Since January 2009, ARRA housing grantscontinue to support investments in our communities, including low-income housing projects, homelessness prevention, community services, and weatherization.
Community Services Block Grant
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) successfully met the federal September 30, 2010, deadline for investing its entire $25 million Community Services Block Grant award. During the 15-month program, 24 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) throughout the Commonwealth used stimulus funds from DHCD to create jobs, notably through the summer youth jobs programs, provide job-readiness assistance, prevent homelessness, offer nutritional help, and establish an online Benefit Enrollment and Coordination of Services System. Through these grants, more than 63,000 low-income beneficiaries are estimated to have received services from the CAA network, and 347 FTE jobs were created or retained.
Community Development Block Grant
The $9.1 million Community Development Block Grant funds awarded to the commonwealth under ARRA are being used in 19 small communities across the state. The projects that are being funded include sidewalk repairs, upgrades to electrical and heating systems in elderly housing, water and sewer line replacement, and the construction of a senior center in Sheffield, MA.
Since the $125 million ARRA Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) began in September 2009, almost 6,900 low-income Massachusetts homes have been weatherized. The ARRA Weatherization program has already injected more than $53 million into the Commonwealth's economy. These funds are being used statewide to make the homes of low-income Massachusetts residents more energy efficient, create new green jobs in the Commonwealth, and help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
The ARRA WAP anticipated creating approximately 300 new "green" jobs in the Commonwealth over three years. As of the fall of 2010, the total number of certified Weatherization program energy auditors working in ARRA WAP is 91, an increase of 48 since ARRA began. The total number of private-sector Weatherization program contractors working in ARRA WAP is 122, an increase of 67. Many companies have added additional crews with an average crew size of 4 weatherization workers.
A $1 million grant from the state also funded the Mass Clean Energy Center's MassGREEN Initiative training program, coordinated by Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). Through the Initiative, STCC has developed and now delivers energy efficiency workforce training programs for weatherization workers and contracting firms at community college campuses across the state.
Tax Credit Assistance Program and Tax Credit Exchange Program
To date, virtually all of the nearly $170 million in federal stimulus tax credit funds
Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP)
The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) aims to reduce instances of homelessness in Massachusetts through a variety of programs and initiatives. The HPRP program is administered by more than 20 nonprofits, 2 housing authorities and 1 municipality with strong experience working to end homelessness and providing quality, affordable housing to low-income households. The table below displays the impact of HPRP services for households and individuals:
|Move from Homelessness||984||2,059|
Critical components of HPRP are eviction prevention and shelter diversion. HPRP providers work closely with the housing courts and with local housing authorities to prevent current tenants from being evicted and becoming homeless through short- and medium-term rental assistance, housing relocation and stabilization services, mediation, credit counseling, security or utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, and case management. Since the program began, 3,746 people received case management, legal advice, credit repair and other services to stabilize their situation, enabling them to remain in permanent housing.
Lead Hazard Abatement Program
Technical and financial assistance was provided to de-lead 40 units housing 134 residents, including 51 children. In 10 units, lead poisoned children were present prior to the abatement work. At least 34 of the units were located in communities identified as "High Risk" by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health/Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.