Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Welcome to Whalley Terrace

City welcomes supportive housing

By Eliza Hallabeck
Special to the Register

A new option in supportive housing for low income or disabled adults over 62 years old has sprouted on Whalley Avenue, and at its open house on Tuesday the building shined in the spring light.
Twenty-two tenants will call Whalley Terrace home and most have already moved in. But while some have yet to do so, the building was designed to hold exactly 22 housing units and there already is a waiting list, should any of the units go unfilled in the future.
“The point is that folks live here, and they live here affordably,” said Brett Hill, the CEO of HOME, Inc.
Mayor John DeStefano Jr., one of those who turned out for the open house, said “People living in an environment that really supports their needs is good.”
A small ceremony, for which Hill officiated, welcomed visitors to the open house; many were thanked for their contributions in creating Whalley Terrace.
“So many people have to help to pull the same wagon,” Hill said about working on the project for the past several years. “That is a wonderful thing.”
Hill said the endeavor, which HOME, Inc. and Columbus House worked together on, was both wonderful and frustrating.
“It’s frustrating that it takes six years, but it’s worth it,” said Hill.
Whalley Terrace was developed under the state’s Supportive Housing Pilots Initiative, which is a collaborative program designed to create affordable housing and support services for people affected by mental illness or chemical dependency who also are facing homelessness, according to Columbus House.
Columbus House is a nonprofit organization that relies on government grants and contributions; it focuses on providing food and shelter for men and women in need. HOME, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides quality affordable housing for low-income Connecticut residents.
“It’s just such important work that we do,” said Columbus House Executive Director Alison Cunningham. “To see people living in the community without homes is ridiculous.”
Cunningham said she was pleased to see how Whalley Terrace has turned out, adding there were not a lot of changes from the original design of the building.
“I’m very pleased with how it looks and more importantly with how the tenants feel,” said Cunningham.
Isreal Rosado, 64, said he moved into the building on March 18, and he is pleased with the comfortable and friendly environment.
“This is the best place that I’ve lived in,” said Rosado.
Rosado said he had been living in his uncle’s basement when he heard about Whalley Terrace and applied for housing right away. Rosado said he had been suffering from various problems before he applied for housing.
All of the applications went through HOME, Inc, Cunningham said.
“We started the outreach process in September, and by December we had pinpointed every tenant,” said Hill.
After the welcoming ceremony, donated food and beverages were served for visitors and tenants. “It’s great to see it finally done,” said Cunningham.
Eliza Hallabeck is a New Haven Register Intern.

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