she reached out to NHS of New Haven and registered for our I Heart My Home CT program.
Unfinished ductwork, insulation and other problems were discovered that she hadn’t expected. “It seemed like it wasn’t a lot of work,” Crystal remembered about her house hunt. She liked how the house looked, its size and location. What she couldn’t see were the problems.
With her I Heart My Home energy coach, Mike Uhl, Crystal no longer had to struggle with contractor issues, her HVAC being shut down by an inspector or an electric system that nobody wanted to work on. Uhl was with her every step of the way. “Mike has been extremely helpful,” Blair said, appreciating the diligent work of her energy coach and the I Heart My Home CT program.
Once she received her home energy assessment through the utility-run Home Energy Solutions – Income Eligible (HES-IE) program, in December of 2020, they got to work taking the new Blair residence completely off of fossil fuels. Her new mechanical system relies on electric heat pumps. One heats water for domestic use and dehumidifies the basement. Another replaced the furnace and adds central cooling.
I Heart My Home made sure Crystal qualified for comprehensive incentives so that her upgrades were paid – in full – through the HES-IE program. She’s one of the first HES-IE program customers in Eversource’s territory to be included in their Heat Pump Pilot program. “HVAC was the most exciting part,” Crystal explained, considering the installation didn’t require any out-of-pocket payment. “Even the guy installing it was surprised!”
With her new rooftop solar system connected in February, she now generates all the electric power she needs to run her house, and her monthly electric bill has dropped from $400 to $9. Blair is also in line to be one of the first people to be part of a solar storage program, and soon the battery storage will be able to run important household systems even if there is a power outage. And if the electric grid is overloaded, her solar storage system will feed into the grid and increase the resilience of the community while she is paid for her support in the process.
In 2020-21, we launched the I Heart My Home CT energy concierge program
Seed funding was raised through grassroots crowdsourcing generously matched through Sustainable CT’s Community Match Program
deep energy measures completed
health and safety barriers identified
Our Commitment to Sustainability
Community Sustainability takes an approach that starts with residents and their homes and fosters a community development vision emphasizing social equity, civic engagement, economic stability, a healthy environment and infrastructure that supports neighborhood resilience.
Through virtual engagement, we zoomed through 2020-21, nurturing partnerships that promise to benefit underserved residents in the coming years.
- Governor’s Council on Climate Change
- Equity and Environmental Justice Working Group
- Progress on Mitigation Strategies, Buildings Sector
- Connecticut Energy Network – Steering Committee
- New Haven Energy Task Force
- New Haven Community Compost Collaborative
- Soil Management for Urban Growers Subgroup
- Scaling Up and Strategies Subgroup
We also presented 11 organic gardening classes to 338 online participants.
- West River Watershed Coalition
- Steering Committee
- Water Quality Committee
- Mill River Urban Waters Initiative
- Steering Committee
We also administered 5 residential stormwater management installations.
January 2020 – June 2021
A very special thanks to our generous supporters, without whom none of our work would be possible.
AO & Company
Bank of America
Black Hog Brewing Company
Blue State Coffee
Rabbi Herb Brockman
Can Vacuum & Jet, LLC
City of New Haven
Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
Connecticut Housing Finance Authority
Connex Credit Union
B. Diane King
Dileo & Ritucci, Inc.
Dwight Hall at Yale
Henry Paul Dynia Jr.
Eaton Vance Management
George J. Smith Insurance
Paula Gill Lopez
Greater New Haven Green Fund
Guilford Savings Bank
JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Knights of Columbus
The L. Suzio Concrete Co., Inc.
Liberty Bank Foundation
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Mary Ann Moran
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
New England Conservation Services
New Haven Bank
New Haven Energy Task Force
New Haven Investment Fund, LLC.
New Haven Leon Sister City Project
Newtown Savings Bank
No Worries Brewing Company
North Haven Sewer Co.
Peoples United Bank
Ronald Proto, LLC
Edgar Russell, Jr.
Joanie Straussman Brandon
Sustainable CT Community Match Fund
TD Bank Charitable Foundation
Town of Hamden
Linda Townsend Maier
United Illuminating/ Avangrid
United Way of Greater New Haven
William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund
Yale New Haven Health
Yale Office of New Haven Affairs