HOPE Teams Up with Norwalk for Affordable Housing

Mayor Marcel Rodarte cuts the ribbon. Also pictured (left to right) are Vice Mayor Leonard Shyrock, President of HOPE's board Bob Irlen, Executive Director of HOPE Kristin Martin and Norwalk Housing Manager Kristin Maithonis.

Mayor Marcel Rodarte cuts the ribbon. Also pictured (left to right) are Vice Mayor Leonard Shyrock, President of HOPE's board Bob Irlen, Executive Director of HOPE Kristin Martin and Norwalk Housing Manager Kristin Maithonis.

Our newest affordable home was officially opened Thursday, Sept. 25th in Norwalk. Mayor Marcel Rodarte cut the ceremonial ribbon to signify the opening of the home. Mayor Rodarte was even gracious enough to say the home was nicer than his own.

HOPE's affordable housing program is really at the heart of what HOPE does: providing low-cost, safe, high-quality housing for people with developmental disabilities. Tenants pay only thirty percent of their monthly income for rent and are able to live in homes where they may otherwise be paying triple the rent amount. The house in Norwalk includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two separate kitchens. 

 "People with developmental disabilities have very limited options for homes which are not only affordable, but also accommodate their physical needs," Kristin Martin, HOPE Executive Director, said. "It has truly been a gift to be able to partner with the City of Norwalk on these two homes and increase affordable living options for people with developmental disabilities. This is the second home HOPE owns in Norwalk; the other was purchased in 2006 and is the home for three tenants.  HOPE has one more home to develop in Norwalk, which should be completed in January of 2015, and has also submitted an application to the city for one more.  With the three homes HOPE currently now owns in Norwalk, HOPE is able to provide affordable housing to a total of nine tenants."

HRC Client Shauna takes a tour of the wheelchair accessible home.  

HRC Client Shauna takes a tour of the wheelchair accessible home.  

All of this growth is the result of the HOPE Board's commitment to continue to expand its offerings to HOPE's tenants. The Board launched a Capital Campaign in 2013 for the acquisition of properties with a goal of providing capacity for 15 additional people. The addition of these two homes in Norwalk brings HOPE to 40 percent of its goal. 

"This is perfect. This is what we're really looking for for our clients," Pat Del Monico, executive director of the Harbor Regional Center (HRC), said about the Norwalk home. "It's the future we want."  HRC is responsible for helping with the day-to-day well being of developmentally disabled clients. HRC, HOPE and Norwalk teamed up to make this project happen. Kristin Maithonis, Norwalk's housing manager, worked diligently to make sure funds of over $260,000 were approved to go toward the acquisition of the home.

HOPE donors provided funding to furnish the entire home: from bedroom furniture to small appliances. 

HOPE donors provided funding to furnish the entire home: from bedroom furniture to small appliances. 

"It's about making sure the money goes to the right place, and we were sure HOPE was the right organization," Maithonis said. "We hope we can do more affordable housing in the future."

It took the hard work and generosity of many different people and organizations to reach the end of this project in Norwalk. Generosity from organizations like the Del Harbor Foundation, which provided funds for the renovation, and also donations from our donors and friends who provided furnishings for the home.  

With this home completed, and tenants moving in very soon, HOPE will turn its focus to remodeling the next home in Norwalk, which was purchased several months ago.  The plans are just being finalized by the city and construction will start in October with tenants moving in by January, 2015.  HOPE will continue to work with cities and other agencies to expand its affordable housing portfolio to meet the need of the over 150 people on its waiting list.  

If you would like to help HOPE provide housing for people with developmental disabilities, please check out the Capital Campaign section of the website.