UHAB, HDF and the Connecticut Green Bank partner to provide technical assistance and financing to increase housing cooperative’s viability
New Haven, Conn. (Aug. 13, 2019) – The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) announces the closing of an initial loan that is the first installment of a more than $500,000 operating bridge loan for Seabury Cooperative. Located at the corner of Elm and Howe Streets in New Haven, Seabury Cooperative is a two-building complex with 88 affordable apartments. The UHAB financing also allows the Housing Development Fund (HDF) and the Connecticut Green Bank to provide further pre-development financial support for energy- and health/safety-related design and improvements. Together, this financing will help preserve important affordable housing in the city by increasing occupancy, improving the property, and reducing energy costs.
“Creating and preserving cooperative housing like Seabury is our mission” said Andrew Reicher, Executive Director of UHAB. “We are excited that our training, technical assistance and bridge lending could help preserve this important affordable housing resource in New Haven.”
Built in 1973, Seabury has all electric HVAC systems. As the property has aged, the electricity costs have risen significantly (50% from 2013 to 2015). Under this strain, residents reached out to their utility provider, the United Illuminating Company (UI), who conducted an energy audit and referred them to the Connecticut Green Bank for technical and financing assistance.
“The resident-owners of Seabury are excited to move ahead with long needed improvements to our home,” said Demetria Lindsey, President of the Cooperative Board. “We are looking for families and seniors of low or moderate income who would like to be part of our community.”
The Green Bank and UHAB began working together to help Connecticut cooperatives in late 2017. This partnership includes technical assistance to individual cooperatives as well as outreach to the affordable cooperatives in the state. Working with the Connecticut Housing Coalition they held a statewide training for cooperative boards members in the spring of 2018 and continue to provide technical assistance at properties facing high energy costs.
The financing from HDF and the Green Bank will be used to cover the costs of pre-development work necessary to secure permanent financing for the project. This will include the contracting of an architectural and engineering team to plan and design the replacement of the HVAC systems, evaluating the addition of roof insulation and new windows, investigate other energy and health and safety issues, and bidding out the construction work.
“HDF is proud to be partnered with UHAB and The Connecticut Green Bank on this project,” said Joan Carty, President and CEO of HDF. “It is a great example of like-minded organizations coming together to simultaneously improve energy efficiency and preserve desperately needed affordable housing for the residents of the Seabury Cooperative.”
“The partnership between UHAB and the Green Bank is a natural fit,” said Kim Stevenson, Director of Multifamily Programs at the Green Bank. “We are focused on helping residents and property owners reduce their energy expenses through the financing of renewables and efficiency projects. UHAB understands cooperatives and how to train residents on key skills needed to manage their properties. Together, we are making a difference in the long-term sustainability and financial viability of these important communities.”
Limited equity co-ops like Seabury provide home ownership opportunities that are permanently affordable in communities that are increasingly unaffordable to low-income households. Having provided affordable housing for nearly 50 years, this co-op will be rehabbed and updated focusing particularly on energy, health and safety measures, and will be able to provide affordable home ownership for another 50 years. Co-ops are an affordable housing solution that lasts.
The New Haven Independent wrote a follow-up article about the work at Seabury. Read the article here.
The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board was born in the midst of New York City’s economic crisis of the 1970s. With landlords abandoning their buildings en masse, the city found itself with more than 11,000 buildings on hand and no idea what to do with them. UHAB became a voice for the residents living in those buildings – longtime New Yorkers who had no intention of leaving. Turning buildings over to their residents to manage began as an experiment. But soon the city was convinced that this revolutionary approach could be sustained. The first year UHAB offered training, in Harlem, residents of 200 buildings learned how to cooperatively govern and operate their own multi-family dwellings. UHAB has now assisted in the preservation of more than 1,600 buildings (comprising 1,350 housing cooperatives), creating homeownership opportunities for residents of more than 30,000 apartments. For more information, please visit http:\\www.uhab.org.
About the Housing Development Fund (HDF)
The Housing Development Fund, Inc was established in 1989 as a nonprofit organization to finance the development of affordable housing in Stamford, CT. Today we have offices in Stamford, Bridgeport, and Danbury providing unique lending products and free homeownership counseling. With more than $120 million in funds under management, our programs include the pre-development, acquisition, rehabilitation, and construction of affordable housing, as well as down-payment and closing cost assistance loan programs for low- and moderate-income families. Our service area includes the entire state of Connecticut as well as the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Putnam, and Westchester counties in New York state, the five boroughs of New York City, and a recent expansion into Massachusetts. For more information, please visit hdfconnects.org.
About the Connecticut Green Bank
The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, it is leading the clean energy finance movement by leveraging public and private funds to scale-up renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency projects across Connecticut. The Green Bank’s success in accelerating private investment in clean energy is helping Connecticut create jobs, increase economic prosperity, promote energy security and address climate change. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com.