Yale's Homebuyer Program Expanded to More Neighborhoods, Benefits Boosted to $25,000 for Buying a Home in New Haven

Building on the success of its Employee Homebuyer Program, Yale University is extending the program for two more years and expanding into two additional New Haven neighborhoods, President Richard C. Levin announced today. In Phase III, Yale will pay $25,000 over 10 years to each employee who buys and lives in a home in one of several neighborhoods surrounding the campus.

The Homebuyer Program has been a successful element of Yale’s New Haven Initiative, with 280 faculty and staff now having purchased homes in the city through the program. Yale anticipates that Phase III will bring the University’s total financial commitment to home buyers to $7 million.

Neighborhoods currently included in the program are Newhallville, Dixwell, Beaver Hills, Dwight, Edgewood, West River and the Hill. Beginning Jan. 1 and extending through Dec. 31, 1999, the program also will include:

* A 20-block extension of the Beaver Hills neighborhood west of Ella Grasso Boulevard to Fitch Street.

* A crescent-shaped area just west of I-91, including the Wooster Square neighborhood and the East Rock neighborhood between Orange and State streets.

“Continuation of the Homebuyer Program for another two years reflects Yale’s commitment to helping our employees take advantage of the quality of life in the city and become even more active contributors to the community. Response from community groups, elected officials and participants to our program has been enthusiastic, which is a key reason we are continuing and expanding the program,” President Levin said.

Yale Vice President and Secretary Linda Koch Lorimer, who oversees the University’s Office of New Haven Affairs, said Yale was pleased with the broad-based employee participation in the first two phases of the Homebuyer Program – 41 percent of buyers have been from Yale’s clerical and technical staff, 26 percent from the faculty, 19 percent from the management and professional staff, and 14 percent from service and maintenance employees.

“We’re especially pleased that so many first-time home buyers are taking advantage of this benefit,” said Vice President Lorimer, who noted that 95 percent of the participants in Phase II used this program to buy their first homes.

Carmen Morena, an employee who purchased a home on Sherman Avenue during Phase II, praised Yale’s program, saying, “Without the Homebuyer Program, I probably could not have purchased my home. I enjoy my house and my neighbors, and I am happy I could continue to live in New Haven.” Since the program began, 59 percent of Yale buyers have been women.

As in the first two phases, each participant will receive $2,000 per year for 10 years, so long as he or she remains a Yale employee and continues to reside in the house. An additional closing bonus – a benefit added during Phase II to help homeowners pay for renovations and closing costs – is being increased from $4,000 to $5,000, bringing the total to $25,000 over 10 years.

The program began in April 1994 with a two-year commitment that was continued after review in 1996. Thus far, participants have purchased 175 single-family homes, 55 condominiums, 46 two- and three-family homes, and four co-ops. Most of the homes ranged in price from $50,000 to $150,000, with 60 percent selling for under $100,000. The value of homes purchased with Yale assistance exceeds $28 million.

While all New Haven homes qualified for the program during Phase I, Yale focused during Phase II on those areas of the city that would benefit the most from an increase in stable home ownership – a crescent of neighborhoods roughly from the Yale campus on the east to Ella Grasso Boulevard on the west.

During Phase II, the Yale Office of New Haven Affairs encouraged first-time home buyers by offering workshops, seminars and housing fairs. Prospective buyers learned how to combine Yale’s incentive program with others sponsored by the city, the state and local banks.

Other features that make Yale’s program unique among programs nationwide are:

* All employees are eligible, so long as they work enough hours a week to qualify for Yale benefits.

* Unlike mortgage assistance programs, which give higher benefits to those with higher mortgages, Yale’s program offers proportionally more benefits at lower purchase prices.

* Yale imposes no caps on the number of participants, their income or the purchase price of homes.

Yale’s Employee Homebuyer Program is part of the New Haven Initiative, announced by President Levin in 1994, which has broadened Yale’s partnerships with the city in the areas of economic development, neighborhood revitalization, education and human development. Other programs sponsored by the initiative include:

* Buy in New Haven, a program designed to channel more of the University’s purchases to city businesses. Yale’s purchases of goods and equipment in New Haven totaled $10.6 million in 1996.

* Career High School’s academic partnership with Yale’s Schools of Medicine and Nursing, which was formalized earlier this year. The partnership will expand when the high school moves to a new facility adjacent to the Yale campus.

* Ninth Square, a $108-million retail and residential project in downtown New Haven in which Yale invested $12.5 million and increased its commitment last summer.

* The new Broadway shopping district, in which Yale has invested $4 million while recruiting several new stores, including a new Barnes & Noble partnership for The Yale Bookstore. Yale worked with the City of New Haven to secure federal and state funding to revitalize the area.

* The Greater Dwight Development Corp., one of many projects Yale sponsors under a $2.4 million HUD grant to benefit the Dwight, Edgewood and West River neighborhoods.

* Shubert Performing Arts Center, which received several major contributions last year to place it on solid financial footing, including $500,000 from Yale.

For more information about the New Haven Initiative, contact the Yale Office of New Haven Affairs, 203/432-8613.

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