- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
- Housing and Community Development
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Funding to Advance New Affordable Housing in Four Communities
Colleen Arons , Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
DRACUT — Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Undersecretary Janelle Chan, MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay and local officials to celebrate the third round of the Community Scale Housing Initiative (CSHI). The announcement was made in Dracut, where Coalition for a Better Acre will partner with Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and Veterans Assisting Veterans to undertake the transformation of a former school building into nine units of affordable housing with a preference for veterans.
CSHI is a joint initiative between DHCD and MassHousing, introduced in 2017, that provides funding to produce smaller scale affordable housing developments. This year, the program will award $4.2 million in direct subsidy funding to advance four projects to produce 40 new rental units, including 30 affordable units.
“The Commonwealth’s housing needs are diverse and urgent, and we have established new programs, like the Community Scale Housing Initiative and our Housing Choice Initiative, to more effectively partner with cities and towns,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “More projects like those receiving awards today in Dracut, Fall River, Hyannis, and Westford will be possible and all of the tools in the state's housing toolkit will be more effective if we remove burdensome barriers to housing production by passing our Housing Choice Legislation.”
CSHI will provide up to $10 million in funding for projects in communities with populations fewer than 200,000 for projects that will create between five and 20 new affordable units. Since 2017, the initiative has awarded $9.4 million and advanced 108 new housing units in 10 communities across the Commonwealth. All of today’s projects have also received local funding and support from their home community.
“We understand there is no single solution to Massachusetts’ housing crisis, and we remain committed to pursuing strategies to substantially ramp up housing production across the state,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The Community Scale Housing Initiative is a great example of the kind of active, ongoing partnership that we have established with municipalities to ensure they are addressing the specific needs of their communities.”
“Massachusetts’ housing shortage continues to be a major concern for our region’s top employers, and negatively affects our ability to maintain our highly skilled workforce,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Our administration has invested more than $1 billion in the affordable housing ecosystem, supported new housing production through MassWorks, the Housing Development Incentive Program and through our Housing Choice Initiative to boost production so households across the income spectrum can find housing they can afford.”
The initiative builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to increase housing production of all types, including new market-rate development in Gateway Cities through the Housing Development Incentive Program and new capital grants to encourage production through the Housing Choice Initiative. MassHousing also provides Planning for Production technical assistance grants to bolster local planning capacity by assisting municipalities in implementing housing production goals to deliver new, mixed-income housing developments.
“DHCD works with cities and towns of all sizes to help them advance development that makes sense for them, connecting them with the resources and programs that will support their goals,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan.“We are proud to announce today’s awards through the Community Scale Housing Initiative and to move along important projects that will benefit residents and neighborhoods.”
“The Community Scale Housing Initiative allows communities of any size to develop new, mixed-income housing that is appropriate for their city or town,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “New housing is a key part of creating economic opportunities for residents across the Commonwealth.”
“With the generous support of the Baker-Polito Administration through the Department of Housing and Community Development's Community Scale Housing Initiative grant of $1,800,000, the Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA), partnering with the Town of Dracut, will be able to help Dracut meet the critical need for affordable housing, historic preservation and enhance Dracut’s commitment to veterans and their families. The Town of Dracut has provided significant support to the project by conveying the property, a $373,000 asset, to the CBA for $1 and committed investing $1,211,000 in Community Preservation Funds,” said Ann Vandal, Dracut Town Manager
“Coalition for a Better Acre is incredibly excited to partner with the Town of Dracut, DHCD, Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, and Veterans Assisting Veterans on the Dracut Centre School project. The Community Scale Housing Initiative is a great program that can help unlock the redevelopment of smaller projects,” said Yun-Ju Choi, Executive Director, Coalition for a Better Acre. “CBA has been building housing for 37 years in the Merrimack Valley but we could not be more thrilled that our first project in Dracut is the adaptive reuse of a historic schoolhouse that will one day house veterans and veteran families.”
