Landlord Entrepreneurship and Affordability Program(LEAP) Announced to Revitalize Connecticut Urban Centers

STAMFORD, CT — The Housing Development Fund (HDF) announced its plan to develop a Landlord Entrepreneurship and Affordability Program (LEAP) aimed at identifying a new class of “Landlord Entrepreneurs” who will play a significant role in revitalizing Connecticut’s urban cores. LEAP will create a sustainable and replicable model for landlords to purchase, rehabilitate, and manage 2-4 family properties through a combination of training and financing, thereby increasing the supply of quality affordable housing in the area and stabilizing local neighborhoods with high rates of foreclosure.

The development of this new program is made possible by a grant through the Innovations in Neighborhood Stabilization and Foreclosure Prevention Initiative of the Housing Partnership Network. The initiative, funded through a grant from the Citi Foundation, was created to help leading community-based organizations like HDF develop innovative solutions for neighborhood stabilization challenges in key metropolitan areas. Grant awards were made based on the potential for transformative community impact, ability to inform policy discussions around neighborhood stabilization, and the level to which they break new ground in developing solutions that can be replicated or scaled to have widespread impact in communities across the country.

Addressing the increasing disinvestment in the troubled housing supply of Connecticut’s cities, LEAP will encourage and support new owner-occupants who will have a vested interest in neighborhood stabilization. HDF will target individuals with income levels at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI), offering training and support in collaboration with NHS of New Haven. The rental units in the properties they purchase and rehabilitate must remain affordable to income-eligible families, responding to the region’s demand for more affordable housing.

Through the program, local residents will acquire small multi-family properties, secure subsidy and financing necessary for rehabilitation and energy conservation, and receive support and training on being a good landlord. Courses provided by our partner, NHS of New Haven, will include tenant selection, Fair Housing laws, record keeping, and the eviction process. Education in energy efficiency, conservation, and home repair (basic plumbing, carpentry, electrical, insulation, etc.) will result in lower operating costs for the homeowners.

With LEAP in place, HDF will make major inroads toward the development of more affordable rental opportunities for households including teachers, nurses, and firefighters to seize the opportunity to live in and contribute to the revitalization of Connecticut’s urban cores. Owning a multi-family property is similar to running a small business, and many of the buyers will become first-time landlords at the same time as they become first-time homeowners. LEAP will provide these individuals with the support and training they need to be successful for the long term, while making a greater impact on the supply of affordable, quality rental housing in southwestern Connecticut.

About the Housing Development Fund– HDF is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and HUD-Approved Counseling and Lending Agency established 1989 as a nonprofit organization to finance the development of affordable housing. Since its inception, HDF has been creating affordable housing solutions for low- to moderate-income households in the high cost markets of southwestern Connecticut. In that time, it has grown to a loan fund with $44.7 million in assets that encompasses lending programs for pre-development, acquisition, rehabilitation, new construction, and permanent financing. Other projects have included affordable family housing, senior housing, special needs housing and supportive housing. In addition to its financing resources and functions, HDF provides homebuyers’ education and one-on-one counseling to help families qualify for special mortgage financing programs. HDF also provides foreclosure prevention services through monthly clinics and individual counseling.