- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
- Housing and Community Development
- Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
- Housing Choice Initiative
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $5 Million in Awards Through Housing Choice Initiative
Samantha Kaufman, Deputy Director of Communications
MELROSE — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced nearly $5 million in awards to 31 communities throughout the Commonwealth through two new grant programs under the Housing Choice Initiative. The Housing Choice Initiative, introduced by Governor Charlie Baker in December 2017, is a comprehensive effort to support the creation of 135,000 new housing units by 2025 to meet the housing needs of Massachusetts’s families, workforce and residents. The Housing Choice Initiative provides incentives, rewards and technical assistance reform to encourage and empower municipalities to plan and build the diverse housing stock that the Commonwealth needs to continue to thrive.
The administration awarded $4 million to 19 communities through the Housing Choice Capital Grant Program, and nearly $1 million to 12 communities through the Housing Choice Small Town Grant Program.
“Our administration is focused on developing a healthy housing market for Massachusetts’ long-term success, with diverse housing options that are affordable for families and residents across the income spectrum,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Housing Choice Initiative is a bold, multi-pronged effort to address the issue, from legislation to grant programs. We are thrilled to celebrate another Housing Choice milestone, and continue to look for opportunities to partner with municipalities to further our shared goals of an inclusive Commonwealth that meets the needs of our residents, and enables them to thrive.”
In July, the administration announced two new, competitive grant programs to provide new resources to communities pursuing high-impact housing and economic development projects. The Housing Choice Capital Grant Program is available for cities and towns designated as Housing Choice Communities, and the Housing Choice Small Town Capital Grant Program is available for towns with populations less than 7,000 people.
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan, Melrose Mayor Gail Infurna, Mattapoisett Town Administrator Michael Gagne, Senator Jason Lewis, Representative Paul Brodeur, MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay and local leaders to celebrate both grant programs.
“Our Housing Choice Initiative is an innovative, ambitious effort to substantially increase housing production across the Commonwealth. I want to recognize all 69 of our Housing Choice Communities, who are committed to promoting new housing development in their communities,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Today’s awards acknowledge the efforts of our municipalities to meet the needs of their communities, and pursue smart, long-term planning to ensure young families are able to put down roots, seniors can age in their community and all of our residents have access to housing they can afford in vibrant, safe neighborhoods.”
“We are thrilled to announce today’s awards, which recognize the unique needs of our small towns and value the efforts of our Housing Choice Communities to promote housing in their communities,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan. “Stable, affordable housing is the foundation for our families to achieve their goals, and we are committed to offering resources that help better connect families to housing and services, and enable municipalities to best meet the needs of their residents.”
“Inclusive housing growth takes hard work, and the Housing Choice Initiative recognizes this, by providing incentives and rewards to communities that are leading efforts to meet the Commonwealth’s housing needs, and by delivering enhanced technical assistance for community-based planning efforts,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “We congratulate today’s grantees on their commitment to meeting the housing needs of their residents, and for their leadership in helping to build a more vibrant and dynamic state.”
"Melrose is known as a great place to live, but we have also worked hard to develop affordable housing so we can remain a diverse community,” said Mayor Gail Infurna. “I am grateful that the Housing Choice initiative has recognized our efforts and is helping us to achieve our goals. Housing is the number one problem facing families in the Commonwealth, and it is an important issue for us here in Melrose."
“I am delighted that Melrose and Reading are able to take advantage of this state funding to improve access to affordable housing in our communities,” said Senator Jason Lewis. “Investing in capital access improvements in Melrose will help keep our seniors in our community, and planning for the future of the New Crossing redevelopment in Reading is a smart step toward serving the needs of residents, businesses, and workers in the community.”
“One of the greatest things about the City of Melrose is its walkability. These state funds I was proud to support in the budget will go a long ways in ensuring safe pedestrian access to one of our busiest neighborhoods,” said State Representative Paul Brodeur.
