Motel purchase among New Haven plans for pandemic relief funds


NEW HAVEN – The city plans to use $ 500,000 of its $ 122.1 million federal pandemic stimulus fund to help Columbus House purchase the New Haven Village Suites extended stay motel at 3 Long Wharf Drive to to continue to provide safe shelter to homeless people.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Columbus House would use the property – which the state leased with federal aid dollars during the pandemic to provide safe emergency housing for COVID and reduce the density of collective shelters – to help increase the city’s affordable housing stock, city records show.

The proposal, which city officials said would also require a larger commitment of funds from the state government, is one of many nuggets contained in a monthly financial report that details how New Haven plans to spend, and in many cases has spent, its federal pandemic recovery funds so far.

Columbus House CEO Margaret Middleton said the motel has been of great value to Columbus House – which essentially moved its operations there almost overnight in the spring of 2020 – and other service providers. during the pandemic, helping to provide safer housing for homeless people.

She hopes the deal will be done.

“We are really proud to have moved just over 641 households to permanent housing since the start of the pandemic,” Middleton said. “What was really exciting about the hotel as a property was that it has 112 units, so it had the potential to create around 75 affordable housing units permanently.”

She said “it would be a great benefit for COVID” if it resulted in the creation of additional affordable housing in the community to help prevent people from becoming homeless.

“We are truly grateful to the City of New Haven for its support for homeless people during this pandemic,” Middleton said. “The city has been a very good partner … and I think that’s why you see that (funding) number in there.”

“A significant contribution” from the state

A city official speaking on condition of anonymity said the purchase of 3 Long Wharf Drive depended on state contribution “a significant contribution” and is complicated by the fact that the current asking price “is considerably greater than appraised value ”.

The appraised value of the 3.03 acre property, located directly behind the Jordan’s Furniture building, is $ 6.3 million.

The property is owned by HTA-YLW New Haven LLC, which is registered with an address in Hartford. HTA-YLW New Haven LLC, which owns Healthcare Trust of America Holdings, LP of Scottsdale, Ariz. Listed on state records as principal, purchased the property for $ 1.6 million in 2016, according to city ​​records.

“Columbus House approached us,” even though “they work primarily with the state,” said the city’s community services administrator Dr Mehul Dalal.

“We hope that will happen,” said Dalal.

“I think our commitment is to work with them to find a solution” and “ideally the solution would be to maintain a non-collective solution,” said Dalal. “It is really a safer and more humane solution at all levels, to have non-collective housing”.

The city’s contribution would “always be subject to the public contribution process,” he said.

“This is a proposal that is of great interest to the city, given that we could safely house nearly 200 people in non-collective spaces,” said Dalal.

$ 122.1 million in federal funds

The $ 115.8 million coming to New Haven via the US bailout includes a direct allocation of $ 90.5 million to the city and New Haven’s $ 25.29 million share of County funding. New Haven, said Michael Gormany, the city’s acting comptroller.

In addition, the city receives $ 6.3 million under previous funding from the CARES Act, which includes a community development block grant of $ 3.6 million, a grant of $ 2.6 million for emergency solutions and $ 160,000 from the federal housing opportunities program for people with AIDS, Gormany said.

The money is earmarked for a wide range of community uses, including youth engagement, the city’s Clean and Safe program, arts and culture, replacement of lost income, basic needs, health and public security, housing assistance, support for populations at risk, economic resilience and emergency shelter.

The $ 500,000 allocation for the eventual purchase of 3 Long Wharf, which would come from CARES funding and has not yet been spent, is one of many proposed expenditures at Columbus House, which is among the the city’s leading providers of emergency shelters for the homeless.

The city has also allocated $ 400,000 to help Columbus House hire a new Rapid Relocation Case Manager, Eviction Prevention Case Manager and Employment Specialist and provide rental assistance and support to clients. for credit repair. He has spent $ 60,239 to date.

In addition, it allocated $ 140,093 to Columbus House for HVAC upgrades, shelter upgrades and COVID-19-related cleanup at the agency’s main shelter.

Social service agencies benefit

Columbus House is just one of many social service organizations that would benefit from the funding to varying degrees. Others include Catholic Charities / Centro San Jose; Christian community action; CitySeed Inc .; FISH of Grand New Haven; Integrated services for refugees and immigrants; Marrakech; New Haven Ecological Project; children inc .; Solar Youth; and Vertical Church, among others.

Some of the other more significant expenses listed in the financial report are:

$ 977,816 to replace lost public sector revenue to pay for government services that could otherwise see funding sources cut off by the pandemic.

802,393 to the CASTLE program to provide housing stabilization and support to households at risk of foreclosure or eviction as a direct result of the pandemic, of which $ 244,772 had been spent.

$ 402,762 for improvements to parks and playgrounds.

$ 250,000 to the New Haven Partnership Loan Program to provide support and assistance to small businesses, of which $ 81,640 was spent.

$ 223,639 for program administration and monitoring.

$ 146,474 to Liberty Community Services to hire 1.6 full-time equivalent service mariners “to make showers and laundry available by appointment, provide prepared meals and packaged food and beverages, purchase two sets of washers and dryers commercial grade and maintain an inventory of linens and personal products. grooming supplies.

$ 90,000 to Christian Community Action to supplement the salary of the Neighborhood Services Advocate, who provides services to families and seniors in need of emergency food and information.

$ 85,000 for COVID testing.

$ 85,000 to the New Reach emergency shelter to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 with regular deep cleanings, plexiglass room dividers to be placed between beds in shared guest rooms and common areas and other protective equipment.

$ 70,000 to Youth Continuum to expand services to youth by providing them with adequate physical space, isolation space and additional clinical assistance.

$ 60,000 to the Marrakech Taking Initiative Center, or TIC, to hire a manager and engagement specialist to extend program hours by 25 additional hours per week and purchase COVID protective gear.

$ 50,000 to provide a day care center with outreach services by residents of Casa Otonal.

$ 50,000 to Liberty Community Services to hire a dedicated outreach worker for homeless people “living in places unsuitable for human habitation”.

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