NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — More affordable housing is coming to New Haven.
The state announced Tuesday that it is spending $7 million to bring a new affordable apartment building to Whalley Avenue. The money will also be used to make that section of the street safer for drivers and pedestrians.
“We’re going to see transformation on Whalley Avenue in this corridor,” Mayor Justin Elicker said.
The project is part of a decade-long program from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church to build a six-story apartment building next to it.
“Here in New Haven, not only do [we] invest in community to make our city a better place, we invest in the housing to make sure that city can be enjoyed by as many people from as diverse backgrounds and all income streams as possible,” said Anika Sing Lemar, with Yale Law, who represents the church.
The building site will include commercial space on the ground floor and 55 apartments — with 49 units earmarked as “affordable.”
“I stand before you today to celebrate the culmination of a dream,” New Haven Alder Frank Douglass said. “For 13 years that I’ve been here as an alder, we have persevered, and pursued a vision that has transformed into a tangible reality.”
Leaders said that Whalley Avenue has a history of traffic dangers, with more than 500 crashes in the past five years. Of the $7 million from the state, $1 million will go toward making the road safer by adding a raised intersection and other traffic calming features.
Karen Dubois-Walton, the president of Elm City Communities, said the location is ideal.
“You have the investment of the neighbors in wanting to have it done, and we have a real need in this community and in this particular ward, as well,” she said. “It all made great sense for it to be at this location.”
Elicker said it’s part of a longer-term project for the street.
“Tens of millions will be going along this corridor to increase access to faster public transit, a bus line that is dedicated,” he said. “The lights will actually turn green when the bus comes, so you can hop on there quick wherever you are going to go.”
However, the building will barely make a dent in the waiting list of more than 32,000 families looking for affordable housing in the cities.
“People want to be in New Haven, people want to be in Connecticut,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “More people are moving into the state. More people are moving into the city, bringing our downtown to life, and you can’t do that unless you have places for people to live.”