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Habitat for Humanity receives federal funding for homes in Bridgeport

Shirley, N.Y.: Members of Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk join together to build a home for a family, in Shirley, New York, on October 21, 2021.
Alejandra Villa Loarca / Newsday
FILE: Members of Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk join together to build a home for a family, in Shirley, New York, on October 21, 2021.

A $2 million federal grant will enable Fairfield County’s Habitat for Humanity to double the number of families serve in a year.

The grant, first announced in December as part of the fiscal year 2023 federal omnibus spending bill, was initially touted as funding for 10 affordable homes in Bridgeport, according to a statement from Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal’s office. The number of homes was later increased to 14.

The homes will be included in a new development established by Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County. They will be located on Chopsey Hill Road in Bridgeport, with construction of a cul-de-sac road off Wilcox Street, according to the statement.

Marked as affordable housing, the homes will be sold to low-income families earning between 45% and 70% of the area median income, according to the statement.

The median household income for Bridgeport residents was $50,597 as of 2021, according to U.S. census data.

Residents will receive the homes with no down payment and no interest on the 30-year mortgage, said Carolyn Vermont, CEO of Habitat CFC. A mortgage for the homes never exceeds more than 30% of the household’s income.

“We provide classes and training for families so they know how to handle their finances, how to be a homeowner, how to be a good neighbor, and we keep them involved in the community,” Vermont said. “That’s what it’s about at Habitat, we aren’t just building homes, we are building communities. We are building hope for our families.”

Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Habitat was averaging 10 to 12 homes built in Fairfield County per year, Vermont said. But with the pandemic slowing, and in some cases haltingconstruction, the number of homes built was cut in half.

“With this $2 million, we are able to double the number of homes that we build,” Vermont said. “That means we are able to double the amount of families we can serve in a particular year.”

Additionally, the Bauer Family Foundation offered a $500,000 matching gift to cover the acquisition of the Chopsey Hill property on which the 14 new homes will be built, according to the branch.

Blumenthal commended Habitat CFC for its work in the community and said the stable homes provided will help the city fight crime, improve education and strengthen the middle class.

“Big cities like Bridgeport need and deserve more people with the anchor in the community that a home provides,” Blumenthal said.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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