Sometimes, there’s more to picturesque small towns than meets the eye. That’s certainly true of 46 Connecticut villages and suburban communities where LISC is providing technical and financial support to local groups striving to create new affordable housing options—in places where meteoric real estate prices are locking out residents who don’t have meteoric incomes.
In the town of Norfolk in northwestern Connecticut, a place of forests, pristine 19th-century houses and growing numbers of second-home owners, LISC has worked hand-in-hand with a small alliance of residents, providing expertise and investment to create the first-ever housing for families there who cannot afford market rates. As in many such cases, the group, known as the Foundation for Norfolk Living (FNL), had dedication to spare, but not enough experience to wade through the complex processes of securing state tax credits and developing housing.
LISC initially gave FNL a grant to help hire a housing consultant—a key first step—who walked them through the complexities of creating affordable housing on a small scale. The group then assembled a site consisting of five buildings around the town green, and negotiated agreements with the sellers. But once FNL secured commitments for project financing from the state’s Department of Housing, lengthy bureaucratic delays put the site acquisition in peril. LISC stepped in with a $500,000 loan that enabled FNL to purchase the properties and retain site control.
A second $450,000 loan served as a bridge to historic tax credits that are crucial for the project’s success. While the state has committed the tax credits, they will not be disbursed until construction is complete and compliance certified, as is standard. LISC’s loan provided the capital that made it possible to finish rehabbing the five buildings and constructing a two-unit addition. The twelve new units are expected to become home to families in spring 2018.
LISC, in fact, is under contract with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority to help local groups increase affordable housing options in small, mainly rural communities across the state. These efforts “make the state more accessible and inclusive, and economically stronger,” says Andrea Pereira, who has been director of Hartford and Connecticut Statewide LISC since 1998. To date, LISC’s assistance has resulted in 537 new units of affordable housing in rural and suburban areas, with another 617 already in the pipeline.
In a small state, and in small communities, those are huge successes.
Photo credit: Tom Burr
Private Sector Support
Public Sector Support
Executive Director: Andrea Pereira
75 Charter Oak Ave., Suite 2-250
Hartford, CT 06106