The Hartford today announced a $1 million grant to a housing initiative led by Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA), to make homeownership more accessible in Hartford’s Asylum Hill Neighborhood. In combination with other sources, this bridge funding will help reduce blight and enable the renovation of approximately 24 homes, which equates to $10 million in revitalization over the next five years.
“The Hartford is proud to partner in the revitalization of the Asylum Hill neighborhood that we have called home for more than 100 years,” said The Hartford’s Chairman and Chief Executive Office Christopher Swift. “We are steadfast in our commitment to addressing the critical needs of our neighbors by advancing equal economic, educational and workplace opportunities. The success of this particular partnership will be three-fold – to restore the historic beauty of the neighborhood, reduce blight and expand homeownership in Asylum Hill.”
The Hartford’s funding will be combined with previously secured funding from Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) and state Historic Home Rehabilitation Tax Credits, providing a multiplier effect and closing the gap in financing required to embark on this project. The homeownership opportunities will be comprised of a mix of single-family homes and multi-family homes throughout the neighborhood.
“The Hartford has been a steadfast partner since NINA was formed in 2003, and together, we are well-poised to move forward with this exciting initiative,” NINA Executive Director Ken Johnson said. “We share the belief that a safer and more stable neighborhood for residents begins with a blight-free environment that offers a diverse array of housing opportunities.”
NINA rehabilitates blighted historic houses and constructs new ones that fit the historic character of Asylum Hill. The homes are affordable homeownership opportunities for low- to moderate-income families. NINA will initiate several new construction projects this year and have the capital needed to accelerate the completion of additional projects over the next five years.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said, “The Hartford has been a tremendous partner to our city for hundreds of years, and this historic investment represents its deep commitment to the Asylum Hill neighborhood and our entire community. Supporting the rehabilitation of historic properties while promoting affordable homeownership with a leading community organization like NINA will improve quality of life for the entire neighborhood and complement our efforts citywide to add and improve our housing stock.”
The Hartford’s Long-standing Commitment To Asylum Hill
The $1 million donation announced today is in addition to a $10 million, 5-year commitment The Hartford made last fall to commemorate its 100th year of being headquartered in Asylum Hill. The funding focuses on addressing the top priorities of residents and non-profits based on findings from The Hartford’s Asylum Hill Neighborhood Survey. Respondents said the three most critical needs were housing stability, job readiness and greater public safety.
The commitment established last year builds on a $7 million donation The Hartford launched in 2010 to revitalize the neighborhood, which included a $2 million contribution toward the removal of the Capitol West building. Additionally, the company contributed financial and volunteer support for educational programs with community partners such as Junior Achievement, The Village for Families and Children and West Middle School.
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Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, Inc. (NINA) is a non-profit community development corporation working in the Asylum Hill neighborhood of Hartford, Conn., to restore blighted historic houses as homeownership opportunities that are affordable for low- to moderate-income households.
Since 2004, NINA has restored more than 20 blighted properties and constructed five new single-family homes, which represents an investment in the neighborhood of over $14 million. NINA also invests in programs designed to improve the streetscape through facade improvements and landscaping, to promote public safety and the quality of life, and to expand educational opportunities through greater resources for schools.
NINA was founded by The Hartford, Aetna, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center (now Trinity Health New England), and Webster Bank as part of a larger corporate partnership to revitalize their neighborhood, and they continue to support NINA's operations annually.
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