Naugatuck Valley Project

 

Issue Campaigns - Brookside Housing Cooperatives

BROOKSIDE HOUSING COOPERATIVES

The Naugatuck Valley Housing Development Corporation (NVHDC) is a community land trust and a non-profit housing development corporation which develops limited equity cooperative housing. NVHDC combines limited equity cooperative ownership of housing with a 99-year ground lease to assure that the units it produces will remain owner-occupied and affordable for low and moderate-income families.

NVHDC was incorporated in 1988 by the Naugatuck Valley Project (NVP), a regional community organization of churches, labor and housing organizations in response to a dramatic loss of affordable housing due to skyrocketing land speculation in the Valley and, more particularly, to a condominium conversion at the Shamrock Ridge apartments in Waterbury. 

After an unsuccessful effort to purchase 60 of the Shamrock Ridge apartments for conversion into a cooperative, NVHDC and the Shamrock Ridge tenants joined with the Fr. Nadolny Good News Fund to secure $8.3 million in financing from the Connecticut Department of Housing to develop the Brookside Cooperatives.

Brookside cooperatives were created in 1991 to address the issue of permanently affordable housing for low to moderate income individuals and families. Each member owns a limited equity share in the cooperative. This share can be used towards a down payment on a home when the member moves out of the co-op.

The Brookside Cooperatives consist of six individually self managed, limited 
equity cooperatives that are now 20 years old. There are 102 units of permanently affordable housing for low and moderate-income families in the Naugatuck Valley, making them the largest of all housing cooperatives in the State of Connecticut.

The Brookside Cooperatives are not just an apartment to rent, but also a step toward home ownership. Each household is responsible for contributing time and talent to the cooperative as a whole. There are six individual cooperatives within Brookside, which is located on Fulkerson Drive in Waterbury. Eligibility for ownership is based on income and availability. Section 8 vouchers are not accepted, but those with disability and earned income may apply. Selection is done based on completed applications by a selection committee of Brookside residents as units become available. Brookside does not discriminate on the basis of gender, creed or ethnicity. 

Members of Brookside Cooperatives celebrated their 20th Anniversary this September. The celebration was attended by many city of Waterbury officials, as well as state officials. A year ago Brookside cooperative members began looking at much needed capital repairs and improvements that were needed after 20 years, including roof replacement which is a major expense for 17 buildings. Through this process it was discovered that in most cases the reserve (savings) accounts the cooperatives had would not be sufficient to be able to replace the roofs. Cooperative members decided to pursue a grant process in order to make needed repairs to the property. This led to a series of research meetings. The first meeting held in August 2011 was with Rep. Jeff Berger, along with Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), and Department of Economic Development (DECD). Members of Naugatuck Valley Project joined with Brookside Cooperative members for this meeting. From this meeting important grant sources were identified. The next meeting was with Waterbury Development Corporation, arranged by Rep. Jeff Berger. The process and steps became clearer and Brookside members moved into action. The first step was hiring a housing consultant, Brookside members conducted interviews and selected housing consultant Brad Schide. The next step, with assistance of the consultant, was to conduct interviews for an architectural firm to conduct a Capital Needs Assessment (CNA). Brookside members selected Joe Migani of ORiordan Migani Architects. The Capital Needs Assessment has been completed, and application has been made to DECD for funding. The cooperatives are looking to remaining affordable, in good condition, and energy efficient for the next 20 years.