“The Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNOC) has a mission to provide the highest quality of professional service to assist support and advocate for all Veterans and their families. To achieve this mission, it is imperative that build strong partnerships with the Commonwealth, Housing and Community Development and organization like Coalition for a Better Acre as well as local Communities officials and their Veterans Service Officer,” said Chief Edward V. Mitchell, USN (Ret), Executive Director, Veterans Northeast Outreach Center. “Through this partnership we can provide our Veterans and their families with a stable environment (a place they can call home). Then with the supportive services of the VNOC they can receive any needed assistance to help ensure that they can maintain their lifestyle and move forward.”
“As Dracut’s State Senator, my office receives calls on a weekly basis from those seeking access to affordable housing, including veterans who are facing health or financial challenges from their time serving our country. This project is going to make such a difference to them and their families, and it will ensure that veterans are able to stay in the community that they selflessly served. I am grateful to the Town of Dracut, the Coalition for a Better Acre, Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, and Veterans Assisting Veterans for the work they’ve done to take the project this far, and I want to thank the Department of Housing and Community Development and MassHousing for the funding that will make it a reality,” said Senator Barry R. Finegold
“The Preservation and re-utilization of the former Dracut Centre School/Town Hall Annex is so important to many lifelong residents of Dracut. My grandfather, my mother and my younger sister, all attended elementary school there. It is part of Dracut's history and now it will be part of the future for deserving veterans and their families,” said Representative Colleen M. Garry
The Baker-Polito Administration has shown a deep commitment to increasing the production of housing across income levels. Since 2015, the administration has invested more than $1 billion in affordable housing, resulting in the production and preservation of more than 17,000 housing units, including 15,000 affordable units. In 2018, Governor Baker signed the largest housing bond bill in Massachusetts history, committing more than $1.8 billion to the future of affordable housing production and preservation. The administration has also advanced the development of more than 11,000 mixed-income housing units through the successful MassWorks Infrastructure Program, reformed the Housing Development Incentive Program, and worked with communities to implement smart-growth development and planning efforts.
Legislation filed by Governor Baker in February, An Act to Promote Housing Choices, calls for targeted zoning reform to advance new housing production in Massachusetts and support the administration’s goal to produce 135,000 new housing units by 2025.
2019 Community Scale Housing Initiative Awards:
Dracut Town Hall Annex in Dracut is a nine-unit historic re-use of a former elementary school. The non-profit sponsor is Coalition for a Better Acre, in partnership with Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and Veterans Assisting Veterans. The completed project will offer nine affordable units with a preference for veterans as future residents. DHCD and MassHousing are supporting the project with $1.8 million. The Town of Dracut has committed a total of $1,211,000 in CPA funds to this project.
Downtown Lofts in Fall River is a 16-unit historic rehabilitation project located in downtown Fall River. The project sponsor is Anthony Cordeiro; the project consultant is Ken Fiola of Bristol County Economic Development Consultants. The sponsor’s plan is to convert an existing historic office building into mixed-income housing. DHCD and MassHousing will support the project with $1.3 million in funds awarded through the Community Scale Housing Initiative (CSHI). The city of Fall River also will support Downtown Lofts with its own funds, including CPA funds. When completed, Downtown Lofts will offer four market rate units, ten units with rents set at 80% of area median income, and two affordable units.
57 Ridgewood Avenue in Hyannis is an eight-unit, modular construction, mixed-income housing project. The sponsor is the non-profit Housing Assistance Corporation. When completed, the project will include six market-rate units and two units affordable to households earning less than 80% of area median income (AMI). DHCD and MassHousing are providing $250,000 in support of the project. The Town of Barnstable is providing $200,000 in CPA funds and $350,000 in AHT funds to support 57 Ridgewood Avenue.
Carlisle Road Senior Housing in Westford is a seven-unit, modular construction, affordable housing project. The sponsor is Clark Property Development, Inc. The project will be managed by the Chelmsford Housing Authority, with supportive services coordinated by CHOICE, Inc. The completed project will offer seven efficiency-style units for residents with incomes under 50% of AMI as well as common space with a full kitchen and dining room. DHCD and MassHousing are supporting the project with $851,091. The Town of Westford also is supporting the project with $175,000 in local funds.