Friendship Service Center Breaks Ground on Howey House Apartments

By at May 25, 2017 | 3:45 pm | Print

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The Connecticut Department of Housing has awarded a Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties (CHAMP) grant of $2.145 million to fund the construction of 11 units of permanent supportive housing on North Street in the city.

The funds were part of $28 million in CHAMP grants announced by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the Department of Housing in late March, and were awarded to the Friendship Service Center, which will own and manage the new building.

Located at 180 North Street, the three-story apartment building will provide 11 efficiency and one-bedroom units of permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals with mental health and addiction issues, with two units designated for veterans. Case management staff employed by the Friendship Service Center will be based on-site to provide services to the residents. Construction will begin in early June and finish one year later, and the building should be fully occupied by fall 2018.

“This is an awesome new opportunity to assist with permanent supportive housing for those the Friendship Center has had the privilege of serving for almost 50 years,” said Ellen Perkins Simpson, executive director of the Friendship Service Center. “Thanks to the wonderful support from the state, the city, the American Savings Foundation, and many others, these homes will offer hope to those still living on the streets and for our ultimate goal of ending homelessness.” She added that the building was named “Howey House” in honor of Greg Howey, president of Okay Industries and a longtime leader of The Mayor’s Permanent Workplan to End Homelessness.

The City of New Britain has committed 252,000 in HOME funding to support the project, and arranged for the acquisition of the land it will occupy.

“We have made great strides in tackling the issue of homelessness in New Britain by connecting individuals with the services they need to get back on their feet. The construction of this new housing and combined service center will continue our efforts to ensure that everyone who has a home has access to one,” said Mayor Stewart.

A $232,000 challenge grant from the American Savings Foundation enabled the Friendship Service Center to raise an equal amount from other private funders, including Webster Bank, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, the Vance Foundation, the Liberty Bank Foundation, Hospital of Central Connecticut, and numerous individual donors.

“The board of directors of the American Savings Foundation saw this challenge grant as an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of support for this project in the greater New Britain community,” said Maria Falvo, President and CEO of the American Savings Foundation. “The tremendous response from 20 organizations and individual donors who came together to meet this challenge helped make the proposal for state funding so strong.”

David Berto of Housing Enterprises, a longstanding member of the Housing Committee, was instrumental in managing the project. Designed by architects Schadler Selnau Associates, the building will be constructed by Naek Construction Company.

The neighborhood where Howey House will be located lies within the North-Oak Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ), and care was taken in the design of the building to ensure it would fit within the character of the neighborhood. “The North-Oak Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) is, with other agencies such as the Friendship Center, to create social and economic progress in the North-Oak region of New Britain,” said Yvette Ghannan, president of the North-Oak NRZ. “We hope this new building will bring just that by providing housing for those in need, with the ambition to be part of a vibrant, progressive and peaceful community. Therefore, we are expecting a good looking, modern and safe building to improve the housing stock of our community.”

“We are so thrilled and so grateful to everyone who has made this project possible,” said Ellen Perkins Simpson. “The success of Howey House is a demonstration that our community can and will come together to put an end to homelessness. We won’t stop until the job is done.”

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