On July 26th, The HomeOwnership Center (HOC) at Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (NHS) held an open house to celebrate the renovated home with its new owner, Tamika S. Baines. Tamika has been preparing for this moment with The HOC for six years. She shed tears of joy after cutting the ribbon.
As a long-term resident who grew up in the Newhallville area, Tamika has strong ties within the community. She attended Lincoln Bassett Elementary School, Jackie Robinson Middle School (currently known as King/ Robinson Interdistrict Magnet School), James Hillhouse High School, and Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU).
“While attending SCSU, I began my student teaching at my former middle school, King/ Robinson, where I realized that my true passion was not teaching but studying behaviors,” said Tamika. She switched majors and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
After graduation, she continued working in several schools throughout the City of New Haven. “I consider myself to be a true advocate for mental health within the African American community, especially in New Haven,” Tamika said. In addition to serving students in the New Haven Public Schools, she has assisted the city’s at-risk youth in group homes, in-patient facilities, psychiatric units, and in private practice settings. Tamika obtained her Master’s Degree in Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health.
“I wanted to purchase a home in the New Haven area because this city has given me so much through education, mentorship, employment, and helped shape me into who I am. I just want to be a great example and light to the people in this community.” Tamika waited two years for her home on West Hazel Street. Now that she has reached her homeownership dreams, Tamika’s next goal is to inspire more people. “I would like the community to see me as a homeowner and have hope that anything is possible even when the cards are stacked against you!”
Affordable real estate development and quality living have been at the core of NHS’s business. In 2020 and 2021, NHS renovated 10 houses to historic and Energy Star 3.0 standards, providing 15 families with a place to call home. Through The HOC, residents can access services and counseling that help them achieve their dreams of homeownership in a sustainable way.
Tamika’s new home is a 3-family house with a 2-bedroom and 1-bathroom unit/apartment on each floor. Identical to other NHS renovated homes, this property includes quality living features like composite laminate flooring in the living room, dining room, bedrooms, and hallways; tile flooring in the bathrooms; central air conditioning; fully functional kitchen with dishwashers; washing machine hookup and dryer hookup for each unit; combo system which heats the house and provides hot water for each unit.
“I come from a family who has served and volunteered their time to the youth in this city for many years through coaching middle school basketball, youth, and high school track. My dad was the coach for the New Haven Steelers Football teams for over 15 years, so New Haven is home! Buying a home in New Haven with the help of NHS assistance just blocks away from my family home is a full circle moment! I am very grateful for this opportunity!”