For Immediate Release - March 05, 2010

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION TARGETS $5.1 MILLION TO SUPPORT FORECLOSURE PREVENTION EFFORTS IN FIVE COMMUNITIES

Neighborhood stabilization programs in Framingham, Leominster, Lynn, Marlboro, and Worcester get added federal funding boost

BOSTON - Friday, March 5, 2010 - Furthering the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to improve communities hard hit by foreclosure, Governor Deval Patrick today announced that $5.1 million in federal funds will be allotted to boost neighborhood stabilization programs underway in Framingham, Leominster, Lynn, Marlboro and Worcester. Those funds can be used to acquire, and rehabilitate foreclosed properties and get them reoccupied with new renters or homeowners.

"Foreclosed and vacant properties lessen the quality of life for entire neighborhoods," said Governor Patrick. "This influx of additional funds to those communities will enhance the good work they are already doing to revitalize neighborhoods and create new affordable housing opportunities for hard-working individuals and families who earn modest wages."

"These additional federal funds will substantially assist those communities as they restore and rehabilitate properties left blighted due to foreclosure," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness. "By revitalizing these properties, we are also further investing in our affordable housing stock while also supporting individuals, families, and community development in our Commonwealth."

The funds for today's announcement come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP1). That program was funded through the Housing Economic Recovery Act, and is part of $43.4 million that was initially awarded to Massachusetts in 2009. NSP1 is implemented in Massachusetts by the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and funds can be used by municipalities, for-profit and non-profit developers to purchase abandoned, vacant, or foreclosed properties at a discount and to rehabilitate or redevelop them in order to respond to rising foreclosures and falling home values.

"This investment will help clean up neighborhoods and provide more affordable housing for those who are hanging on by their fingernails," said Senator John Kerry.

"We congratulate the city of Lynn, and specifically the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development, for their aggressive efforts to revitalize neighborhoods hit hardest by foreclosures. This particular award will not only improve the quality of life in the city's neighborhoods, it will also help create much needed affordable rental housing units for Lynn families," said Congressman John F. Tierney.

Award summaries:

  • Marlborough will receive an additional $500,000 to assist with the acquisition and/or rehabilitation of foreclosed properties with half of those funds serving household earning 50% or less of the area median income. Marlboro originally received a $400,000 grant in 2009
  • Framingham will receive an additional $500,000 to target to middle-income and very low-income rental homes and homeownership opportunities. Framingham originally received $700,000 in 2009.
  • Lynn will receive an additional $300,000 to rehabilitate very low-income properties. Lynn originally received $700,000 in 2009.
  • Worcester will receive $700,000 to demolish a former factory on 95 Grand Street to transform it into a mixed use development, as well as another $1,310,000 to redevelop 5 May Street for very low-income rentals. Worcester originally received $2,390,000 in 2009.
  • Leominster will receive $1,300,000 through the Twin Cities CDC to acquire and demolish a portion of the Whitney Building and transform it into 40 new housing units affordable to very low-income residents. Leominster did not receive NSP funding in the original awards of 2009.

"These funds along with the state's own neighborhood stabilization program as well as another $48 million in additional NSP stimulus funds Massachusetts just received from HUD will compliment our ongoing comprehensive efforts to stem the tide of foreclosure and the negative impact that those activities have on neighborhoods all across the state," said DHCD Undersecretary Tina Brooks.

That additional $48 million was part of HUD's NSP2 program and those funds were awarded last January to the City of Boston, The Community Builders and a consortium with DHCD led by Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation.

"Both the Legislature and the Administration are working hard on economic development proposals that will help get the Massachusetts economy back on firm footing, but people still need help right away," said Senator Karen Spilka, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. "I am happy to see this foreclosure prevention relief going to Framingham and the MetroWest, as these areas are crucially important to the Commonwealth's economic health and recovery."

"This funding will be used to rehabilitate certain foreclosed properties which will in turn help stabilize neighborhoods across Lynn," said Senator Thomas McGee. "I am very pleased that the administration has recognized the serious foreclosure problem in the City. These improvements will help attract new renters and homeowners to previously blighted properties."

"We must continue to do everything possible to reinvigorate and stimulate the economies of our home communities that have been devastated by the foreclosure crisis," said Senator Harriette Chandler. "I thank and applaud the work of Governor Patrick in securing this stimulus money, and anticipate it having an outstanding effect on our ongoing recovery efforts."

"The foreclosure crisis has hit Marlborough hard, leaving abandoned homes across the city," said Senator Jamie Eldridge. "As these homes fall into disrepair from lack of use and no upkeep, neighborhoods begin to decline - stressing community services and frustrating abutting homeowners. This desperately needed funding will help stabilize neighborhoods while creating additional affordable housing for working families living in Marlborough."

"This is wonderful news! I have the highest level of respect for the Twin Cities CDC; Marc Dohan and his team are improving neighborhoods in both Leominster and Fitchburg, making these great cities better places to live," said Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan. "This is another example of stimulus funding coming into the District to provide much needed revitalization, while at the same time expanding opportunities for affordable housing for those folks affected by the foreclosure crisis."

"This is a great day for Worcester," said Senator Michael O. Moore. "Worcester has been hit especially hard by the housing crisis, and this funding represents a wise investment in improving communities and helping people to get back on their feet. The demolition of 95 Grand Street will eliminate what has become a blight on the neighborhood and hopefully spur revitalization and growth."

"This is great news for the City of Leominster! This will revitalize a terrible blight in the midst of one of the core neighborhoods of the City of Leominster and create 40 units of environmentally friendly affordable housing," said Representative Dennis A. Rosa of Leominster.

"As we begin to come out of this economic downturn, it is vital that we continue to do everything in our power to support our cities and towns," said Representative John Binienda. "This additional funding will go a long way in both creating new affordable housing opportunities for the people of Worcester and generating new jobs associated with the construction of these properties. These projects and others like it are an effective way to stimulate our local economy by investing in our neighborhoods directly."

"I am very pleased with the Administration's commitment of funds to acquire and rehabilitate vacant abandoned and foreclosed properties in Lynn," said Representative Mark Falzone. "By making these properties available to homeowners and renters, we can ensure that our neighborhoods in Lynn remain stable and vibrant."

"Rehabilitating foreclosed and abandoned properties will not only rid our neighborhoods of certain eyesores, and raise property values but will also address major public safety issues that these properties pose, including fire hazards and gang activity," said Representative Robert Fennell. "This funding is vital in the efforts to stabilize our community and eliminate these breeding grounds for crime."

"My office has been working with Marlborough Human Services Director Ros Baker and the DHCD to find any and all available resources for the constituents who come through her doors daily in danger of losing their homes'" said Representative Danielle Gregoire. "These funds will go a long way to help the City of Marlborough and some of its neediest residents recover from this economic crisis. I am grateful that our community is being afforded this assistance; it will benefit the entire community, and go a long way toward the help that we need for those residents who have been hit the hardest by these challenging times."

"These additional neighborhood stabilization funds will provide a much needed shot-in-the-arm to our downtown revitalization efforts," said Representative Pam Richardson. "I appreciate the Administration's willingness to partner with the Town of Framingham to address these issues."

"I'm pleased to see this vital stimulus program come to Framingham" said Representative Tom Sannicandro. "These funds will not only assist working families in avoiding foreclosure but will promote positive economic development and improve the quality of life in Framingham."

"To have this funding to rehabilitate foreclosed properties and get them back on the market will help us do exactly what the program is intended to do: stabilize our neighborhoods that were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis," said Mayor Nancy Stevens of Marlborough.

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