11/5/2021 0 Comments
Sheldon Oak board member James Jeter is also co-director of Unlock the Vote, a nonprofit organization that works to expand the right to vote to those who are disenfranchised due to involvement with the criminal justice system. Thanks to a change in state law recently passed, Jeter and many others like him, who have served their sentences and are on parole, were able to vote in this past Tuesday's election. Read about it in this article from the CT Mirror.
Sheldon Oak, with our partner Summer of Solutions, is hosting a coat drive. Donate your good-condition used coats to help keep someone warm this winter. Coats can be dropped off at our main office, 54 South Prospect Street, during our regular business hours: Monday - Thursday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Friday 8:30 am - 2:00 pm.
Questions? Contact Sonsharae Owens.
A new food pantry, built and painted bright pink by Sheldon Oak's youth interns, has been installed in front of the Johnson-Stewart Community Center at 127 Martin Street. The pantry will be stocked by the interns three times per week with food and other essential items donated by the community, and all items in the pantry are free to anyone in need.
Come check it out!
Sheldon Oak Central is replacing all the paving at the several buildings that comprise Northeast Hartford Affordable Housing. These pictures show the progress behind our apartment building at 131 Martin Street.
Along with the many other repairs and renovations we have planned, our intention is that this increase in aesthetic appeal will improve the perception of safety in the neighborhood. This project will also improve the sustainability of these developments, so that Sheldon Oak can continue to provide stable, quality affordable housing in the Northeast neighborhood for many years to come.
Sheldon Oak's youth interns are beautifying Northeast Hartford through their hard work in our community garden. While many people might lament the rainy summer we've seen in Hartford, the plants are thriving. Flowers are blooming, vegetables are ripening, and our interns are learning skills and building friendships.
The interns have also built and painted a fully enclosed food pantry, which they plan to install Saturday by Sheldon Oak's Johnson-Stewart Community Center at 127 Martin Street. This pantry will become the newest of several such pantries scattered throughout Hartford, which are stocked with community donations and where the food is available for free to all those who need it.
Sheldon Oak's internship program is a partnership with Summer of Solutions, made possible through a grant from Hartford's Summer UNITY program. Our interns will be gardening, providing mutual aid, and learning through workshops for several months to come.
Repairs and renovations are underway at Sheldon Oak's properties in Northeast Hartford. Our goal for this project is to stabilize these properties to ensure that we can continue to provide safe, affordable homes with attractive and well-maintained units and common spaces. SOC will reposition these properties for successful long-term operation as an affordable housing community serving Hartford’s Northeast neighborhood.
Through this redevelopment, SOC will repair and upgrade the units and structures, including investment in the outdoor spaces to promote safety, security, and aesthetic appeal. Indoor renovations will keep the units up-to-date and improve energy efficiency, which will save money on utilities for both SOC and our residents. Repairs and renovations will include new fencing, landscaping, and paving to address the exterior issues and new windows, doors, flooring, roofing, bathrooms, and kitchens to address the interior issues. In addition, SOC will replace all mechanicals and repaint the basements of all eleven buildings.
This work is made possible with support from LISC, the Connecticut DOH Housing Trust Fund, low-income housing tax credits, and other sources.
In accordance with the executive order put forth today by the City of Hartford, masks are now required for all individuals entering our offices, regardless of vaccination status. Let's all stay safe and healthy.
For more information on COVID and the latest guidelines, visit the city's website at www.hartfordct.gov.
Sheldon Oak Central’s roots are in Sheldon/Charter Oak, and we have engaged in a multi-decade revitalization of this centrally located, historic neighborhood. This revitalization began with the creation of the Sheldon Oak Cooperative in the 1960s and continued with the acquisition and redevelopment of several other properties in the neighborhood, including Wyllys Lisbon and Martin Luther King Apartments. The final stage of this revitalization is one of the major projects in the SOC pipeline for 2021-2023—the redevelopment of MLK Apartments.
