For Immediate Release - March 25, 2014

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $25 MILLION TO CREATE OVER 335 UNITS OF SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

Reaches Goal of Creating 1,000 New Units of Supportive Housing More Than 12 Months Early

Governor Patrick announces a milestone mark in the creation of supportive and Veterans’ housing units across the Commonwealth at Haverhill Veterans Housing. (Photo: Taylor Nealand/ Governor’s Office)

HAVERHILL – Tuesday, March, 25, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today announced more than $25 million in funding to create over 335 new units of supportive housing for veterans, homeless and very low income households across the Commonwealth. The Governor also announced that, with these units, the Patrick Administration has reached its goal of creating 1,000 units of permanent, supportive housing in the Commonwealth a year early. Governor Patrick made these announcements during a visit to the future site of the Haverhill Veterans’ Housing Project.

“Government’s role is to help people help themselves, and I am extremely pleased that we have reached our ambitious housing goal early, ensuring that more of our families have the resources to get back on their feet,” said Governor Patrick. “Helping our most vulnerable families transition into stable housing is vital to supporting our economy and creating a stronger Commonwealth for the next generation.”

In December 2012, Governor Patrick  announced a goal of creating 1,000 new units of supportive housing across the Commonwealth by December 2015. To reach this goal, 18 state agencies signed a memorandum of understanding partnering to improve existing processes, make recommendations for new, collaborative efforts and develop a long-range action plan to meet the need for supportive housing among the Commonwealth’s residents. Supportive housing helps individuals and families that are homeless or facing homelessness, institutionalized or at-risk of institutionalization, people with disabilities and the elderly. Additionally, the agencies continue to assess the extent of public cost-savings generated as a result of providing permanent supportive housing and will recommend strategic reinvestments. 

In addition to a providing housing for families, supportive housing, which is operated in conjunction with a network of non-profit agencies across the Commonwealth, can include services such as childcare, access to job training, mental-health care and other opportunities that give participants a hand up towards stability and success.

“This supportive housing program will provide a clear pathway for participants from homelessness and emergency shelters towards stabilization and growth in permanently affordable housing,” said Aaron Gornstein, Undersecretary for the Department of Housing and Community Development.

"This investment in supportive housing is just another example of why Massachusetts leads the nation the nation in caring for and serving our veterans," said Department of Veterans' Services Secretary Coleman Nee.  "Under the leadership of the Governor and working across several agencies, the Patrick Administration has already reached its goal of creating 250 units of veterans specific housing. This is a wonderful achievement and a critical component of our campaign to end veterans homelessness by 2015."

In March 2012, Governor Patrick signed “An Act Relative to Community Housing and Services,” which increases coordination and efficiency across government agencies by requiring these agencies to commit to working together through a legally-binding memorandum of understanding to create a demonstration program resulting in up to 1,000 new permanent supportive housing units, and requires administrative action to promote supportive housing and to establish benchmarks to assess progress. 

“In my role on the Armed Services Committee, I have seen firsthand the challenges our service members and their families face here on the homefront, particularly as they transition from active duty to veteran status,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. “Funding such as this, paired with partnerships with quality organizations, bring much needed housing resources and support to veterans and to others who need it most in the Third District and across Massachusetts.” 

“This award from the Housing Preservation Supportive Trust Fund will allow Coalition for a Better Acre in association with Veterans Northeast Outreach Center to build 27 units of much needed housing for veterans and their families and will be an important contribution to increasing the affordable housing stock for veterans in our community,” said Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives.

“I want to thank Governor Patrick and the Legislature for this aggressive approach in creating supportive housing,” said Representative Linda Dean Campbell. “This provides that important first step for those who have fallen on hard times to become contributing members of their communities.” 

“Homelessness among our veteran population is a serious problem and that’s why it is so important that we ensure that they are provided with the opportunity and access to affordable and permanent housing,” said Representative Brian Dempsey. “I am pleased that the Governor has recognized the strong partnership being developed between Coalition for Better Acre and Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in selecting to support their critical housing initiative.”

“The creation of permanent supportive housing is key to addressing homelessness,” said Representative Kevin Honan, House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Housing.  “I applaud the Governor’s leadership in providing funding for hundreds of new units of supportive housing for our veterans, who face challenging issues as they return home, as well as homeless and low-income individuals and families.”

Today, Governor Patrick also awarded 208 project-based vouchers from the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP). The vouchers are available to owners of existing, affordable rental properties, who provide services or partner with an agency that has experience with successfully stabilizing homeless or very low-income households.

The MRVP vouchers allow homeless families to move into existing housing developments with long-term affordability restrictions. The non-profit agencies that own the properties provide participating families with comprehensive supportive service programs to help ensure that they do not fall back into the cycle of homelessness and emergency shelter, while helping them move toward stability and self-sufficiency. Funds for supportive services in the amount of $2,500 per unit will be used to provide a wide array of services, including job search and training, financial literacy and planning, self-sufficiency training and coaching, counseling, parenting, early education and childcare, mental health and addiction treatment, adult education, and GED and skills training.

