The Day



New Haven — A plan to use a $4.85 million federal grant to address issues related to homelessne­ss, including $4 million to build “deeply affordable” housing aimed at people without homes, advanced this week after a number of homeless residents and advocates said the way the city treats people experienci­ng homelessne­ss needs to change.

The grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Developmen­t’s Home Investment Partnershi­ps Program and the American Rescue Plan “can be used to construct affordable housing units” or “non-congregate shelter units” and provide housing rental assistance, said Nicole Lambert, a Boston-based consultant for Answer Advisory.

She spoke Wednesday night to a joint meeting of the Board of Alders’ Community Developmen­t and Health and Human Services committees, which ultimately gave a positive recommenda­tion to the full Board of Alders, which will consider it in the weeks to come.

The number one barrier to people obtaining housing in New Haven is “the lack of deeply affordable housing,” Lambert said. Language and mental health barriers also come into play, as do systematic housing issues “such as the high rent that everyone is facing now” and issues and gaps with the state’s 211 system, she said.

The goal is “to provide money to increase the supply of housing options for the most vulnerable,” Lambert said, and the $4 million would be used to construct new “deeply affordable” housing.

Briam Timko, a member of the Unhoused Activists Community Team, or U-ACT, which includes unhoused people and their supporters, said that at the top of the organizati­on’s list of demands are that the city stop evicting people from public lands and not remove their belongings.

“There are basic human rights that people are owed,” said U-Act member Tyrell Jackson, who grew up in West Haven and lives in an encampment along the West River off Ella T. Grass Boulevard.

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