The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to meeting Massachusetts’ housing challenge through key investments, new initiatives and program reforms. In May, Governor Baker signed a $1.8 billion affordable housing bill to ensure long-term support for the Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive efforts to increase the production of affordable housing, diversify the state’s housing portfolio, modernize public housing, preserve the affordability of existing housing and invest in new, innovative solutions to address Massachusetts’ rising demand for housing. With the addition of the FY19 capital plan, the Administration will have dedicated $884 million to housing from FY16 to FY19, an increase of $100 million over the previous four years’ capital plans.
The Administration’s Housing Choice Initiative, is comprehensive proposal to create 135,000 new housing units by 2025. The legislation, which is currently pending before the Legislature, includes a new set of incentives and rewards for municipalities committed to sustainable housing growth in their communities. The Housing Choice Initiative is a multi-pronged effort that includes a program to designate Housing Choice municipalities and new technical assistance opportunities through MassHousing, in addition to proposed legislative changes that will help deliver smart, effective zoning at the local level.
Additionally, the highly effective MassWorks Infrastructure Program continues to be a key catalyst for housing production, supporting the creation of more than 3,000 housing units. The Open for Business Initiative will drive the production of more than 2,200 units of housing on state land. MassHousing’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative has advanced the development of 2,309 housing units across a range of incomes, including 616 workforce housing units. And, the administration reformed the Housing Development Incentive Program, which is on track to facilitate more than 900 new units in Gateway Cities.
2018 Housing Choice Capital Grant Program Awardees
This award will fund design and construction of improvements for 45 units of affordable housing owned by the Acton Housing Authority. Sidewalks, roads, and parking area are 30 years old and in need of replacement, extension of sidewalk areas and ADA/MAAB compliant features such as ramps and tactile landings.
The town will install 360 feet of 5-foot-wide sidewalk along East Pleasant Street between Village Park Road and Olympia Drive. The new sidewalk will replace an established foot path with an accessible walk that connects to local bus stops and the town center sidewalk system. The project will construct two road crossings with accessible curb cuts and crosswalks, dedicated bus pull offs with shelter and bike racks.
This capital project will supplement a planned and funded upgrade to sewer infrastructure within Downtown Hyannis’ Growth Incentive Zone. Together, comprehensive improvements to the infrastructure will substantially increase the system’s capacity, safety and function. The Pleasant Street Sewer project will upgrade the existing sewer infrastructure located under Pleasant Street in Hyannis to accommodate current and future growth within the sewer service area.
The grant will enable the city to conduct feasibility, design and engineering work to transform the Beverly Depot Train Station area into a Multi-Modal Mobility Hub to consolidate and enhance transportation options for residents.
The project will fund survey, design and wetlands permitting for the construction of 3,400-feet of granite curbing, new sidewalk and associated minor roadway widening and drainage improvements along a portion of Turnpike Road from Warren Ave to Billerica Road. The improvements will connect an existing sidewalk network for the nearby school, the town center and the regional bike trail, to a recently approved 168 unit multi-family development, an existing densely developed residential neighborhood and several potential future housing projects.
Funding will enable the expansion of a recently implemented bike share program in five nearby municipalities. The project includes design and construction of five bike share locations within the city and deploy approximately 36 new electric assist bike share bicycles. The funding will allow the city to become a member of the existing five town consortium and the regional Valley Bike Share Program. The grant covers the full cost of all construction, docking equipment, bicycles and wayfinding.
Funding covers design and engineering plans for Phase II of the Five Corners Sewer project, which will extend the sewer further into Easton, serving commercial and residential properties, and benefit ongoing and planned housing growth.
Grant funds will evaluate, design, and implement the replacement and/or upgrade of the stormwater drainage system in the vicinity of Kendall Street, Freeman Street, Frederick Street, and Howard Street. The city’s Stormwater Master Plan identifies this area as being at high risk, and the new design will increase capacity. The project is in the vicinity of the first Transit-Oriented Development housing project in the downtown, and will benefit this project and other planned growth.
