WHAT IT MEANS TO BE OUTSTANDING
On Saturday March 14, 2015 in Wallingford, CT, the CT- Public Housing Resident Network (CT-PHRN) honored the Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of the City of New Haven as its 2015 ‘Outstanding Housing Authority’. What a rewarding accomplishment to be honored this year by an organization such as CT PHRN – an organization that serves not only as a voice in Connecticut for public housing residents in the decisions that affect their lives and their communities but one that also empowers residents by creating a powerful statewide organization that represents their interests.
To receive such an honor this year is especially meaningful when there is so much at stake for the designated MTW-Moving to Work housing authorities across the country due to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposal of critical changes to the MTW Program – a program that has allowed Elm City Communities/HANH to make the positive and impactful changes in the way we serve our residents and so many of the reasons why we have received this honor.
Serving Our Youth
Everyday Elm City Communities/HANH provides a home to over 1700 school aged children between the ages of 4 and 18. Some of these children reside with their families in our larger developments, some in smaller developments and some in our scattered site portfolio. Additionally we serve another 5000 youth through our Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program.
We are committed to doing our part to provide opportunities to ensure that our children get off to the right start. Through the flexibility provided to us by the Federal Government due to our status as a Moving to Work agency, HANH has been able to fund a robust youth services program that partners with families, the Board of Education, Parks and Recreation and numerous social service agencies to bring services to our developments and to connect our children with programs throughout our great City. Most services are fully subsidized by ECC/HANH.
Everyday approximately 400 children are served through programs directly funded by us such as Boys and Girls Club, Youth Police Initiative, Elm Shakespeare, the City of New Haven and Center for Adaptive Learning. Countless others are served by providers who have developed programs in partnership with ECC/HANH but obtained their own funding such as Solar Youth, the Little Learners Program, BRIDGES and the Junior League to name a few.
Each summer we support our youth in attending summer camps and we fund summer jobs through the Youth@Work program and the ECC/HANH based STEP-Student Training & Employment Program. Our youth have access to after school programming that includes homework assistance, recreation, equestrian, dramatic and other creative arts, sports and mentoring.
WE ARE COMMITTED TO THE EDUCATION OF OUR YOUTH
It is our belief that the key to breaking the cycle of poverty is education. As a result, we also launched an education initiative called Elm City Believes. Elm City Believes is comprised of policies and programs that focus on 1) academic supports that help reduce the achievement gap; 2) ways parents and families can better engage in their children’s education; and 3) programs and policies that boost post-secondary opportunities. ECC/HANH provides supports and services to students and families through meaningful partnerships with schools, educators, and community based organizations. We aim to leverage smart housing policy and programs that help close the opportunity gaps and in so doing, have the potential to stop the cycle of poverty among the ECC/HANH families thereby potentially building a new, vibrant middle class in New Haven.
COMMUNITIES OF CHOICE
To date, we have been able transform public housing developments into communities of choice with successful rebuilding of over 1200 units at an investment of over $412 million. Through our modernization and redevelopment efforts we are creating affordable communities of choice for residents of the City of New Haven.
Most recently, we are in the construction phase in the rebuilding of Ribicoff Cottages, which will be replaced by 56 units of senior housing and 50 units of family housing, with 8 homeownership units in a future phase.
GIVING HOPE- TRANSITION TO SELF SUFFICIENCY
We are committed to providing opportunities to residents of the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Programs so that they can become financially independent.
Many of our residents actively take advantage of services and programs offered including:
- GED Classes • Computer Training • Financial Training • Job Training • Work Placement Services • Child Care Assistance • Transportation Assistance
We work with residents to develop a 5-year plan documenting their personal and professional goals. As the resident’s rent increases, due to earning higher wages, a portion of the rent is matched by the Authority and credited monthly to an escrow account which they will receive upon graduation.
The agency honors the FSS graduates’ achievements each year. The goals and accomplishments of each FSS member are announced and recognition is given to their future aspirations such as homeownership, education, or career.
While homeownership is not the goal for all, to date we have approximately 40 new homeowners who have successfully completed the program and transitioned to home ownership!
OUR WORK IS NOT DONE…
Being recognized by the CT PHRN is an honor and a credit to the residents we serve! We will continue to move forward making strides that will not only change the landscape of New Haven from a development perspective but will also impact the lives of thousands of residents by supporting their efforts to transition into self-sufficiency. We will also continue to advocate for the protection of the Moving to Work program which allows us to create “Outstanding” change in our community. Thank you CT- PHRN!