Up to $80,000 available through ‘Re: New Haven’ program


NEW HAVEN — The Livable City Initiative (LCI) has launched “Re: NEW HAVEN,” a campaign offering up to $80,000 in incentives to new homebuyers.

The goal is to attract “20- and 30-somethings who are looking to buy starter homes in the city, as opposed to Orange, Branford and Woodbridge, and probably work at start-up companies,” says LCI Executive Director Erik Johnson. “We want to bring the middle class back into the city.

And, Johnson adds, to boost the current city homeownership rate of around 32 percent to at least 35 percent.

“Re: NEW HAVEN” debuted in early May with billboards, posters and a website, renewhavenct.com.

There are three types of incentives for new homebuyers.

One is an update of an interest-free loan program, providing $10,000 for down payments or closing costs for first-time homebuyers, which is 100-percent forgivable if the homebuyer occupies the home for five years. City employees, teachers, police officers, firefighters or military members can receive an additional $2,500.

Another inducement is a loan of as much as $30,000 for qualified energy saving home upgrades, forgivable if the buyer lives in the home for ten years.

The third incentive ties in with the city’s New Haven Promise program, which offers scholarships covering full tuition (up to $10,000 per year) at a Connecticut public two- or four-year college or university. Recipients must be New Haven residents who have lived in the city for a decade, attend New Haven public schools or approved city charter schools, complete 40 hours of community service during high school, have a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher at graduation, a 90-percent attendance record and a positive disciplinary record.

To be eligible for the incentives, applicants’ income must not  exceed 120 percent of the area’s family median income.

“We currently have around $3 million in the current pot of incentive [money],” Johnson explains. “If we demonstrate we are creating home ownership, the state and the board (of Aldermen) will give us more.”