Clinics Aid in Affordable Housing Redevelopment
On March 25, 2021, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) announced that it will award federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to Parkside Village I (Parkside) in Branford, Connecticut. The award paves the way for Parkside’s redevelopment, which will provide Branford with new and rejuvenated affordable housing. In addition to providing upgraded housing for current residents, the redeveloped Parkside will also welcome new families.
After years of planning and advocacy by the Branford Housing Authority (BHA) and Beacon Communities LLC (Beacon), this critical financial support from state officials will make redevelopment possible. The BHA is represented by Yale Law School’s Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development (CED) and Housing Clinic.
“This project has perfectly embodied the missions of both the Housing and Community and Economic Development clinics,” said Patrick Holland ’22, a member of the Housing Clinic. “CED seeks to provide support to local organizations, promoting economic opportunity and mobility while the Housing Clinic strives to preserve and expand fair and equitable access to housing across the region.”
“This is an important step forward for Branford,” said Tacie Lowe, chair of the BHA. “The new Parkside will rehouse existing residents, who are guaranteed a unit in the new building, and help us support diverse members of our community for decades to come by providing them with modern, accessible housing.”
With a green light from CHFA, Beacon and the BHA are now ready to move on to the next stage of the redevelopment process. “We look forward to working with Branford to make the new Parkside a point of pride for the community,” said Dara Kovel, chief executive officer of Beacon. “We are honored to play a role in building housing that will help foster diversity and inclusion. The residents of Parkside have been waiting a long time for this and they deserve this outcome.”
The decision was years in the making. Since CED began collaborating with Beacon and the BHA in 2017, several generations of students have worked to expand access to high quality affordable housing in Connecticut.
“From securing funding, to defending the project in land use litigation, our team of students has devoted countless hours to making today’s success a reality,” said Hannah Abelow ’21, a member of CED.
“It has been an honor to work with the devoted volunteer members of the Branford Housing Authority,” said Koloa Wolfgramm ’22, a member of CED. “Parkside’s redevelopment is key to providing families access to high quality affordable housing.”
Parkside will involve the new construction of a 67-unit apartment building and associated building and site amenities. Sixty apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of Area Median Income. Current residents of Parkside — all of whom are either seniors and/or living with a disability — will be eligible to move into the new building. Construction should start toward the end of 2021 and should take 18 months to complete.
Hannah Abelow ’21, Daniel Backman ’23, Rubin Danberg Biggs ’23, Anna Egas ’22, Patrick Holland ’22, and Koloa Wolfgramm ’22 are the current Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization students who have worked with the BHA. Clinical Professor of Law Anika Singh Lemar and Nathan Baker Clinical Professor of Law J. L. Pottenger, Jr. ’75 supervise CED and the Housing Clinic, respectively.
The Housing Clinic at Yale Law School fights foreclosures, defends evictions, and brings fair housing civil rights cases combatting economic and racial segregation in Connecticut. The Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development provides transactional legal services to clients seeking to promote economic opportunity and mobility. Both clinics are part of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School.