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A historic mansion that's home to Connecticut veterans is getting federal cash for repairs

Phelps Village resident Junius Lewis speaks with Senator Richard Blumenthal outside Phelps Village to celebrate the allocation of more than $600,000 in federal dollars to fix up Phelps Village, which houses 21 formerly homeless veterans in Vernon, Connecticut March 5, 2024.
Abigail Brone
Connecticut Public
Phelps Village resident Junius Lewis speaks with Sen. Richard Blumenthal outside Phelps Village to celebrate the allocation of more than $600,000 in federal dollars to fix up Phelps Village, which houses 21 formerly homeless veterans in Vernon, Connecticut, March 5, 2024.

A historic Vernon mansion used to house veterans is preparing to undergo extensive renovation.

More than $600,000 in federal funding will go toward updating Phelps Village on Ellington Avenue, which houses 21 formerly homeless veterans.

Phelps Village is owned and operated by Chrysalis Center, a nonprofit that serves impoverished Connecticut families.

Air Force veteran Phillip Hansley, who’s lived in Phelps Village for seven years, looks forward to the front porch and façade being repainted.

“When I first came in, it wasn't as bad as it is now, but I'm optimistic, that is going to be looking pretty, pretty good,” Hansley said. “We love sitting on the porch, watching the people go by.”

Hansley says the veterans are on a first-name basis with many local residents.

The $642,000 will fund roof and chimney repairs, improvements to the foundation’s brickwork, new lighting, security and a new rear patio door, among other work, according to Chrysalis Center’s Chief Executive Officer Sharon Castelli.

The work will commence in about six weeks, and is expected to be completed in six months, Castelli said.

Each veteran lives in a single bedroom apartment within the main house or two newer additions on the property, Castelli said.

Phelps Village was constructed around 1900 for Charles Phelps, Connecticut’s first Attorney General, who served from 1899 to 1903.

Veterans should be able to take pride in their homes, and the upgrades will help make that possible, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said.

“I'm very proud that we went to bat for our veterans, that we got this money, that it will go to such an important vital cause as keeping veterans off the streets making sure no veteran is homeless,” Blumenthal said. “It's on us to make sure no veteran is without decent, comfortable, warm homes. Not just shelters, homes. That's what this place will be. It will be a home.”

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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