For Immediate Release - December 13, 2013

Funding Announced to Modernize and Preserve the State’s Public Housing Stock

Up to $27 million in grants will be awarded for housing authority improvements

BOSTON – Friday, December 13, 2013 – The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) today announced a new initiative, the High Leverage Asset Preservation Program (HILAPP), that will support the comprehensive modernization and preservation of the state’s public housing stock. The Program will provide competitively bid grants to local housing authorities that are able to secure matching funds from local and or other non-DHCD sources.

“Affordable public housing is in high demand across the state,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein. “These funds will not only ensure that current residents live in healthy and safe environments, but that the developments are upgraded so they will last for years to come.”

The HILAPP program is based on the following four principles:

  • Preserving as many units as possible;
  • Prioritizing developments with significant capital needs that cannot be sufficiently addressed with Formula Funding (DHCD’s non-competitive annual capital funding program);
  • Targeting developments in communities with the highest need for very low income housing options; and
  • Leveraging local and private investment in the state’s public housing stock.

Today, DHCD awarded 12 housing authorities across the Commonwealth $5 million to begin the design phases of their projects. By the conclusion of this first competitive cycle, DHCD will invest up to $27 million in capital dollars to support these local housing authorities.

Over the next five years, DHCD will distribute $75M for HILAPP projects, which will in turn leverage millions of dollars from outside sources.  DHCD will repeat the competitive award process annually, funding permitting, in order to build and maintain a consistent pipeline of HILAPP projects.

The housing authorities that received pre-development awards today are Amherst, Boston, Braintree, Cambridge, Chicopee, Franklin County, Leominster, Lexington, Malden, Middleborough, Provincetown, and Sandwich.

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, senior and people with disabilities. These initiatives are a part of a broader strategy being implemented to reform the state’s public housing system. Other reforms have included requiring local housing authorities to provide DHCD with the salaries of the five highest-paid management staff, setting a maximum salary for local housing authority executive directors, and requiring greater reporting of financial information.

The following projects were awarded funds today:

Amherst:  The Amherst Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds to renovate the Ann Whalen preservation project.  The scope includes replacing exterior doors and windows and upgrading selected kitchens and bathrooms. Ann Whalen is an 80-unit development that houses income-eligible elderly and persons with disabilities. In addition to HILAPP funds, the Amherst Housing Authority has secured Community Preservation Act funds to support renovations.

Amherst:  Also in Amherst, the John Nutting modernization project includes the installation of a new geothermal heating system, the complete renovation of kitchens and bathrooms in five units, and the replacement of all exterior doors, windows, and siding.  The John Nutting development houses income-eligible residents with special needs. The geothermal system and some window replacement are to be funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

Boston:  The Boston Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds to redevelop 120 units of family housing at the Orient Heights development in East Boston. In addition to DHCD funds, the project proposes to leverage 4% tax credit equity, a grant from the City of Boston, mortgage financing, and Section 8 rental subsidies.  Orient Heights is a 330 unit development and this project is the first of an anticipated 3-phase project to modernize the entire development over time. 

Braintree:  The Braintree Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds to preserve 6 units of scattered-site family housing that is distributed across four properties. The scope of work at these properties includes new roofs, gutters, downspouts, chimney reconstruction, window replacement, siding replacement, porch repairs, and selective kitchen and bath renovations.  In addition to HILAPP funds, the BHA intends to leverage funds from the Town of Braintree Community Preservation Act.

Cambridge:  The Cambridge Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds to fully redevelop the 98 unit Jefferson Park family development.  In addition to DHCD funds, the project intends to leverage 4% tax credit equity, a grant from the City of Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust Fund, mortgage financing, utility rebates, and Moving To Work rental operating subsidies.

Chicopee:  The Chicopee Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds at the Governor George D. Robinson Apartments to replace exterior doors, common area lighting, and exterior lighting, plus the installation of a security camera system. In addition to HILAPP funds, the project intends to leverage Chicopee Housing Authority central funds and will also pursue a grant from a local lighting retrofit program.

Franklin County:  The Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority will use HILAPP funds to preserve three units of scattered-site family housing in Orange. In addition to HILAPP funds, the CHA intends to leverage weatherization funds and a local Community Development Block Grant. The scope of work at this property includes new siding, roof, windows, lighting, insulation, and site work.

Leominster:  The Leominster Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds to renovate the Allencrest 73-unit family development.  The project scope includes new siding, windows, insulation, and site work at a. In addition to  DHCD  funds, the Leominster Housing Authority plans on leveraging local HOME funds, payment in lieu of taxes, permit fee waivers, in-kind city paving, cellular phone tower income, and net metering credits.

Lexington:  The Lexington Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds to preserve 48 units of housing at Vynebrook Village. The scope of work includes new siding, doors, roofs, fascia, exterior lighting, exterior railings, and porch repairs. Vynebrook Village houses income-eligible elderly and residents with special needs. In addition to DHCD  funds, the LHA plans on leveraging and local Community Preservation Act funds.

Malden:  The Malden Housing Authority will use  HILAPP funds to redevelop the Clement Street Facility into 12 units of housing for residents with special needs. In addition to HILAPP funds, the MHA intends to leverage a grant from the Department of Mental Health.

Middleborough:  The Middleborough Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds to modernize the Nemasket Apartments, a 40-unit development that houses elderly and persons with disabilities.  The project scope includes new electrical panels, site work, and selective replacement of windows and doors. In addition to HILAPP funds, the MHA intends to leverage a local Community Development Block Grant, Community Preservation Act funds, and Town paving funds.

Provincetown:  The Provincetown Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds to modernize two units of scattered-site family housing. The project scope includes siding and door replacement, flooring, and upgrades to the kitchens and bathrooms. In addition to HILAPP funds, the PHA intends to fund the work in part through a grant from the  local Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Sandwich:  The Sandwich Housing Authority will use HILAPP funds to modernize twelve units of scattered-site family housing on George Fernandes Way. The project scope includes kitchen and bath upgrades, window replacement, siding repairs, and roofing. In addition to HILAPP funds, the SHA intends to apply Community Preservation Act funds to the project.

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