NPU, ECHO partner on $500,000 rehabilitation of 32 affordable family housing units in Norwich

Latest investment brings NPU’s total affordable housing support with ECHO

to more than $4.5 million since 2004

NORWICH – On Tuesday, Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) announced an investment of $500,000 through a Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s tax credit program to rehabilitate 32 affordable family rental units in Norwich that are owned and operated by Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities (ECHO).

“Today, more than ever, NPU is committed to making Norwich a better place to live, work and do business. And today’s investment of $500,000 to improve the quality of 32 units of affordable family housing in our city is the latest example of that commitment,” said John Bilda, General Manager of NPU.

The funding from NPU was made available through the State of Connecticut’s Housing Tax Credit Contribution Program, which allows organizations to make contributions to eligible non-profit agencies in lieu of paying a portion of their Gross Revenue Tax bill. NPU’s Gross Revenue Tax liability, which is applied to the purchase of natural gas and electricity, was approximately $2.3 million in FY 2017.

NPU’s investment will support critical repairs and renovations at two affordable family housing developments:

  • 17 units located at 91 South Second Avenue in Taftville
  • 15 units within the Mechanic Street Apartments, consisting of 9 buildings at 23-79 Mechanic Street and 104 Mt. Pleasant Street

“NPU has been a steadfast partner of ECHO since 2004, contributing more than $4.5 million to improve 199 units of affordable family housing in Norwich,” said Peter Battles, Executive Director of ECHO. “Because of the generosity and commitment of NPU, hundreds of low-income families are living in cleaner, nicer homes in Norwich.”

ECHO has owned and operated both developments benefitting from today’s announcement for a number of years. But despite ongoing maintenance efforts, both developments now require additional rehabilitation due to the age of the buildings.

The rehabilitation work includes the full renovation of 15 unit interiors divided between the two developments and consisting of new kitchen cabinets, countertops, sinks and faucets; new bath vanities and toilets; replacement of flooring and extensive painting; new kitchen appliances; and new exhaust fans and smoke / CO detectors.

In addition, the Mechanic Street Apartments will undergo major exterior repairs, including the replacement of deteriorated aluminum siding with vinyl, replacement of porch decking / entry stair railings, and replacement of selected doors.

Both properties are occupied and will remain so during the rehabilitation, which is already underway and should be completed by the end of the year. Renovation of unit interiors will take place in vacant units as tenant turnover takes occurs, avoiding any temporary relocations.

According to ECHO, there is a critical need in Norwich and the region for quality rental accommodations for low-income families.

About ECHO

Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities (ECHO) was established in 1989 with the mission of providing affordable housing for families in Eastern Connecticut whose income is too low to support the purchase or rental of a home at market rates in the communities in which they work and wish to live.

ECHO believes that decent, safe and sanitary housing at affordable cost is a basic human need to which all Americans are entitled; affordable housing for all is necessary to the long-term economic viability of the region; and development of ownership housing in urban settings contributes to the revitalization of distressed neighborhoods.