NEW BRITAIN -- Two of the cityâ€™s newest residents were ecstatic after winning the opportunity to buy their first home in New Britain on Saturday.
â€śItâ€™s just a dream come true,â€ť said Michael Belzo, who won the chance to purchase a home at 66 Cottage Place.
Belzo and Michael Gonzelez, who won the chance to buy 63 Cottage Place, will become New Britainâ€™s newest homeowners thanks to a program run by the city that helps first-time home buyers or those who have not owned a home within the last three years with down-payment assistance. The opportunity to buy the two homes, which were previously purchased by the city and renovated, was decided by a lottery drawing Saturday morning. New Britain has not done something like this since 2011.
â€śThis is actually my first house,â€ť Gonzalez said.
â€śIâ€™m very thankful,â€ť he said, adding that he won the lottery with his lucky number three.
Belzo, who also said this would be his first home, is hoping to have his family moved in by Thanksgiving. If the process were to take longer, however, he said he would still be very thankful to have his family spend Christmas in the new home.
â€śWeâ€™ll move in as quickly as we can,â€ť Belzo said.
â€śItâ€™s just an incredible program thatâ€™s given us an opportunity to afford a home,â€ť Belzo continued.
â€śIâ€™m Polish,â€ť he said, â€śso Iâ€™m very comfortable here. I love Little Poland. Itâ€™s just a fantasy.â€ť
Mayor Erin Stewart called it â€śheart-warmingâ€ť to see two new families have the chance to move into homes that have been renovated after previously having blight issues there.
â€śThis is a program that weâ€™re bringing back to life,â€ť the mayor said, adding that itâ€™s targeted at low- to moderate-income families. â€śItâ€™s been a while since we did this.â€ť
Stewart said The Home Ownership Program, commonly referred to as HOP, can help others buy homes by providing a loan of up to 20% of the purchase price. Anyone interested can find more information by contacting Deborah Anderson in the Department of Community Development at 860-826-3459.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.