City’s loan forgiveness could help fill Brown Ave. Homes

NORWICH – The Norwich Housing Authority may have the opportunity needed to sell the sixth and final duplex at the Brown Avenue housing complex, thanks largely to a $45,000 loan forgiveness from the City of Norwich.

In 2001, the once city-owned tax foreclosed property on Brown Avenue, where the Brown Ave. Bowling Alley and a bakery were located, was transfered to the Norwich Housing Authority (NHA). By 2009, NHA – using grant funds from Housing and Urban Development and a $90,000 bridge loan from the city – had begun construction of six duplex homes specifically designed for senior citizens on a limited income.

Since 2009, the original $90,000 loan was repaid by NHA and five of the two-unit homes have been purchased by qualified buyers. After a $50,000 subsidy from the state, buyers saw the original price of each duplex down from nearly $150,000 to less than $100,000.

But with the state subsidy no longer available and a number of setbacks including the 2008 housing crisis that were endured along the way, NHA has dealt with the challenges of selling the sixth unit, making it unable to pay back a second $90,000 bridge loan issued by the city in 2011.

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