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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards $5 Million in Capital Grants to Communities Committed to Housing Production

14 Communities Receive Housing Choice Designation, Gain Eligibility for Future Grants
For immediate release:
3/31/2021
  • 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 Awards $5 Million in Capital Grants to Communities Committed to Housing Production

Michael Verseckes, Director of Media and Public Relations

Governor Baker in Quincy to announce Housing Choice grants and designations.

QUINCYToday, Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy joined Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano, Senator John Keenan, and Quincy Mayor Tom Koch to award $5 million in capital grants to 28 communities under the Housing Choice Initiative and present 14 communities with Housing Choice designations. Today’s event was held at the future home of the Father Bill's & MainSpring Housing Resource Center, which has received both a Housing Choice Community Capital Grant and a supportive housing award.   

The Administration announced the re-designation of six Housing Choice Communities (Ayer, Burlington, Franklin, Hingham, Newton, and Wrentham), and also announced that eight new communities (Great Barrington, Holliston, Lincoln, Lynn, Maynard, Millbury, Walpole, and Wellesley) have qualified to join the program. This important designation recognizes communities that have made substantial progress toward housing development goals and the implementation of housing best practices to encourage sustainable development. In addition, the designation makes Housing Choice communities eligible for certain state grants. Today’s announcement brings the total number of current Housing Choice Communities to 78 across the Commonwealth, including the City of Quincy. 

“We are grateful to the 78 communities that have earned Housing Choice Community designations and their ongoing commitment to building new housing and their promotion of best practices,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As we continue to take steps to address our housing crisis, these capital and small-town grants paired with the Housing Choice zoning reforms signed into law in January will support even more communities be a part of the solution.” 

“The need for more housing has never been more apparent and thanks to the Housing Choice Initiative, we can provide specialized tools and resources to assist with production and continue making progress toward our housing goals,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The pandemic has sharpened our focus on creating more housing, and we applaud the latest Housing Choice Communities for stepping up to create the kind of housing that meet the needs of residents.” 

The Housing Choice Community Capital Grant Program funds infrastructure improvements in those communities that have shown commitment to advancing sustainable housing production. Recognizing that small towns face different challenges, the Housing Choice Initiative also set aside funding for a competitive Small Town Capital Grant Program exclusively for towns with populations under 7,000. 

The awards announced today will provide nearly $4.3 million to 19 municipalities and $717,761 to nine small towns across the state to support high-impact, smaller-scale local capital improvement projects that will create new housing units, undertake feasibility studies to expand affordable housing, and design and construct crucial projects such as sidewalks, roads, storm drainage, and water/sewer infrastructure. 

The City of Quincy will use Housing Choice grant funding to cover portions of design and engineering services for the Father Bill's & MainSpring Housing Resource Center that will be built across from the organization’s current shelter for homeless individuals. This new multi-use facility will incorporate approximately 100 shelter beds, onsite supportive services, a respite care area, food preparation and dining facilities, administrative offices, and a clinic. DHCD will support this project with $4 million in subsidy funds. 

“Through the Housing Choice Initiative, we can give an extra boost to our partner cities and towns that are working to address challenges like the need for drainage improvements, water and sewer connections, and sidewalks, that might otherwise have stood in the way of housing production,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.  “Combined with zoning reforms and direct investment, the Housing Choice Initiative is a key element in our housing strategy, and I want to express my deep gratitude for the communities that are helping solve this crisis.” 

“We are thrilled to support these communities who have worked hard to promote housing on the local level,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox. “Our Community Services Division is an incredible asset for municipal officials and local leaders who are dedicated to making smart, thoughtful, and future-oriented decisions on zoning, infrastructure, and other issues. These are the decisions that closely affect the quality-of-life in our cities and towns, and I am happy to welcome more communities into our Housing Choice Initiative.” 

“We know people want to live in Massachusetts – and our housing stock is coming up short. The Massachusetts House is committed to continue working on boosting housing production, and doing so in a strategic and equitable manner across all our cities and towns,” said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano. “The Capital Grants being awarded today build on the many housing efforts the Legislature prioritized last session. I am pleased that Quincy will be directing these funds to the development of Father Bill’s future home, which will allow them to build a new model of housing and services.” 

