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Hartford rolls out new housing-focused programs to help city workers and elderly

Residents who believe they are eligible can apply for loans and grants on the city's website.

HARTFORD, Conn. — City leaders in Hartford are putting their money where their mouth is. Seeing rising inflation, they are leveraging both federal and municipal dollars to fund new programs to help people keep a roof over their heads.

Connecticut’s Capital city is home to about 121,000 people. But a quarter of the population lives in poverty with a median household income of just over $37,000. That’s why the city just rolled out new housing initiatives.

“We are here to make a really significant announcement,” trumpeted Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Wednesday. 

Two new loan and grant programs are being funded totaling $2.5 million.

“I believe in us taking a block at a time and we can make this city the nicest place ever. So let’s go!” exclaimed Hartford resident Hyacinth Yennie.

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$1.25 million will be set aside to give city employees looking to live in Hartford up to $10,000 for a down payment. 

“And not just live in our community but to own and build wealth in our community,” added Mayor Bronin.

While another $1.25 million will be reserved to help seniors remain in their homes with up to $10,000 toward repairs. 

“A lot of them have had to move out because they can’t afford to stay in the houses they are in because it needs a lot of work and they don’t have the money to do that,” explained Hartford resident Helen Nixon.

To know why the programs were created, let’s first understand Hartford’s housing stock. It’s one of the oldest in the country. The average age of a housing structure stands at 53 years.

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Hartford’s population is also one of the most transient with 75% rental units and only 25% owner-occupied. 

“It is one of the lowest in the state. Indeed it’s probably one of the lowest in the country,” said Mayor Bronin.

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These programs come just four weeks after Hartford announced it’s spending an additional $2 million to crack down on city slum lords by beefing up code enforcement and legal aid for tenants. 

“We are going to continue to be focused on housing opportunities in every way we can. That includes building more housing across the income spectrum. That includes market rate, workforce and affordable. It includes focusing on quality rental units throughout the community and holding landlords accountable,” said Bronin.

City officials say you can start applying for this money on the city’s website by the end of the week. The $2.5 million will be enough to help about 250 people but city leaders acknowledge it’s not nearly enough to meet the need.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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