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Housing trust acquires new property

FALLS VILLAGE — Jandi Hanna, President of the Falls Village Housing Trust, said on Sunday, May 14 that the trust had just completed a deal to buy 17-21 Miner St. in Falls Village. The property has five apartments in two buildings.

Hanna said the purpose of buying the property is to keep it as “organic affordable housing.”

The non-profit FVHT will be in a position to apply to the state for funds for renovation.

Hanna said the purchase was arranged with the help of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), and consultants David Berto of Housing Enterprises Inc. and Jocelyn Ayer of The Housing Collective.

The FVHT also successfully applied for a $750,000 federal grant for infrastructure at the site of the River Road Homes.

The trust applied for the grant through the office of U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-5), and was ultimately included in the omnibus budget package that passed through Congress in December 2022.

But there was a hitch. Hanna said there was an error in the wording on the grant to the effect that the applicant was the town, not the housing trust.

This caused a kerfuffle. Hanna said she has been assured by the Hartford office of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that the complaints based on the faulty assumption that the town, not the housing trust, had applied for the grant “are without merit.”

The error will be corrected, but the “technical correction” process will take some time and will push the actual receipt of the money into the 2024 fiscal year.

In the interim, the trust is busy working on the federal environmental review that must be approved before any work may begin.

Asked what is included in the term “infrastructure,” Hanna said it applies to anything “on or below the ground.”

This includes water and septic, roads, and sidewalks. The complex consists of five buildings containing 16 rental units, built on concrete slabs. Hanna wasn’t sure if the slabs count as infrastructure.

Asked if $750,000 is enough to cover the infrastructure work, Hanna said “probably not,” and said that fundraising efforts will continue.

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