Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Party 2013

Holiday Happenings

By NHS Staff. Photos by Ray Taylor

On Monday NHS hosted its 2013 Holiday Party at Madden's Gastropub. We were happy to share the evening with all the amazing people in our NHS family. We hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season, and we look forward to continue working together to revitalize New Haven's neighborhoods in 2014! 

Photos by Ray Taylor

Friday, November 15, 2013

Launch - Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge

Collective Climate Change

Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge Launch Party

By NHS Staff.

On Wednesday, November 13, NHS joined with five other organizations to celebrate the launch of the Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge.

The climate challenge emphasizes green solutions and lifestyle choices that will allow individuals to reduce their impact on the environment. By reducing greenhouse gases, we believe that we can enhance the well-being of ourselves and our neighborhoods.

 The launch of this challenge, which involves participants taking a pledge to take some green action steps, was held at Artspace. The downtown gallery was featuring a new exhibit focused on the effects of climate change.

The event was well-attended and led to quite a few people taking the pledge.

Joel Tolman emceed the event.
Climate change can be “daunting,” as Joel Tolman of Common Ground stated. However, the climate challenge is all about the collective impact of individuals. Small choices can make a big difference in the long term.

Kathy Fay, manager of NHS' Home Improvement and Energy Conservation Lab, describes the importance and impact of switching to renewable energy sources.
As part of this coalition, NHS is finding new ways to make itself a greener organization. Other organizations participating in the challenge are: the New Haven Bioregional Group, Common Ground, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Yale University’s Office of Sustainability, and the New Haven/Leon Sister City Project.

Some members of the NHS staff!
If you're interested in learning ways to create a healthier lifestyle and community, consider joining New Haven residents and resident organizations who are taking the pledge!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

West River Walk #3: Treading Water

Treading Water

West River Walk #3

By NHS Staff. Photos by J.R. Logan.

There have been a variety of events to raise awareness about the assets of the West River. These events have ranged from the West River Water Festival in July to a regular series of walks along the banks of the West River. The third of these West River Walks was held this past Saturday, November 2.

Led by Ranger Harry Coyle, the walk explored the section of the West River between Whalley Avenue and Valley Street in New Haven. Participants learned about the ecology of the river, its present health, and plans for its future.

 Historian Colin M. Caplan discussed the “human history” of the river and the various ways that people have interacted with – and utilized – the river over time.

Bill Graustein was on hand to provide information about the geology of West Rock.

Mary Mushinsky of the Mill River Watershed Association and J.R. Logan of the New Haven Land Trust also explained the dam removal project that will take place at Pond Lily. The project will provide numerous benefits to the fish populations that inhabit the area.

The West River Walk was a huge success, with more than 40 people in attendance! We are excited to see more walks occur so that more people can learn about the benefits and beauty of the West River!

Monday, November 4, 2013

2013 Annual Meeting

2013 Annual Meeting

Celebrating Our 34th Year!

By NHS Staff. Photos by Ray Taylor.

On Tuesday, October 29, NHS celebrated its 34th anniversary with its 2013 Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting was a fun and joyous way to connect with our partners and stakeholders to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year.

Back by popular demand, Big Green Truck Pizza catered the event for a second year in a row, providing our guests with a constant stream of delicious and diverse pizzas.

 Katalina’s Bakery provided a tasty array of seasonal cupcakes, including a rave-worthy apple cider cupcake with maple frosting.

This year we turned the campus into a pop-up art gallery to feature two artists who live in our targeted neighborhoods. Krikko Obbott staged some of his breathtaking pencil drawings, which depict scenes such as Manhattan and downtown New Haven in meticulous detail.

Newhallville resident artist Winfred Rembert also displayed his art. Winfred hand-tools and paints leather canvasses, creating beautiful images of people and life, including scenes from the rural South of his childhood. Winfred demonstrated his craft for an attentive audience during the event.

During the speaking component of the event, keynote speaker John DeStefano, Jr. reflected on his relationship with NHS over the past 20 years of his service as Mayor. DeStefano reiterated our commitment to working with people as well as with houses. At the end of his speech, Executive Director Jim Paley presented DeStefano with a plaque honoring him for his work as New Haven’s mayor – in addition to a box of DeStefano’s favorite cookies, baked just for him by our bookkeeper, Becky.

NHS also honored New Haven Independent editor Paul Bass with an award for the Independent’s commitment to writing relevant content about the dynamics and issues happening in our targeted neighborhoods.

Two NHS homeowners also spoke at the event. Both homeowners testified to the value of our work in preparing families for homeownership and in helping them protect that homeownership status.

The homeowners spoke to a standing-room-only crowd!
NHS also tipped its hat to Senior Housing Specialist, Tom Citerella, who is celebrating 15 years of working at NHS. Three new members were sworn in to our board of directors, and several others were reelected.

Housing Specialists Tom Citerella and Clara Quinones
Thank you to all of the sponsors, artists, supporters, and speakers who made our event such a success! Here’s to another 34 years of homeownership and communities!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Growing Community: Greenhouse Update

Growing Community

Making progress in the Ivy Street Community Garden Greenhouse Project

By Kimberly Langin, Community Engagement VISTA Member

This past week has been very eventful for the Ivy Street Community Garden Greenhouse Project! The Groundbreaking Ceremony took place on Wednesday, October 16th and was well attended by city officials, residents, community partners, and the Ivy Street Community Garden gardeners. Starting off the day’s event was Erik Johnson of the Livable City Initiative (LCI). Erik then introduced Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., who poignantly noted that “what’s growing here is not only vegetables; it’s community.”

The mayor was followed by Delphine Clyburn, Alderwoman for Ward 20, Jim Paley, Executive Director of NHS, Stephen Cremin-Endes, Community Building Specialist at NHS, Velma George, LCI Neighborhood Specialist for Dixwell, Newhallville, & East Rock and Greenhouse Committee Chair, Mrs. Ida Felder, community gardener and next door neighbor to the garden, and Yolanda Jones-Generette, Principal of Lincoln Bassett school, which is across from the Ivy Street Community Garden. Everyone expressed their excitement to see this innovative project underway. Attendance at the event was incredible – we packed an impressive amount of people around those garden plots!

 Mrs. Jones-Generette concluded the ceremony by introducing the Lincoln Bassett School Choir, who shared their talents with us by singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “God Bless America,” with the crowd joining in.

The event was a great success and we have experienced quite a bit of new interest in the project!

The United Way of Greater New Haven was kind enough to pair Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven with the Walsh Construction Company—PCL Joint Venture II for their "Days of Caring" event.

The company has donated their time, skills, materials, and resources to the greenhouse project. Following the Groundbreaking Ceremony, Walsh Construction Company—PCL Joint Venture II formed and poured the footing of the greenhouse. Waiting a day for it to cure, the group removed the footing forms on Friday.

The volunteers spent the next day laying the 30x15 foot, 8 inch thick foundation for the installation of the greenhouse, formed the greenhouse walls, and poured the concrete for the walls.

This Monday, the 21st, the group removed the wall forms and did some final clean up before backfilling will occur next week by Lior Excavating, LLC, who also did the initial excavation of the site prior to the pouring of the foundation.
A great big thank you to Sean Bush, project manager for the Walsh Construction Company—PCL Joint Venture II, his crew, and Jan McCray-Price of the United Way of Greater New Haven for all of their energy, hard work, and dedication, without which this project would not have been possible!

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