23 Franklin Street
In 2018, we purchased a vacant and condemned house that had been a local civil rights icon's home for forty years. In 2021 we finished its rehabilitation and sold it to a low-income home buyer.
We couldn't let this house remain vacant.
When we heard that former New London NAACP President Linwood Bland, Jr.'s house was going to be sold at a tax auction, we tried to get other nonprofits interested in purchasing and rehabilitating it. But it was a big project--too big for them to take on, given the projects they were already working on.
Because the cost of rehabilitating the property was going to be more than the house's market value, we realized that the house was likely to remain vacant until it was demolished unless we stepped in.
So we researched available funding, toured the house with local contractors, took a deep breath and bought it.
With funding from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority's HTCC program, the City of New London, the State of Connecticut, private loans and our own financial reserves, we abated asbestos, replaced the wiring and heating system, replaced the roof, removed the exterior cedar shingles and repaired the original wood clapboard siding, revealed boarded up windows and a boxed in stairway, repaired the foundation, the plaster, the floors and even a four-inch sag.
Now this house that was built around 1845 by Edward Hempstead will continue to grace the Hempstead Historic District, provide affordable homeownership for the next thirty years, and will be one of fifteen sites on the city's Black Heritage Trail.
23 Franklin Street when we bought it. After our work. Finished dining and living rooms.