Habitat Favor Returned
by Neena Satija | Oct 12, 2011 8:41 am
Frederick Smith and his wife, Venita, will be among the many volunteers to help build two new houses on Vernon Street in the Hill neighborhood. After procuring their own house in Newhallville through Habitat for Humanity, it’s the least they feel they can do.
The couple (pictured) attended a ceremony to inaugurate the two houses, at 34 and 38 Vernon on Tuesday afternoon. Yale-New Haven Hospital sponsored both Habitat houses, projects that enlist families in helping to build their own new homes along with community volunteers in order to keep the cost down.
“Let’s say I learned every inch of the house except plumbing and electricity, which are done by professionals,” Frederick Smith said of the work he did on his own house. “We’ll definitely come help out over here.”
Families selected to live in Habitat houses must contribute 400 building hours toward Habitat houses, including at least 200 for their own home.
Yale-New Haven staff will also help out with the building. More than 90 staff members worked on two hospital-sponsored houses on Sylvan Avenue last year. The two homes on Vernon Street will be the fourth and fifth hospital-sponsored Habitat homes.
“It’s a remarkable commitment that the hospital makes to the community,” said Michael Bennick (pictured), an attending physician at the hospital. It was Bennick and his colleague Dr. Sue LaGarde who suggested a collaboration with Habitat a few years ago. LaGarde was already volunteering on a Habitat house in Hamden at the time.
“I thought, ‘Why don’t we do that in New Haven?’” said Bennick.
Both the Vernon Street houses will sell for around $95,000, announced Bill Casey (pictured), executive director of Habitat for Humanity for Greater New Haven. The families Habitat selects to live there can pay off their mortgage at 0 percent interest for 25 years, which comes to a monthly payment of about $300.
“Look around. This is a great neighborhood, and it’s our neighborhood,” said Yale-New Haven Chief Operating Officer Richard D’Aquila (pictured). He said he hopes more hospital-sponsored homes will be built on Vernon Street in the future, where they can actually be seen from the hospital. The hospital aims to sponsor two Habitat homes per year.
The two houses are the 83rd and 84th built by Habitat for Humanity for Greater New Haven, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.
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posted by: streever on October 12, 2011 8:56am
How awesome is that.
One of the biggest impacts YNHH could have on the region, however, is by supporting the efforts of citizens and residents to see the Route 34 project built as a safe street which connects neighborhoods, instead of as a private driveway.
According to top city officials, the current plan is largely drawn from a need to move YNHH employees from their homes in the suburbs to YNHH and then back out promptly.
New Haven residents who work at the hospital are frustrated because they have no safe route to work, but the city continues to push onward.
Perhaps YNHH could join the Route 34 Coalition and request that the city build a better, safer road for everyone?
Congratulations to the hospital and especially the employees for this housing as well as Bill Casey and his Team at Habitat. I don’t understand Streevers comment about the hospital and the reconfigured RT34. No city official has ever stated that the primary purpose of the current plan is designed to move YNHH employees from home in the suburbs to their jobs seamlessly. The plan will take hundreds of hospital employees off of MLK Drive and South Frontage during peak hour traffic and allow direct access to the Air Rights Garage and the same for the proposed 100 College Street project. These employees who drive(who by the way are both suburban and city residents) currently enter the Air Rights Garage from the frontage roads. The new plan removes them from these roadways - a critical reduction of cars that enables narrower lanes, bike paths and safer pedestrian intersections on the city streets. Another kudos for YNHH and their employees is the success they have had in reducing the number of cars that employees drive to the hospital using a variety of Transportation Demand Management strategies. They do this because it is less expensive than building new garages but also because it is the right thing to do.
Why else would we widen a road by multiple lanes to accommodate rush hour traffic which begins with the highway and ends at YNHH?
You must not have spoken to the city employees I spoke to. I’d be happy to discuss this with you in person tomorrow, at 5, at City Hall.