The Day – Stonington launches home improvement loan scheme

Stonington – The city will launch a loan program on Thursday that will help low- and middle-income households make home improvements they might not otherwise be able to afford.

The Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program, funded with $150,000 from American Rescue Plan funds, aims to improve access to quality housing.

First Selectwoman Danielle Chesebrough originally proposed that the city use $500,000 of its $5.2 million in ARPA funding, but the Finance Committee reduced that request to $150,000 to fund the pilot program.

“Programs like this have the potential not only to address critical safety issues within a home, but also to significantly improve the physical and mental well-being of its occupants. We look forward to opening doors to repair opportunities that will allow residents to remain in their respective homes for many years to come,” said Leanne Theodore, the city’s director of human services, in the program’s announcement.

In exchange for a loan to complete certain renovations, the city holds a mortgage on the property and has an affordable housing deed restriction — meaning the property must remain affordable for the duration of the loan. Housing is defined as affordable if it is “sold or rented at or below a price on which a household can spend no more than 30% of its income”; In Stonington, the median family household income is $79,250.

Those receiving loans can repay them through a payment plan or repay them when the property is sold, refinanced, or transferred.

There are two types of loans:

  • According to a housing market study conducted as part of this study, interest-free deferred loans are available to owner-occupier households earning 80% or less of the median household income for the Norwich-New London Statistical Area, or $78,500 for a family of four, in preparation of the most recent Affordable Housing Plan City.
  • Soft loans are available to investor-owners whose tenants meet income criteria and agree to certain affordable rent requirements. The interest rate is 3%, payable monthly over a period of five years.

Details of the program, including how to apply, will be available on the city’s website., At the end of the week. Anyone interested in learning more about the program can also contact Human Services at (860) 535-5015.

The human services department will also be available to meet with owners and tenants to explain the program.

With one exception, applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. An applicant who requires rehabilitation to address an emergency affecting the health and safety of the household is moved to the top of the list.

“Getting the new program off the ground took 11 months of work from many people. We are fortunate to have such dedicated staff at Stonington who genuinely care about the communities they serve,” said Chesebrough. “We are optimistic about the positive impact of this new program and its potential to last over time.”

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