Finding replacement homes for residents in condemned Church Street South apartments has been tough because of New Haven’s tight housing market.
Fortunately for Yomaly Rivera, her family is one of the first ten to move out of a hotel and into a new home.
“It’s nothing like Church Street South,” Rivera said, showing off her new house.
There aren’t any leaks or mold in the house, which is a much more comfortable space for Rivera and her five children compared to the hotel room where they lived for nearly 3 months.
“We came Saturday and they didn’t want to leave,” Rivera said.
The storage pod with the family’s furniture finally arrived Tuesday, filled with the belongings they packed up when they were forced out of Church Street South.
224 families still live in the 47-year-old New Haven apartment complex, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says cannot be saved with repairs.
“There is concern that the structural issues and the water infiltration will continue to affect the residents and will result in more emergency relocations over the coming winter months,” a HUD spokesperson wrote in a statement.
This Thanksgiving week, Rivera is just thankful she’s among the first to get a fresh start.
“We’re not going to be able to do Thanksgiving, but Christmas, the tree’s going to be up by then, everything’s going to be more situated,” Rivera said.
Property owner Northland Investment Corporation and the Housing Authority of the City of New Haven (HANH) are working with the City of New Haven Livable City Initiative (LCI) and HUD to find new subsidized housing for families still living in the deteriorated Church Street South apartments.
“Our sole focus is the relocation of the Church Street South families into safe, quality, permanent housing, “ said Larry Gottesdiener, Chief Executive Officer of Northland Investment Corporation. “Northland is working tirelessly with LCI, HUD and HANH to achieve this goal and we will remain committed to this process until every family has found a new home that meets their needs.”
While nearly 50 families are still staying in hotels, six more are expected to move into new homes after Dec. 1. About 15 families relocated to hotels have selected new homes, but those units are still in the process of being inspected by HUD inspectors.
Northland has pledged to continue covering hotel room costs and pay the gap in rent not covered by the HUD subsidy for the families moving into new homes.