Sen. Kissel: Housing Funds “Great News” for Enfield Seniors

June 29, 2012

Article as it appeared in the Journal Inquirer

State funds to pay for Enfield housing complex’s makeover

By Ed Jacovino
Journal Inquirer
Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012 12:30 PM EDT

Enfield’s Mark Twain congregate housing complex is among the first recipients of state aid under a program announced Wednesday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

The state will pump $1.4 million into the housing complex on South Road that provides public housing for the frail and elderly. The money will be spent rehabilitating public spaces, replacing a roof, and bringing new kitchens to the complex’s oldest units, officials said.

Mark Twain was among seven complexes picked by Malloy on Wednesday to receive a total of $10 million. Malloy has promised $420 million over 10 years through the new initiative, called State Housing Rehabilitation and Preservation.

Malloy also announced funding for housing projects in Glastonbury, Groton, Hamden, Middletown, New Britain, and Wethersfield.

“Nearly 60 percent of the state’s public housing supply is more than 30 years old,” Malloy said in a statement. “It is deteriorating, it isn’t safe for families, and in some cases it is uninhabitable.”

Scott Bertrand, executive director of the Enfield Housing Authority, said today that the changes will last 20 years and are focused on the first stage of 42 units, which were developed in what had been an elementary school that the town closed in the 1970s. An additional 40 units were added about 20 years ago, he said.

The money will pay for a new roof on the older half of the building, new carpets in the hallways, retrofitting the original building with sprinklers, and replacing aging windows and some doors. Bertrand also hopes to replace 41 of the original 42 kitchens — one already was completed as a “model.” The original kitchens were built without an oven, Bertrand said.

The Enfield Housing Authority will be kicking in its own money. Bertrand said he expects the project to cost $1.9 million in all. He expects to start construction as soon as possible and said the work shouldn’t displace any residents.

Local lawmakers supported the state aid.

“What great news for our seniors,” Sen. John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, said. “As demographics and income levels change, demands for affordable senior housing such as the Mark Twain facility continue to rise.”

Kissel also said the project will mean more local construction jobs.

Rep. Kathleen M. Tallarita, D-Enfield, said the funding is “great news” for the town. “We must continue to support our frail elderly with safe and independent living that provides them and their family with a high level of comfort and security.”