February 9, 2006
HUD ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR HARTFORD YOUTHBUILD PROGRAM
Program has helped hundreds of Hartford area at-risk youth get a new start
Today, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Taylor Caswell joined Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez to present a $700,000 grant to Co-Opportunity, Inc. to fund a YouthBuild program in Hartford.
The grant is part of $58 million in funding nationwide to help thousands of low-income young people who never finished high school return to school to earn their diplomas, while training them for a future in the construction
trades. YouthBuild grants provide funding to offer job training and leadership skills to an estimated 4,300 young
people in a nationwide network of more than 200 programs that challenge unemployed and undereducated people
ages 16-24 to work toward their GED while learning construction skills by building or renovating affordable housing
for low-income and homeless individuals.
With this funding, Co-Opportunity, Inc. will partner with the City of Hartford and Habitat for Humanity to provide training to 64 youth, while constructing four new houses.
"The YouthBuild program serves a population that needs a bridge between youth and adulthood," said Caswell.
"It is a win-win since the participants learn high-demand skills while producing affordable homes in their own communities."
Since 1997, Co-Opportunity, Inc., has received nearly $5 million in HUD YouthBuild funding and has helped 302
at-risk youth earn their high school degrees while building 34 new housing units and rehabilitating 57 housing units.
The announcement was held at a house currently under construction in partnership with Habitat for Humanity using funding from a $700,000 YouthBuild grant awarded to Co-Opportunity, Inc. in 2003. The property was acquired by Habitat for Humanity with $11,889 in HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds awarded by the City
of Hartford. The house is expected to be finished in April of this year, and will be sold to a qualified low-income homebuyer.
Co-Opportunity was founded in 1987 to empower low-income people to become self-sufficient community stakeholders. Services include housing counseling, homebuyer education and job-readiness training for at-risk, disengaged youth.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.