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New Haven announces funding to help residents with housing costs

By Matt McFarland, Evan Sobol

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    NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (WFSB) — The Elm City is using federal funding for a new program that is helping renters with their security deposits, while expanding its down payment program for homebuyers.

The new initiative is called I’m Home, with New Haven setting aside $4 million in pandemic relief funding with the goal of helping hundreds of New Haven residents acquire safe, reliable housing.

Latasha McClain said coming up with her rental security deposit wasn’t easy, and a down payment for potential homebuyers can be even more of a challenge.

“As a person from New Haven that’s struggled with homelessness, and just wants to be a homebuyer, but just doesn’t have the means, and knowing there are monies and grants out there,” said Latasha.

Mayor Justin Elicker and New Haven’s Livable City Initiative wants residents to know, there’s help.

The Elm City’s I’m Home initiative will help renters and homeowners get stable housing.

The two-pronged program sets aside $3 million from American Rescue Plan Act funds to assist 600 renters with up to $5,000 to cover up to two months of a security deposit.

“Everyone knows that having a safe, warm, clean, quality home helps you thrive and if you don’t have those attributes, you’re not going to be successful,” said Elicker.

The second uses $1 million from the same pandemic pot to expand the city’s down payment and closing cost assistance program.

Currently those eligible can get up to $10,000.

Now with the additional money, if the homeowner doesn’t exceed 300% of the federal poverty guidelines, they’ll get an extra $15,000. If the homeowner is a city worker, teacher, firefighter or police officer, they’ll qualify for an additional $2,500.

“Our assistance does couple with other assistance, so some people could end up with $35,000 if they couple with another program, so it’s going to be very beneficial and I think we’ll have a few more homeowners in the city of New Haven soon,” said Arlevia Samuels with the New Haven Livable City Initiative.

Tatania Sellers knows the impact. Faced with coming up with two months deposit, she was the first New Haven resident to receive that rental security assistance from the city, help that came just in time.

“I had two other kids, I was pregnant and I’m a single mother, so that was very nerve wracking, trying to find a place for me and my kids and I didn’t want to go into the shelter,” said Tatiana.

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