The grant fills a funding gap for the Phase II O'Connell Park Renovation project. The park currently benefits residents in this densely populated neighborhood and improvements will provide users of all ages and abilities with green space and a safe space for healthy activity, socialization and community events. This will provide a diverse range of park amenities that will increase healthy and active living behaviors among residents. Park improvements include: path realignment and reconstruction to meet ADA compliance and correct safety hazards, construction of multi-purpose courts and volleyball courts and replacement of outdated playground equipment with an all-abilities playground.
This award will enable the complete replacement of the Littleton Fire Department's self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for all seated positions within their fleet of fire apparatus. The SCBA cylinders for the Littleton Fire Department will be 15 years old in 2019. During our last test in April 2018, the testing service confirmed that they have reached their useful life.
The City of Melrose will use the grant to make safety and accessibility improvements, including ADA accessibility upgrades to Cherry Street, an important east-west thoroughfare in Melrose. Cherry Street provides a major connection between the Main Street downtown and business area and points west, especially for the elderly population living in and around the new assisted living facility on Essex Street.
Grant funds will repave Pleasant Street, nearby downtown streets and repair sidewalks, as part of the city's Complete Streets/Vision Zero efforts. The city redeveloped Pleasant Street as a complete street in 2017, adding sidewalks, curb extensions, cycle tracks and a raised intersection. This was done to make the street more pedestrian and bicycle friendly and in line with the Vision Zero goal, where no pedestrian or bicycle fatalities are acceptable.
The grant will create two new ADA accessible units at Harbor Hill in Provincetown. The Town of Provincetown acquired the property, a 26 unit condominium development formerly operated as a timeshare development. The town appropriated $10 million towards the acquisition and renovation of this development to provide quality affordable year-round rental housing to middle income households in Provincetown.
Grant funds will create three fully-accessible housing units in an existing public housing development owned by the Quincy Housing Authority through the Sawyer Tower Accessible Units Conversion project. The project will bring the total number of units in the development from 150 to 153. Funds from the Housing Choice Capital Grant Program will cover construction and development costs associated with the project.
Funding will allow Reading to undertake a community visioning process for a priority redevelopment area known as the New Crossing Road Redevelopment District. The area’s potential has been identified by the town, and a consultant will be hired to evaluate the district including in regards to infrastructure needs, market trends, existing property, potential necessary zoning changes, wetlands issues, development potential and more to best leverage the existing asset.
The town will use grant funding to finish renovations at Partridge Brook Park, including a concession stand, irrigation, playground, and security cameras, to benefit new residents and the town’s increased housing stock. This high priority project was identified in the town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan 2013-2016, the Board of Selectmen Prioritization Plan for 2018 and the DPW Capital Improvement Plan.
Grant funds will advance the city's existing preliminary design studies and prepare full construction documents for the Gilman Square Streetscape & Intersection Reconstruction Project. The project will slow automobile traffic through Gilman Square, help to connect the new Green Line light-rail station with the Square, allow development of new civic green spaces in to support and produce two new development sites in Gilman Square. This project will further the city's goals of adding 125 acres of new green space city-wide by 2030 and of developing new affordable housing adjacent to the new Green Line station.
Grant funding will create new amenities at the Liberty & Union Plaza Park in downtown Taunton dedicated to Richard DeWert, a Korean War hero from Taunton who was Killed in Action. This project implements recommendations in the Downtown Taunton District Master Plan, funded by MassDevelopment, which provided concepts for park renovations. The park rehabilitation will reactivate the space in the most efficient, safe, and maintainable way possible.
The grant will pay for necessary dispatch equipment and installation at a new, $5 million police facility, funded by the town. New dispatch equipment will include antenna systems at the new site and relay improvements back to additional controls that will remain at Williamstown's Town Hall.
2018 Housing Choice Small Town Grant Program Awardees
This award will fund a traffic engineering study for the Route 140/Sewall Street intersection. This project will consider reconfiguring the layout for better traffic flows associated with the proposed development of 66 units of apartments affecting the North Sewall Street intersection, a recently approved 30-unit Senior Residential Development on South Sewall Street and a 57 lot subdivision that is nearing completion.