MLK Apartments is a 64-unit apartment community located on a seven-acre parcel on Van Block Avenue in Sheldon/Charter Oak, Hartford’s oldest neighborhood. The complex was built in 1968 as affordable housing for families displaced by urban renewal. Its architecture and design reflect the style of public housing developments at that time. Sheldon Oak Central acquired and rehabilitated MLK Apartments in the 1990s. Nearly thirty years later, the buildings are seriously outdated and over time have required increasing investment to keep them to a reasonable standard.
Today, MLK Apartments is part of a largely revitalized neighborhood, including the apartments and homes at Dutch Point, SOC’s Stonington Acres, the historic preservation and re-use of the Colt and Capewell factory buildings, and the opening of the new professional soccer stadium, Dillon Stadium. SOC’s redevelopment of MLK is the final piece of the thirty-year transformation. We are planning to transform it into a 161-unit, mixed-income, walkable and walk-to-work community. The new design will offer spacious, attractive townhouses and apartment homes to renters of a mix of incomes, while ensuring no displacement of current residents.
The transformed community will include 70 one-bedroom units, 75 two-bedroom units, and 16 three-bedroom units. Ninety of the 161 units will be market rate, non-income restricted units. Of the remaining 71 units, 40 will be affordable to residents who earn at or below 30% of the area median income, and the remainder will be affordable to residents at or below 80% of the area median income.
The building heights and exteriors of the re-envisioned MLK Apartments will reflect the scale and design palate of the surrounding buildings and re-integrate the MLK complex into the historic neighborhood. The new MLK Apartments will adhere to current energy efficiency standards, resulting in cost savings to both SOC and our residents. We are excited to be partnering with Vesta Corporation, Crosskey Architects, and Sav Enterprises on this redevelopment.
The design includes one large, L-shaped central building facing Van Block Avenue and Luis Ayala Lane, along with 14 smaller buildings of 6-7 units. The large building will include an elevator to serve the needs of our elderly and disabled residents. Amenities will include a fitness center, community room including a kitchenette and unisex restroom, on-site laundry (with many units including in-unit laundry), and bicycle storage room. The site plan includes a private road, off-street parking, and plenty of greenspace, including a gazebo and walking paths. The large outdoor mural mounted on one of the buildings, which was created in 2005 by neighborhood teenagers working with Hartford artist Chet Kempczynski, will be preserved.
Re-envisioning and redeveloping MLK Apartments is an opportunity to create a vibrant mixed-income development that will attract new residents and contribute to meeting the NRZ’s goal of sufficient density in the neighborhood to attract retail development. MLK will be an asset that will help support SOC’s continued financial stability and growth, while continuing to provide quality affordable housing in the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood.
Architectural renderings of the new MLK Apartments:
Sheldon Oak Central has received a competitive grant for $25,706 from the Hartford Summer UNITY program (Understanding the Needs in Today’s Youth). Made possible through funding from the American Rescue Plan, the goal of Summer UNITY 2021 is to make sure that every young person in Hartford has the opportunity to participate in a fun engagement activity of their choice this summer.
Sheldon Oak will use the grant money to fund a youth internship program, led by our Community Planning & Outreach Coordinator, Sonsharae Owens. Sonsharae has been leading youth internships for years through her nonprofit organization, Summer of Solutions.
Summer of Solutions (SOS) is a Hartford-based grassroots nonprofit community organization. Summer of Solutions’ goal is to advocate for food security, encourage youth leadership, facilitate community workshops on equity and inclusion, and help our own communities regain power over their food production. This is done through youth internships, community organizing, urban farming, and mutual aid campaigns.
Our summer 2021 internship program will engage low-income, at-risk youth in Hartford by getting them involved in our community gardens, as well as by providing them with learning opportunities through our workshops and with opportunities for community engagement. They will be paid a living wage for 10 hours per week of fun, positive, and educational activities.
We will also engage families and the entire community by hosting events where all generations can come together to enjoy the gardens and have a good time. We have already hosted one event to kick off the summer, a cookout on Juneteenth. We plan to host a community day where youth can invite their families to come and garden with them.