Madison receives grant to improve housing for the elderly

The Town of Madison was awarded a Community Development Block Grant to improve the facilities at Concord Meadows, a complex that serves elderly and disabled individuals. Pictured here are First Selectman Thomas Banisch, fourth from left, and Town Services Coordinator and Risk Manager Lauren Rhines, second from left, on Oct. 29 2019.

MADISON — For the second year in a row, the state Department of Housing has awarded Madison a grant to help improve the facilities at Concord Meadows, which houses elderly and disabled residents.

That means residents can look forward to more properly-insulated windows and handicap-accessible bathrooms, First Selectman Thomas Banisch said.

“The people who live there seem to be really happy with what’s going on,” Banisch said.

The town held a project meet and greet on Oct. 29, during which residents were able to ask questions about the grant, give feedback on the work that had already been completed and suggest future upgrades, said Lauren Rhines, town services coordinator and risk manager.

Madison has received $1.5 million for the Concord Meadows project this year, Rhines said, adding that the town received $800,000 last year.

Rhines has completed much of the work required to obtain the grant.

The additional upgrades represent a continuation of the work that was started with last year’s funding, Rhines said.

“Without this grant, there really is no way we would have been able to get this work done there,” Rhines said, noting that Concord Meadows does not have a lot of money and does not want to raise rent for residents.

Most of the complex’s clients are elderly or disabled and receive a fixed income, Rhines said.

Representatives from Concord Meadows approached town officials several years ago, seeking municipal sponsorship for the grant, Banisch said.

But to be eligible for the funding, the town had to make a number of adjustments, Rhines said, noting “The amount of work that’s gone into this grant is extensive.”

Steps to eligibility included creation of a fair housing plan and the designation of a town ADA officer, according to Rhines, who said she also had to go through extensive training, including a three-day workshop last month.

The work is funded through the Community Development Block Grant, which goes to municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, according to the state Department of Housing website.

Towns that receive the grant must use it to meet “one of the following objectives: benefiting low and moderate-income persons, eliminating slum and blight or addressing an urgent need,” the website says.

Connecticut Media Group