New Britain affordable apartment project will break ground soon

The Berkowitz II project will bring more than two dozen affordable apartments to Main Street in New Britain as the city sees a boom in development.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — The city of New Britain is partnering with the Connecticut Department of Housing and the Chrysalis Center to bring an affordable housing option near downtown. 

The Berkowitz II project will bring 28 units of affordable two-bedroom apartments, with half a dozen for people or families who may be in a transitional period of their life. While the apartments are not exclusive to those individuals, the chrysalis center accepts referrals by various non-profits and state agencies to help fill those apartments. 

One of the non-profits helps women and children fleeing domestic violence situations. 

“To be able to partner with an organization that’s going to provide opportunities, especially for women coming out of domestic violence situations is going to do a lot not just for those individual families and those women for their own healing, but for the neighborhood too,” said New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart. 

It’s not just survivors of domestic violence who can benefit from supportive housing, which offers a reduced rent and access to public services. 

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Jill Fletcher, the director of development and communication for the Chrysalis Center, says there are other situations that may also qualify people for the supportive units like people who maybe experiencing homelessness among other reasons. Those people would be referred to the Berkowitz II through various social support programs or non profits. 

“You need, you know, a safe place to live, where that’s secure and all that but you also need some social services to help you get back on your feet and reestablished,” said Fletcher.

Addressing the housing crisis and providing affordable housing has been a top priority for Stewart’s administration. The news of this development project comes as the city of New Britain is seeing a surge in new development. 

“We have about $225 million of private development happening in town right now as we speak,” said Stewart. 

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The Berkowitz II will stand feet away from the original building and will mirror a similar design. 

Aside from the six units with supportive housing, the remaining units will offer reduced rents with 11 having a total income qualification of $48,750 a year and the other remaining units with a total income limit of $58,500. 

Developers say the new building is in a prime location a short distance from public transportation to better connect future residents with their community. 

“We want to tie all parts of town together and inhabit in a walkable area, correct? So, it’s really nice that this having this be brought to this to the quality of the level of the Berkowitz one will just complement the neighborhoods so much and it really helps with interconnectivity, and all the things that make for a vibrant community,” said Fletcher. 

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Stewart hopes more supportive housing options will be made available across the city in the future, and while she has received some pushback, she says offering a variety of housing is the key to keep the city thriving. 

“I have to look at who our community is and make sure that the housing that we’re building is reflective of who is a part of our community and who we want to provide for. So this development, specifically the Berkowitz building, is an amazing partnership between the Chrysalis Corporation, between the Department of Housing, to provide affordable housing, only 28 units, but we have more developments where there’s hundreds of affordable units happening in other areas of town. So it’s all a balance and it’s something we’re really proud of,” said Stewart. 

While applications for the Berkowitz II are not yet available, officials expect to have everything completed by the fall of next year. 

Jake Garcia is a multimedia journalist for FOX61 News. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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