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News Oct 25, 2011 - 6:14 PM

Citi and NNI announce Financial Fitness workshops

By New Neighborhoods Inc

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(l-r) Lily Lopez, Connecticut State Director for Citi Community Development; Greg Dunn, NNI Tenant Advocate Program Coordinator (TAP); Ross Burkhardt, New Neighborhoods, Inc. President & CEO discuss the one year series of TAP Financial Fitness programs supported by a grant from Citi Foundation.
Citi and New Neighborhoods Inc. (NNI) have announced that a year-long series of Financial Fitness workshops, coordinated by NNI’s Tenant Advocate Program (TAP), will be offered at no charge for the low- and moderate-income tenants and homeowners of NNI’s affordable housing developments in Stamford, CT. Stamford-based NNI is Fairfield County’s oldest active nonprofit housing developer and manager. It has developed more than 500 units of high quality affordable family and senior housing, and manages an additional 375 rental units in nine buildings in Stamford, Danbury and Norwalk in its property management portfolio.

“This effort is part of our commitment to encourage people to use NNI-developed affordable housing as a springboard for achieving and sustaining economic independence,” said Ross Burkhardt, President and CEO of New Neighborhoods, Inc.

The series of Financial Fitness programs, open to all NNI tenants and owners, will be held at both NNI’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Apartments and at Friendship House Apartments which NNI co-owns with MHASWCT, both on Stamford’s West Side. The workshops are being offered as part of NNI’s Tenant Advocate Program (TAP), which encourages tenants and owners of properties that have been developed, owned or managed by NNI to become self-sufficient and move up the economic ladder, by connecting them with appropriate community based resources, agencies and organizations.

“It’s for the future,” said Gwen Baptiste, a resident of the MLK Jr. Apartments and a Financial Fitness program participant. “Being a single mother with children, I want to understand as much as I can about how to make my finances grow; understanding credit reports and repairing credit; and — now that I have a new job — how to start saving and down the road maybe buy a home.”

TAP is partnering with CTE, the federal- and state-designated, nonprofit Community Action Agency for Stamford, Greenwich and Darien, to conduct financial fitness workshops on essential topics including debt reduction, budgeting, credit, savings and home ownership. TAP also is collaborating with the nonprofit Women’s Business Development Council in Stamford to run “Exploring Entrepreneurship,” an introduction to business ownership for prospective entrepreneurs, as part of the series.

"Expanding financial inclusion requires collaboration and a comprehensive approach,” said Lily Lopez, Connecticut State Director for Citi Community Development. “That’s why we work with partners like New Neighborhoods, Inc. both to provide affordable housing and to complement that with access to the resources and opportunities that people need to build assets and strengthen their credit.”

The Citi Foundation has provided $30,000 to NNI to support the series of workshops. This video describes the ongoing collaboration between NNI and Citi to provide and preserve affordable housing in Connecticut:

NNI is celebrating its 44th year of developing and managing quality housing that has made it possible for hundreds of low and moderate income families to move up and for seniors to remain in the communities where they lived, raised families, worked, and continue to give back. For information on the status and importance of building and preserving housing and neighborhood revitalization in Stamford and Fairfield County, visit

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