Our History

LEGACY Hannah Gray Portrait
The Hannah Gray Home is the legacy of a heroic African-American woman and abolitionist, the late Hannah E. Gray of New Haven.

1861- Hannah Gray's death.

1904 - The Home was saved by the Women's 20th Century Club.

1911 - The Home moved to its current location at 235 Dixwell Ave.

1977 - Hannah Gray Home, Incorporated, (HGHI) was formed.

1996 - The Home closed due to financial problems.

2000 - Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund rescued the Home by taking over the mortgage.

2001 - CT Dept. of Social Services granted the Home a Certificate of Need (CON)

2005 - HGHI Board of Directors reconstituted.

2006 - CON extension and increase granted.

2007 - Start of construction.

2010 - January 7th, Hannah Gray Home reopened.

Hannah Gray, an African American seamstress in the mid-19th century, used her earnings to support divinity school students at Yale, her church, and the abolitionist movement.

Upon her death in 1861, she bequeathed her home for the use of indigent elderly women of color in perpetuity. Her will did not include funding to support this mission.

The Home operated in this capacity at its original site on Dixwell Avenue until the early 20th Century. At that time, the 20th Century Club, a group of African American women from the Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist and Congregational churches on Dixwell Avenue, came together to save the financially-struggling Home.

They sold the original property and with the proceeds purchased a larger house located at 235 Dixwell Avenue, its current location. The Home was operated in its intended capacity at the current site until 1996 when it was forced to close for financial and administrative reasons. The facility reopened in January 2010.

Facing this crisis, the Rev. Anthony J. Davis launched a campaign to save the Home. Rev. Davis was motivated by the memory of his aunt who had been a resident at the Home until its closure. He was able to secure a loan from the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund in order to prevent the Home from being foreclosed on and sold.

He also obtained a Certificate of Need (CON) from the Connecticut Department of Social Services authorizing the Home's redevelopment as a residential care home. The current CON pledges $2.4 million to the Home's rehabilitation.

Rev. Davis is currently one of three trustees appointed by the New Haven Probate Court to carry out the terms of Hannah Gray's will. Hannah Gray Home, Incorporated (HGHI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was formed in 1977 to support the work of the trustees.

Its Board of Directors was reconstituted in 2005, with help from the Loan Fund and from the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization of Yale Law School.

The Home serves low-income elderly persons in need of residential care without regard to race or gender.