For Immediate Release - June 11, 2014

Patrick Administration Brings #MAhousingweek to Springfield

Awards over $600,000 in Housing Grants to Community Housing Agencies 

SPRINGFIELD - Today, Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein joined Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCA) Undersecretary Barbara Anthony to award $640,000 in housing grants to community housing agencies in Western Massachusetts.   

“Housing is the cornerstone to economic success in the Commonwealth,” said DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein. “Through key initiatives and collaborations across state government and with our local partners, we continue to ensure a stable and robust housing market for our neighbors and our communities. Expanding and preserving affordable housing opportunities for families and seniors with modest incomes is especially important.”

DHCD delivered a $450,000 grant award to Neighborhood Housing Services of Springfield who will use the grant to help build six affordable modular homeownership units in the Old Hill/Six Corners neighborhood of the city – an area impacted by the June 2011 tornado. The city will convey several lots to Neighborhood Housing Services in support of this initiative. Also, Neighborhood Housing Services will provide counseling services to new owners both before and after purchase.

“While Massachusetts is ahead of many states in terms of recovering from the housing crisis, we understand that we are not out of the woods yet,” said Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Barbara Anthony “These grants, funded by fees paid by loan originators, will go back into communities and help Springfield families that are still recovering from the economic downturn and to help first time homebuyers realize the American dream of owning their own home.”

OCA also delivered an award of $190,995.04 to HAPHousing, the Western Massachusetts regional foreclosure prevention center.  As a stipulation of the grant, HAPHousing will provide First-Time Home Buyer Classes, First-Time Home Buyer counseling, and conduct aggressive outreach to provide at-risk home buyers with the tools and information they need to successfully purchase and maintain a home.  OCA announced $1.5 million in Division of Banks grant money earlier this week.

“We have very much appreciated the support of the Division of Banks since 2008, which has made possible the creation and operation of the Western Massachusetts foreclosure prevention center that has served more than 4,600 homeowners in the western four counties,” said Peter Gagliardi, Executive Director of HAPHousing.

The Massachusetts Homeownership compact will help accelerate economic recovery and neighborhood stabilization initiatives in the Commonwealth and retain and attract a competitive workforce.

In November 2012, Governor Patrick announced the Commonwealth’s goal of creating 10,000 multi-family housing units per year. By creating this type of housing, which is attractive to young families and individuals, Massachusetts is better prepared to keep in state the skilled, young workforce for which employers are looking

Last fall, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki accepted a national “workforce housing” award from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) recognizing the Patrick Administration’s leadership in pursuing a strategy to increase the supply of housing needed, and in the places needed, for its workforce.

Improving the housing stock at all levels is a priority for the Patrick Administration. Along with creating new housing, the Administration has made significant investments in the Commonwealth’s public housing stock, by preserving and improving the 46,000 housing units in the system through increased capital funding, increased operating subsidies and changes in management of those resources.

Since 2009, the Patrick Administration, working with the Legislature and Congress, has directed direct over $700 million in federal and state tax credits and state housing program subsidies to projects that improve the state's affordable housing, create jobs and build stronger communities. These investments have generated more than 14,000 jobs and 10,000 homes.

Commonwealth Housing Week will culminate with a Housing Twitter Town Hall on Friday, June 13 from 11:00a.m. with Undersecretary Anthony and Undersecretary Gornstein. Questions can be submitted using the twitter hashtag #MAhousingweek.

Click here to view the Governor’s official proclamation.

The agencies’ grants come as part of the Patrick Administration’s Second Annual Commonwealth Housing Week, June 9 -13, memorialized in a proclamation delivered by the Governor earlier this week. Throughout the week, DHCD and OCA toured the state, highlighting the success of the administration's homeownership compact and economic recovery. 

The Division of Banks funds grants for first-time homeownership counseling programs and regional foreclosure educational centers with administrative fees associated with the licensure of mortgage loan originators. On Monday, the Division announced that it awarded $1.5 million in grants to 11 regional foreclosure prevention centers and 10 individual/first-time homeownership centers across the Commonwealth.