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Accolades for focus on smaller affordable rental developments

Date Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Rocky Hill, Conn., June 15, 2015 – The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) received an award and has been nominated for a national award for two programs that focus on small-scale affordable multifamily rental housing developments. The Connecticut Main Street Center was awarded the Jack Shannahan Prize for Public Service to CHFA for its “Come Home to Downtown” program. The Urban Land Institute also announced that CHFA‘s Small Multifamily Rental Development Strategy is a finalist in the Urban Land Institute’s Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Awards. “It’s wonderful to be recognized for both these programs. Much of CHFA’s financing goes to larger developments, but there is need for smaller developments that must be met as well, “said Norbert Deslauriers, Interim Executive Vice President of CHFA. “A market assessment showed that 10% of the housing units in Connecticut are in structures of less than 20 units, making it a critical segment of the market,” he added. Expanding Local Partnerships The “Come Home To Downtown” program is a collaboration with the Connecticut Main Street Center. The idea for the program came in response to a gap in financial resources to revitalize town centers. With their combination of shops, restaurants and services clustered together, small towns can provide the kind of vital, walkable communities where people want to live. The “Come Home to Downtown” program provided funding to assist building owners in finding ways to add housing on the upper floors of underutilized buildings. Six communities have taken advantage of the technical assistance. It is expected that New Britain, with 16 apartments, and Waterbury with 38 apartments, will be the first towns to add downtown rental units through the program. CHFA’s Small Multifamily Rental Development Strategy relies on strong partnerships with Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) throughout the state, that have expertise and ability to meet the needs of owners and developers of smaller properties. CHFA works with CDFIs and provides low-cost capital that can be blended with the CDFIs’ other funds to finance acquisition, rehabilitation, construction, and permanent financing. Since the formation of the partnership, more than 2,200 units of affordable and mixed-income housing have been financed through CDFIs. In 2014, the Small Multifamily Rental Development Strategy also received an award from the National Council of State Housing Agencies for encouraging new housing production.