January 18, 2007
MAYOR PEREZ JOINS HUD IN ANNOUNCING FUNDING FOR HARTFORD YOUTHBUILD PROGRAM
Program has helped hundreds of Hartford area at-risk youth get a new start
Young people who lack basic education face a lifetime of underemployment and can be at higher risk of
homelessness. Today, Co-Opportunity Inc., a Hartford social service agency that helps low-income people become self-sufficient, got a boost with the announcement of a grant that will bring skills, diplomas and new affordable housing to the city.
The $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used to continue the successful YouthBuild program. The funding was announced by HUD Regional Director Taylor Caswell and Hartford Mayor Eddie Pérez.
The grant is part of $45.5 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 more than 3,000 young adults
in a nationwide network of more than 200 programs that challenge unemployed and undereducated residents ages
16-24 to work toward their GED while learning construction skills by building or renovating affordable housing for
low-income and homeless individuals.
"The YouthBuild program serves a population that needs a bridge between youth and adulthood," said Caswell.
"Co-Opportunity has an excellent track record using this funding to help these teenagers graduate high school and start them on a new career path. At the same time we are producing more affordable homes for low-income families, which creates another advantage for the community."
With this funding, Co-Opportunity, Inc. will partner with the City of Hartford, Habitat for Humanity, Hartford Public Schools Alternative and Adult Education Program, and Connecticut Carpenter's Apprenticeship Program, to provide training to 64 teenagers and young adults, while constructing four new houses.
Since 1997, Co-Opportunity, Inc., has received $6.3 million in HUD YouthBuild funding. Since its inception, 195
people have graduated from the program, 40 new housing units have been constructed and 62 units have been renovated.
The announcement was held at Swift Village located in Hartford's Northeast neighborhood. Working closely with Habitat for Humanity, the YouthBuild participants will assist with the new construction of this 34-unit development that will consist of single family and duplex homes.
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.