Fran Cosgrove served in Korea in the United States Army back in the 1950’s. After he came home from Asia he pursued a successful career in real estate and acquired several rental properties. Eventually he ended up owning a large lot on Wethersfield Avenue in Hartford’s South End. Over the years he had come across a number of veterans, some with combat records, who were homeless or in need of better housing to accommodate their families. He hoped that something positive for veterans could happen on his Hartford site. In 2010 he approached Chrysalis Center with a proposal to buy his large lot which was zoned for 24 units and create housing for veterans experiencing homelessness. Now – thanks to Chrysalis Center, The Connecticut Interagency Council on Supportive Housing, and CSH – that hope has now become a reality.
On September 30, Chrysalis hosted a dedication and Open House at the newly constructed building, to be called Cosgrove Commons. Consisting of 24 one bedroom units, the three story structure sits prominently on Wethersfield Ave. Paul Bailey, the architect of many supportive housing developments in Connecticut, incorporated elements of design found in the surrounding neighborhood. Chrysalis came up with the idea to create a “forest garden” on the rear of the site to provide food for their culinary arts program and Fresh Place, a source for locally raised food for neighborhood residents.
“We are really proud to help Fran realize this dream,” said Sharon Castelli, Chief Executive Officer of Chrysalis, at the ceremony. “The veterans who we house here deserve to live in decent, safe, affordable housing and that’s what we’ve created …” Ms. Castelli led guests, including Anne Foley, Under Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein and Eric Chatman, Executive Director of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, on a tour of the building. She pointed out that the apartments are all fully furnished and each contains a unique work of art. A large community room with a kitchen is on the main floor. The building will have service-enriched housing for veterans as well as for youth aging out of foster care.
Cosgrove Commons was developed through the Connecticut 2011 Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative. The Initiative provided capital financing for construction, operating subsidies to make the rents affordable, and services funding to help ensure that tenants get all the support they need to remain housed. CSH provided acquisition and pre-development financing.