“Father Bill’s and MainSpring has long provided critical resources to prevent homelessness in southern Massachusetts. With capital funds from the Housing Choice grant program, it will be able to serve a greater population, in more ways than before, through the new multi-use facility,” said Senator John Keenan, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing. 

"Father Bill's & MainSpring are an invaluable resource and advocate for our community. Their innovative work in not only providing stable housing, but also in their efforts in intervention and prevention work are critical to our community members facing homelessness,” said Representative Tackey Chan. “This grant money will make their new facilities a reality and allow their work to be more broad-reaching." 

“Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito understand how important the future Father Bill’s and Mainspring Housing Resource Center is to the City of Quincy and to the members of our community members in the most dire need of housing assistance,” said Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch. “This Housing Choice Community Capital Grant will make a real difference in turning this vision into reality.” 

“We want to end homelessness, not manage it — and the Housing Resource Center will move us closer to that goal,” said FBMS President & CEO John Yazwinski. “The HRC is a solutions-based, proactive approach that meets individuals further upstream in their housing crisis. By investing in day services that re-house homeless individuals more quickly and prevent more people from entering shelter, we will lower public costs, reduce reliance on shelter beds and downtown spaces, and provide our neighbors in need with stability and a pathway to self-sufficiency. Thank you to Governor Charlie Baker and his administration, Speaker Ron Mariano and the Quincy state delegation, and Mayor Thomas Koch and the Quincy City Council for supporting this innovative approach. Together, our community is taking a leap forward in our fight to end homelessness.” 

Launched by Governor Charlie Baker in 2017 to increase housing production by empowering municipalities to lead on local development, the Housing Choice Initiative includes technical assistance, a community designation with access to capital grant programs, and legislation making targeted zoning reforms that he signed into law in January 2021. The initiative was introduced with the goal to support the production of 135,000 new housing units by 2025. 
  
The Housing Choice Designation recognizes communities that have met simple, flexible goals towards implementing housing best practices, met specific housing production goals, or both. The designation gives municipalities access to new financial resources, including exclusive access to Housing Choice Capital Grants, and preferential treatment for many state grant and capital funding programs, including MassWorks, Complete Streets, MassDOT capital projects, and PARC and LAND grants. 

The Baker-Polito Administration has shown a deep commitment to increasing the production of housing across all income levels. Since 2015, the administration has invested more than $1.4 billion in affordable housing, resulting in the production and preservation of more than 20,000 housing units, including 18,000 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. This year, Governor Baker signed economic development legislation titled An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth that includes substantial new funding for affordable and climate-resilient housing, as well as targeted zoning reforms to advance new housing production. The administration has also supported the development of more than 17,000 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. 

Capital Grant Awards 

Community 

Project Description 

Award Amount 

Acton 

The Town of Acton will use funding toward a feasibility study and design services for the proposed project at 348-364 Main Street to examine and layout the extension of the sewer main line to the site of Acton Housing Authority senior, rental, affordable housing and construction of sewer and water connections for the proposed Residences at Kelley’s Corner. 

 $233,819  

 

Amherst 

The Town of Amherst will use funding to construct a fully accessible 8-10' wide multi-use path along Mill Lane from Route 116 to the recently renovated Groff Park.   

 $174,300  

 

Andover 

The Town of Andover will use funds to support their Downtown and Municipal Connectivity Project that will provide safe, sustainable and improved connections between an existing and a future affordable housing development.   

 $250,000  

 

Ayer 

The Town of Ayer will use funding for an engineering survey/design plan, and cost estimate/schedule for a 1,000 linear ft. section of Park Street, the construction of an ADA-compliant sidewalk system, introduction of traffic-calming on-street parking, and re-location of obstructive public utility poles. 

 $108,000  

 

Chelsea 

The City of Chelsea will use funding for a proposed capital project focused on pedestrian enhancements along Orange Street, directly adjacent to a new, neighborhood scale housing opportunity on two City owned parcels and to an existing Chelsea Housing Authority complex and other dense, residential dwellings.  

 $250,000  

 

Easton 

The Town of Easton will direct funding toward complete streets improvements (pedestrian, bicycle, & transit accommodations), intersection upgrades, replacement of 3 culverts, & new storm water infrastructure for approximately 1.3 miles of Foundry Street. 

 $225,000  

 

Franklin 

The Town of Franklin will use funding for engineering services related to the evaluation and design of a new booster pumping station and water main extension, and the removal of an outdated water pumping station. 

