Tag Archive | "Hartford Foundation for Public Giving"

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Hartford Land Bank Receives $175K Grant to Address Blight

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Blighted properties in Hartford are scheduled to get some much needed attention.

Thanks to a $175,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The grant will help the Hartford Land Bank to assess about 400 vacant and abandoned properties in the city.

“The Hartford Foundation is proud to support this collaborative community effort that will help to revitalize the City of Hartford to improve the quality of life for residents, attract new businesses and create jobs,” said Hartford Foundation President Jay Williams.

The Land Bank is a new arm of city hall that has the power to buy, manage and dispose of blighted properties in an effort to revitalize the city. It was created in 2017 with the help of a $5 million state grant.  The Land Bank is also a resource to assist vulnerable property owners, including the elderly, by providing resources they need to maintain their properties.

Laura Settlemyer is the enforcement director for the Blight Remediation Team that works with the Land Bank. The remediation team already consists of inspectors and enforcement officers. However, the city plans to hire national experts to survey properties in the city.  They will collaborate with the city’s Office of Community Engagement, Hartford GIS Services and the Hartford Youth Service Corps.

At a town hall meeting in October 2018, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the city has been looking at how it can be more effective in dealing with blight in the city.

Blight is a public health issue. According to a 2017 study by the Urban Institute, families living near vacant homes, abandoned buildings and vacant lots saw lower literacy scores for pre-k children and higher rates of chronic illness, stunted brain and physical development.

Other social impact include decreased property values and increased crime.

“Blighted properties have plagued our neighborhoods for decades, and that’s why we made it a priority from the very beginning to combat blight in an aggressive and systematic way,” Bronin said. “The Land Bank will help us accelerate that work and this generous funding will give us and all of our partners a more detailed roadmap for the entire city.”

Since 2017, 137 of blighted properties have been fixed up, officials said. The plan, they said, is to “use every tool we can.”

Bronin said the team is willing to work with property owners.

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Hartford to Open Reentry Welcome Center

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Beginning on Monday, ex-offenders will have a welcoming center to guide them as they transition back into the community.

“They’ve served their time and it’s time we help them achieve a better future,” said City Councilman James Sanchez.

On Wednesday, city officials and representatives of several community agencies formally unveiled the Re-entry Welcome Center. It is located on the ground floor of city hall off Prospect Street. The center will be opened Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

City officials billed the center as a “one-stop-shop” where those returning from prison can get connected to services and supports as they work to successfully reintegrate into their communities. They will also get complimentary backpacks with toiletries, towels and other basic items after the Department of Corrections drop them off at the center.

The Center will be run by Community Partners in Action with support from other community-based organizations. The center was funded by a $450,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

“This Re-entry Welcome Center is about making our city safer and our community stronger,” said Mayor Luke Bronin. “And it’s about helping those who are serious about making the most of a second chance. Helping returning citizens rebuild their lives in our community doesn’t just help those individuals. -it helps their families, their neighborhoods and our city as a whole.”

In 2016, there were 1,021 people released without a probation officer in the Hartford region, according to state officials.

Beginning on Sept. 17, the welcome center will be staffed with three case workers and a program coordinator to help ex-offenders with resources such as food, shelter, and job training.  Organizers are hoping to direct ex-offenders within 90 days of their release from prison. The center will also serve as a data collection hub and track ex-offenders and their success with the program.

“I’m thrilled that as a city we are opening our doors and working directly with people who deserve a second chance,” said City Council President Glendowlyn Thames. “This has been a priority for Mayor Bronin and many of my council colleagues since we took office.”

Hartford’s Reentry Welcome Center is the first of its kind in the region.

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Hartford Receives Grant for Reentry Program

HARTFORD — Hartford will soon have a welcome center for people released from prison.

Thanks to a grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, which  announced a three-year, $450,000 grant to Community Partners in Action.  Community Partners is an agency that will work with the city and other partners to establish a one-stop Reentry Welcome Center for returning residents in Hartford, officials said.

According to reports, the majority of people released from prison or jail in Connecticut return to the state’s five urban areas, including Hartford.  In 2016, more than 2,000 individuals were released from a correctional facility, halfway house or parole supervision, with over half returning to Hartford, according to State Department of Correction data.  The absence of adequate stabilizing resources in Hartford for these returning citizens immediately upon release jeopardizes their successful reintegration, officials said.

“We’ve been working in close partnership with Community Partners in Action, and establishing a one-stop Reentry Welcome Center has been our goal from day one,” said Mayor Bronin.  “The Reentry Welcome Center will facilitate access to basic necessities like clothing and housing, as well as substance abuse treatment, educational programming, and job training.  That’s not just about offering individuals a second chance – it’s about making our community safer and stronger.”

Before his election, Bronin formed a reentry working group with faith, community, and non-profit leaders, academics, and corrections professionals.  They came up with a set of recommendations to integrate returning citizens into their neighborhoods related to data collection, resource identification, job training and other support, as well as partnership opportunities.  The Reentry Welcome Center will be able to carry out many of those recommendations, officials said.

The Reentry Welcome Center will serve approximately 150 returning citizens each year for three years.  Returning citizens will be able to access support and services offered by a variety of community organizations from basic needs like food and clothing to services like substance abuse treatment and job training as well as educational opportunities

“CPA’s Board of Directors and staff are pleased that our agency was able to play such an important role in having the Hartford Reentry Welcome Center realized,” said Maureen Price-Boreland, Executive Director of Community Partners in Action.


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