Patrick Administration Announces Over $5 Million to Housing Authorities, Launches MassLEAP Program
Funds will reduce long-term unit vacancies, establish career and employment services for residents
BOSTON – Monday, May 19, 2014 – Continuing its effort to preserve the state’s public housing authority portfolio and increase the number of affordable public housing units available, the Patrick Administration today announced over $5 million in funding to improve, preserve and reoccupy the Commonwealth’s state-funded public housing units and establish programs to offer residents access to services in financial literacy, employment and career services. These serves will increase access to opportunity for some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents. The announcement came as Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein addressed the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.
“Affordable public housing is in high demand across the state,” said Undersecretary Gornstein. “These additional dedicated funds will provide local housing authorities with new tools and funding to extend the life of our current housing stock and also provide key services and resources for residents.”
DHCD awarded funds today to 20 housing authorities across the Commonwealth through the Family and Elderly Public Housing Re-occupancy Initiative and the Massachusetts Learning Education and Assets Program (MassLEAP).
In an effort to target resources to aggressively fill housing units that have been vacant due to needed repair and to halt the decline of certain units before the cost of re-occupancy grew out of reach, DHCD has identified those that could be brought back on-line with a moderate investment of $25,000-$65,000 per unit. Through the Family and Elderly Public Housing Re-occupancy Initiative, DHCD is awarding $1.6 million to 12 local housing authorities to bring 27 family public housing units back online and over $2 million in funds to three housing authorities to rehabilitate 49 units of elderly public housing.
Created in response to recommendations from Governor Deval Patrick’s Commission on Public Housing Sustainability and Reform, MassLeap is a new initiative to provide residents of state-funded public housing and participants in the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) with access to the supports and services necessary to increase their earned income, improve their employment and career options, access post-secondary education and training and build a financial asset base for themselves and their families. DHCD is awarding over $1.6 million to five local housing authorities to launch this program.
MassLEAP is a five year program, providing participants with the services needed to support meaningful and sustained earned income growth through career and employment planning and post-secondary education advances. Participants will increase their financial asset base through the establishment of escrow savings accounts, which will be used upon graduation, for investing in tangible assets such as homes, college education savings accounts and retirement accounts. The program will also help improve employment and career planning, increase asset base and money management skills and increase educational base to help ensure the long-term economic stability of these households.
Over the next five years, DHCD intends to invest $8.1 million into the MassLEAP program to serve both state public housing and MVRP tenants.
“I applaud the Patrick Administration and Undersecretary Gornstein for taking a major step to bolster and preserve the Commonwealth’s affordable public housing supply,” said Senator Eldridge. “This funding will help protect some of our state’s most vulnerable families, increase access to financial literacy programs and employment and career services to ensure that families are self-sufficient and more able to break free of the cycle of poverty.”
“These new programs will create stability for our Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents,” said Representative Kevin Honan of Brighton. “As the demand for affordable housing grows in the Commonwealth, making sure every unit is available is a crucial tool in reducing homelessness. It is also critical that our families have the support they need to compete in today’s economy and earn a sustainable income.”
“Local housing authorities across the state applaud the announcement of these preservation funds and meaningful resident service initiatives,” said Tom Connelly, Executive Director of MassNAHRO. “Massachusetts NAHRO commends the Patrick Administration for continued major enhancement of the state’s public housing program.”
Each of these initiatives had specific threshold eligibility and prioritization criteria that were used for targeting the awards. Housing authorities needed to apply for MassLEAP funds through separate application processes and DHCD also did direct outreach to all eligible applicants. More information on each initiative can be found in the Public Housing Notice 2014-13.
Below is a breakdown of today’s funding announcement:
|Housing Authority||Program||Funding Amount|
|Agawam||Family Public Housing||$161,375|
|Attleboro||Family Public Housing||$58,000|
|Berkshire County Regional||Family Public Housing||$42,000|
|Leominster||Family Public Housing||$123,750|
|Millbury||Family Public Housing||$36,250|
|Quincy||Family Public Housing||$43,480|
|Revere||Family Public Housing||$865,000|
|Rockport||Family Public Housing||$72,530|
|Granby/ Hampshire Regional||Family Public Housing||$65,000|
|Westfield||Family Public Housing||$51,000|
|Wilmington||Family Public Housing||$65,000|
|Winchendon||Family Public Housing||$42,500|
|Framingham||Elderly Public Housing||$1,460,750|
|Natick||Elderly Public Housing||$500,000|
|Tyngsborough||Elderly Public Housing||$55,000|
|Boston Housing Authority||MassLEAP||$250,700|
|Metropolitan Boston Consortium (which includes Massachusetts Boston Housing Partnership, and Watertown, Quincy, and Braintree housing authorities)||MassLEAP||$566,000|
|Somerville Housing Authority||MassLEAP||$258,700|
|Worcester Housing Authority||MassLEAP||$244,530|
|Western Mass Consortium (which includes HAP Housing, and Holyoke, Agawam, Chicopee and Northampton housing authorities)||MassLEAP||$362,200|
Since 2008, the Patrick Administration has taken action to protect and strengthen the safety net that state-aided public housing’s 45,600 units provides for our state’s most vulnerable families, seniors and people with disabilities. These initiatives are a part of a broader strategy being implemented to reform the state’s public housing system.
Last month, Governor Patrick announced $1 million in funding through the Secure Jobs Initiative to connect homeless and low-income families with services to help some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens overcome barriers to work and succeed in life. Through five regional partnerships, these grants will help homeless and low-income families receive job training and placement skills, as well as access to child care services so that they can successfully attain and thrive in their careers.