For nearly six decades, the Access Community Action Agency (ACCESS) has been working with residents with lower incomes in eastern Connecticut. This nonprofit uses a holistic approach to examining the poverty-related challenges that affect families, working with them to develop customized plans to help overcome their challenges. 

ACCESS’s mission is to build equitable opportunities that empower under-resourced individuals, families, and communities to achieve and sustain economic stability, including:

  • Resources that increase food security
  • Safe, decent affordable housing
  • Pathways to jobs and other keys to self-reliance

Working with Our Rural Communities Team

ACCESS is currently receiving USDA 515 technical assistance from the Rural Communities team at Enterprise to support the preservation of 96 affordable homes for seniors and the disabled in Brooklyn, Connecticut. In addition to the technical assistance on the USDA 515 transfer process, ACCESS is utilizing an Enterprise Section 4 award to aid in predevelopment activities related to the acquisition and substantial renovation of Salem Village I and II properties. Expenses covered by this grant include engaging the USDA Rural Development’s capital needs assessments, appraisal reports, and services provided by the architects to develop the scope of work related to the anticipated renovations.

Preserving Salem Village I and II is vital in a community where affordable housing is limited and in great demand. ACCESS currently provides the property management for the projects, and the transfer of ownership and associated rehabilitation will ensure the apartments are not converted to market rate, improve the energy efficiency, and increase the sustainability of this existing housing stock while remaining affordable well into the future.

Enterprise and Our Preservation Efforts

Preservation of affordable housing can prevent displacement, is cheaper than new development, and is already in compliance with local jurisdictional land use. At Enterprise, we provide technical assistance to nonprofits and for-profit developers who are interested in taking ownership and preserving rural multifamily properties with Section 515 USDA loans. Enterprise was also recently awarded funding from USDA to continue to provide these services to nonprofits in an effort to preserve this valuable housing stock. 

In addition to our USDA 515 technical assistance, Enterprise also provides training to nonprofits and public housing authorities through our Rural Rental Preservation Academy. These academies are a series of trainings and conversations that give an overview of the preservation risks facing rural communities and reviews of the Section 515 transfer and application process. It also offers an opportunity to registered cohorts a collaborative space to discuss real time, deal specific support and problem solving solutions with peers. 

Our preservation next toolkit is a critical resource that Enterprise uses in trainings that we share with partners who focus on small and medium multifamily properties. The toolkit is used by organizations to acquire, rehabilitate, and preserve homes. You will find financing models to funding sources and case studies, as well as our sector's collective know-how all organized in one easy-to-navigate hub.  

The Rural Communities team works diligently to provide services to affordable housing developers and owners interested in taking ownership and preserving rural multifamily properties with Section 515 USDA loans and Section 521 rental assistance. You can learn more about this service here.