Less than a month after designating $10 million to the state Housing Trust Fund, Gov. M. Jodi Rell last week announced that a nonprofit bank that provides gap financing and homebuyer assistance programs has received the largest chunk of the money.

The Stamford-based Housing Development Fund received a $3 million grant from the Housing Trust Fund, a $100 million, five-year fund designed to help create or preserve housing for low- and moderate-income working families by providing gap financing.

“We are thrilled with the infusion of public-sector resources that are coming at a critical time in meeting the need for affordable housing,” said HDF Executive Director Joan Carty in a prepared statement. “We have long had investment of significant sums from the private sector, and now with this real public-private partnership, we stand to make an even greater impact. HDF is grateful to the governor and all the legislators – particularly our local delegation – who had the will and the vision to establish the Housing Trust Fund. It’s a dream come true.”

‘A Huge Effort’

The money will be used to provide down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers and will provide gap financing for affordable multifamily rentals and supportive housing in Fairfield County and other parts of southwestern Connecticut. The HDF estimates the $3 million will help between 90 and 110 households become homeowners or rent affordable units.

The HDF plans to put $1 million of the grant toward providing down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers. The bank estimates it will add 60 to 70 additional households to the 450 that are already assisted by the HDF’s “Adopt-A-House” first-time homebuyer down payment assistance program.

The Adopt-A-House loan assists with down payments and closing costs of up to $10,000 through an interest-free loan secured by a subordinate mortgage on the property, according to the HDF’s Web site. To be eligible, potential homebuyers must be purchasing a home in the areas surrounding Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury and Bridgeport, and the total household income should not exceed $91,200, regardless of family size.

The remaining $2 million from the Housing Trust Fund grant will provide gap financing for 30 to 40 new multifamily rental and supportive housing units. The HDF expects the money to leverage millions more. The HDF already manages almost $50 million in affordable housing funding from a pool of 17 banks and other resources.

The HDF was founded in 1989. The bank runs other programs, such as the SmartMove Homeownership Fund, a $9 million second-mortgage fund, which it launched in 2004. Five banks committed money for the fund. CitiMortgage will provide $5 million over three years for the fund and the Bank of New York, First County Bank, People’s Bank and the Savings Bank of Danbury each committed $1 million over the three years.

The organization also provides homebuyer education classes and homeownership counseling with one-on-one support. Along with HDF’s requirement that its financing be linked only to traditional, fixed-rate mortgage products, its programs have led to unprecedented stability in its portfolio. Carty did not return phone calls looking for more details about the organization.

Rell signed the Housing Trust Fund into law last year.

“The $100 million Housing Trust Fund was created to address the critical need for more affordable housing in Connecticut,” she said in a prepared statement when this year’s recipients were announced last week. “Today’s announcement signals the start of these funds ‘hitting the streets’ and making a real difference in the lives of Connecticut workers and their families. These seven funding recipients, with their proven track records of excellence in serving their clients and communities, are an important part of the solution of affordable housing in Connecticut, and it is our expectation that we will begin to feel the impact of this $10 million investment in their programs in the months and years ahead.”

According to Sen. Bob Duff, who represents Norwalk and Darien, the Housing Trust Fund was designed to be flexible in order to meet a variety of affordable housing needs throughout the state.

“It’s exciting to see the Housing Trust Fund legislation put into practice and used in the way we envisioned,” he said in a prepared statement. “It took a huge effort by many legislators and State Treasurer Diane Nappier, and it’s good to see it being implemented by HDF and the other recipients in a really meaningful way that will help first-time buyers and renters in our area.”

Other recipients of the Housing Trust Fund include the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund, which received $1.75 million for a regional gap-financing pool and gap financing for owner-occupied rehabilitations for code compliance and handicapped accessibility; the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, which received $300,000 for a home maintenance and energy conservation program; the Bristol Development Authority, which received $400,000 for a community-wide rehabilitation program; the Corporation for Independent Living in Wethersfield, which received $1.5 million for grants for a statewide accessibility tenant program; the Connecticut CDFI Alliance, which received $1.2 million for a statewide affordable-housing gap-financing program; and the Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity, which received $1.85 million for its 20th Anniversary Project, which calls for the construction of 200 homes statewide by 2009.