“Governor Patrick, Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Aaron Gornstein, and the Commonwealth as a whole were very forward-thinking in setting the goal to create 1,000 units of supportive housing,” said Roger Herzog, executive director of the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) and the chair of the interagency working group that supported the initiative. “The supportive housing will help seniors, veterans, homeless individuals and families, and persons with disabilities, among others, all of whom will benefit from the services connected with this affordable housing.  Eighteen state agencies have been working together to coordinate efforts and today’s announcement reflects the creative thinking that has taken place across these agencies.  Massachusetts has always been a leader in developing innovative strategies around affordable housing, and this is yet another example of it.  We applaud the leadership of Governor Patrick, Undersecretary Gornstein, and agency leaders who have worked hard to reach this goal ahead of schedule.”

The Patrick Administration continues to focus its efforts and resources on homelessness prevention and permanent housing to reduce the number of families living in hotels and at the same time to maintain one of the strongest safety nets in the country.

The following projects were announced today:

Bedford Green Apartments will be constructed on the campus of the Bedford Veterans’ Administration Medical Center.  The project sponsor is Peabody Veterans Supportive Housing LLC.  When completed, the project will offer 70 one-bedroom units as well as supportive services for elderly homeless veterans. All units will be ADA-adaptable and visitable. The project will be supported by the U.S. Veterans Administration as well as by DHCD.    

10-12 Wales Street is located in Dorchester.  The project sponsor is the Pine Street Inn, an organization with extensive experience in the provision of housing for the formerly homeless.  This rehabilitation project will result in 12 one-bedroom units: 11 for homeless individuals and one onsite manager’s unit.  Supportive services will be provided for the residents, and case managers and counseling staff will be able to meet with residents on site.   

Cortes Street is a 40 unit single room occupancy (SRO) project located in Boston’s Bay Village neighborhood. The project sponsor is Caritas Communities, an experienced SRO developer. Caritas will rehabilitate and reconfigure the property and begin delivering support services to the tenants, all of whom are low-income single adults.

Court Street in Boston is an existing large-scale property located in the heart of downtown. The sponsor is The New England Center for HomelessVeterans.  With funding provided by DHCD as well as the city of Boston, Court Street will be fully rehabilitated and expanded during 2014 and early 2015. Supportive services will be provided for the veterans who live in the building.   

Upper Washington/Four Corners will be constructed on two nearby sites in Dorchester and sponsored by the Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development, Inc.  The project will include 35 units of family housing, including 9 units for extremely low income families, as well  as 2,900 square feet of commercial space.  Supportive services will be provided to the new residents.  The project will be located near the new Geneva Rail Station.  

South Shore Supportive Housing 2014 is located in Brockton.  The sponsor, with extensive experience with veterans and the homeless, is Father Bills & MainSpring, Inc. When completed, the project will consist of  8 new supportive housing units for homeless families located in three currently vacant multi-family properties. Supportive services will be provided to the residents.  

51-57 Beals Street in Brookline consists of two adjacent single room occupancy (SRO) properties near the John F. Kennedy historic site and the vibrant Coolidge Corner neighborhood.   The project sponsor is the Pine Street Inn, an organization with extensive experience in SRO housing and supportive services for the homeless.  Pine Street will rehabilitate both Beals Street properties and provide the single adult tenants with support services.  The town of Brookline also is providing substantial financial support for this important project. 

Shawmut Place will be located in Chelsea and sponsored by The Neighborhood Developers Inc.   The completed project will offer four units for young parents and their children.  Roca, Inc., an experienced service provider with an office nearby, will provide case management services to the new resident families. 

Haverhill Veterans Housing will be constructed on Reed, Temple, and Tremont streets in Haverhill.   The sponsor is Coalition for a Better Acre, working with Veterans Northeast Outreach Center. The completed project will offer 27 total units for individuals and families in three buildings in close proximity to each other.  Funding for this project is from HPSTF as well as from the City of Haverhill and the North Shore Home Consortium.   

430 Broadway is located in Lowell. The sponsor is Common Ground Development Corp.   The project consists of the conversion of first floor office space into three units of permanent housing for homeless families.  The upper floors of 430 Broadway already offer 14 existing rental units. Common Ground is affiliated with Community Teamwork Inc, which will provide support services for the project.

New Hope 2 is located on Pawtucket Street in Lowell.   The sponsor, House of Hope Housing, intends to purchase the Pawtucket Street property in the near future.  The project will be converted into seven units of affordable supportive housing for homeless families. House of Hope has extensive experience in the provision of housing and services for homeless families.

266 Main Street is located in Oxford; the project developer/sponsoris the South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC).  When completed, the Main Street property will offer 16 single room occupancy units (SROs) with supportive services for residents.   

Cass Street Veterans Housing will be constructed in the Lower Liberty Heights neighborhood of Springfield.   The sponsor is Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of MA.   The completed project will consist of 19 Single Room Occupancy units (SROs) with supportive services. 

Springfield House will be located in the McKnight neighborhood of Springfield.  The sponsor is the Springfield Mental Health Association. The new construction project will provide 16 one- bedroom units for persons with disabilities and will serve as replacement housing for a property destroyed during the 2011 tornado.  Supportive services will be offered to the new residents.

Our House will be located on Broad Street in Westfield. The sponsor is Domus, Inc.   Domus will purchase the vacant Broad Street property and rehabilitate it to create 10 single room occupancy Units (SROs) and one on-site manager’s unit. When completed, Our House will provide housing for extremely low income unaccompanied youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Domus will work with Westfield High School, the local YMCA, and other entities to provide supportive services for these youth. 

16 Cottage Street is located in Worcester.  The sponsor is South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC).  The project consists of the rehabilitation of an existing building into 15 single room occupancy units (SRO) with supportive services.    

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