Grant funding will enable improvements to the Broggsville Water District, which serves 68 housing-units. Improvements will include the purchase and installation of a master meter, onsite generator, propane tank, and a raw water tap/spigot for raw water testing prior to treatment. The Town has an interested business looking to locate in Clarksburg at the former Strong-Hewat Mill Complex, which requires a dependable source of water, and these improvements will benefit future growth in the area.
The grant will support construction and installation of water lines and related infrastructure associated with construction of the Campbell-Purcell affordable housing development which is a 65-unit multifamily rental development that caters to a range of incomes for families and seniors. The project has a variety of state and local funding sources. Of the 65-units in the community, 50-units will serve individuals and families earning up to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and 15 will serve as workforce housing for individuals and families earning up to 120% of AMI. Seven units will be designated for formerly homeless individuals and three units will be reserved for Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities.
The town will use these funds for road construction and related infrastructure to create four affordable units with the non-profit Construct, Inc. Two houses are being donated by a developer in neighboring town, and will be placed on town-owned land and converted into two duplexes, resulting in four affordable, deed-restricted units. These will be the first affordable homes on the town’s Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI).
Great Barrington, $100,000
This grant will fund the rehabilitation of streets in the core of its downtown and fill a budget gap in the long-planned downtown street improvements project, funded in part by a 2015 MassWorks Infrastructure Program award. The streets included in the project are Bridge Street, School Street, Church Street, Bentley Avenue and the "Taconic" parking lot in the downtown. The area is central to more than $110 million in investment in mixed-use developments supporting over 100 multifamily housing-units and 160,000 square-feet of commercial space.
The project meets an urgent need to replace a leaking water line that services 75-units of mixed income housing at the Mountain View Apartments. The service line is connected to the Hadley public water supply system and developed a break, which now leaks an estimated 20,000 gallons of water daily. The repair will involve directional boring of new pipe and connecting the new pipe to the public water system and the remaining private service line, and abandoning the damaged pipe in place.
The grant will provide design and engineering of a new public water line connecting to a public water source for five houses that are downgradient of the closed and capped Leverett Landfill. This is the first step to provide a permanent solution to this longer term public health and housing problem. Quarterly testing of untreated domestic well water, as required by DEP as part of the landfill closure, shows detectable volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other contaminants, primarily iron and manganese, in the private well water at these houses.
The grant will allow the Mattapoisett Housing Authority to purchase and install a complete backup generator for a 53-unit apartment complex owned by the Housing Authority, which serves low income senior citizens and adults with special needs. These apartments are roughly 45 years old and heated with electric heat. Over the course of the past dozen or so years both during the winter and summer the complex goes without out power for days due to hurricane conditions or severe winter storms, causing long term power outages.
The grant will fund a site readiness study and public water supply analysis on a town-owned parcel with 3 acres of developable land, which might support 40 to 50 units of new housing. The town purchased the parcel with Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds with the intention of seeking developers for an affordable housing development. The analysis should increase the project's likelihood of success and make it more attractive to potential developers.
This project will solve a water infrastructure problem for the town through the construction of replacement water mains on public property connecting 11 homes to a newly installed booster pump. The town will substantially improve fire safety, water quality and water pressure issues that currently affect these homes.
Funds will be used for analysis, streetscape design and cost estimates for the School Street ADA Improvements & Infrastructure Design Project and the design and construction of a manhole on School Street. This project will implement a portion of the town’s Complete Streets Prioritization Plan and support new residential development near School Street. School Street provides pedestrian, bicycle and auto access between the proposed 33 unit senior affordable housing and the town center.
This award will enable the non-profit Island Housing Trust Corporation (IHT) to install and monitor a new wastewater treatment system at the IHT's Greenwood Avenue property where it plans to construct six townhouses for low and moderate income households with permanent affordability restrictions. This project furthers the town's goals of increasing affordable housing and reducing nitrogen from private wastewater systems and the Tashmoo watershed.