Connecticut Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein, Connecticut Housing Finance Agency Executive Director Karl Kilduff, HUD Field Office Director Suzanne Piacentini and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin joined the leadership of nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and the Melville Charitable Trust to celebrate the completion of renovations at Billings Forge, a 113-unit mixed-income apartment complex located in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford Thursday. The upgrades improve the quality of the apartments while preserving affordable homes for the community.
The Trust was Billings Forge’s previous owner and in 2014, entered a joint partnership with POAH, a national nonprofit that owns two other properties in Connecticut, to leverage public and private investment for capital improvements at Billings Forge. POAH completed more than $9 million of property upgrades – including new windows, kitchens and baths, elevator, upgraded life safety systems, and common-area improvements. The renovations to the main mill building are beautifully executed according to historic preservation requirements that honor the cherished history of this building constructed as a tool plant in 1864.
“For years, Billings Forge has been a forward-thinking and compassionate lifeline to Hartford families in need. POAH and the Melville Charitable Trust have done amazing work to complete renovations on these beautiful apartments, and I’m so grateful for their partnership with Billings Forge to launch the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. This new programming will help Hartford families realize their dreams,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn).
"Connecticut continues to expand access to affordable housing at an unprecedented rate and we were proud to partner with POAH on this important development in our capital city," said Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne M. Klein who is also Chair of CHFA's Board of Directors. "Billings Forge is exactly the kind of mixed-income development that we like to see and the results speak for themselves. Housing development creates community and here in Frog Hollow there is no shortage of community. With the addition of several new shops, restaurants, a weekly farmer’s market—and now these great new housing units—Hartford’s revitalization efforts are sure to have a lasting impact for years to come.”
“For almost 15 years, the Melville Charitable Trust has invested in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford and we remain committed to the long-term vitality of the neighborhood and to the people who live and work here,” said Janice Elliott, Executive Director, Melville Charitable Trust. “We’re proud to be part of this public and private investment in the Billings Forge apartment complex because we know that safe, stable, and affordable housing is the foundation of a healthy community.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to have the collaboration and involvement of Connecticut government agencies, local officials and financial partners,” said Aaron Gornstein, President and CEO of POAH. “We couldn’t be more excited to have the collaboration and involvement of Connecticut government agencies, local officials and financial partners,” said Aaron Gornstein, President and CEO of POAH. “Billings Forge is a great example of a successful mixed income neighborhood with many supports – job training, employment, youth programming, arts, and more.”
The renovations were supported by the Connecticut Department of Housing, Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the City of Hartford, and investors Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, People’s United Bank and Eversource.
In addition to the ribbon cutting POAH and Melville, in partnership with Compass Working Capital, launched a new Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program at Billings Forge. The FSS program will enable Billings Forge residents to achieve economic security by increasing their earned income, building savings and working towards personal and financial goals. POAH also announced that it received a Composting Grant from the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
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