 $201,000  

 

Lawrence 

The City of Lawrence will use funding to modernize and enhance the security systems and cameras at the Lawrence Housing Authority's exterior and perimeter identified as "hot spots" for crime and the spread of COVID-19.   

 $250,000  

 

Littleton 

The Town of Littleton will use funding to extend municipal infrastructure to connect to Hager Homestead, a new multi-family senior housing development that includes both market rate and affordable units.   

 $225,000  

 

Medfield 

The Town of Medfield will direct funding toward engineering and design of intersection improvements at the Route 27 (North Meadows Road) and West Street intersection. 

 $160,500  

 

Nantucket 

The Town of Nantucket will use funding to support the proposed Waitt Drive roadway connector serving approximately 10 new parcels and a 64-unit affordable housing complex.  

 $250,000  

 

Newburyport 

As part of the redevelopment of the Brown School, the City of Newburyport will use funding for the removal and replacement of the boiler system as well as toward renovations to other building systems necessary to make adaptive, reuse of the building for housing units and city services.  

 $234,620  

 

Northampton 

The City of Northampton will use funding for the engineering, pre-construction, and infrastructure necessary to develop 25 affordable housing units at two City sites at the former Northampton State Hospital.   

 $250,000  

 

Quincy 

The City of Quincy has designated funds to support portions of the design and engineering services for the planned Father Bill's & MainSpring Housing Resource Center, a new model of housing and services.  

 $250,000  

 

Salem 

The City of Salem will direct funding toward construction services to replace 1,400 feet of a 100-year-old water main below Bridge Street between Boston Street and Flint Street.  

 $250,000  

 

Salisbury 

The Town of Salisbury will use grant funds for the Forest Road residential neighborhood infrastructure project to design, permit, and begin construction of 4,200 linear feet of proposed roadway and sidewalk improvements. 

 $250,000  

 

Somerville 

The City of Somerville will use funds for the Gilman Square Streetscape & Intersection project to re-align the high-speed, uncontrolled intersection of Medford and Pearl Street adjacent to the new MBTA Green Line station.  

 $250,000  

 

Taunton 

The City of Taunton will direct funds toward the reconstruction of 2,500 linear feet of concrete sidewalks along both sides of Weir Street in the city’s downtown.  

 $250,000  

 

Tewksbury 

The Town of Tewskbury will use funding to construct sidewalks along Main Street from Colonial Drive to Victor Drive servicing the 192-unit Balsam Place rental project completed in 2018 in addition to 109 40B units at Orchard Street, Fahey Place and Village Green. 

 $220,000  

 

 

Small Town Awards 

 

Community 

Project Description 

Award Amount 

Chatham 

The Town of Chatham will use funding to conduct a feasibility study on a 19-acre property located in South Chatham on Middle Road to determine if any potential development hurtles exist. The feasibility study will allow the Town to move forward with creating a plan to develop this site for year-round affordable housing.    

 $50,000  

Groveland 

The Town of Groveland will use funding for a Water Supply Planning Treatment Facility Feasibility Study. Due to the limitations on Well No. 3 from elevated manganese levels and continued water demand pressures due to development in Groveland, a review of the Town's water supply needs and a water treatment facility feasibility study is required. 

 $34,400  

Merrimac 

The Town of Merrimac will direct funds toward the design and construction project to replace 1,100 linear feet of an existing 6-inch diameter cast iron water main within the Mill Street public way with a new 8-inch diameter ductile iron, cement lined water main.   

 $100,000  

Oak Bluffs 

The Town of Oak Bluffs will use funds for infrastructure to convert an unoccupied retail space in a town-owned property into two affordable housing units.  

 $97,000  

Princeton 

The Town of Princeton will direct funding toward the Thomas Prince Elementary School Infrastructure Improvements Project, including the milling and paving of a 67,500 square foot parking lot. 

 $100,000  

Shelburne 

The Town of Shelburne will use funds to continue its work with DPC Consulting to complete Phase III of its district I/I Study and other collection system requirements as required by the Department of Environmental Protection; specifically to pursue remediation of fractures found. 

 $93,000  

Southampton 

The Town of Southampton will use funding for the acquisition of an inactive railroad corridor, 3.5-miles in length from the town line with Easthampton to the center of Southampton. The Town intends to design this multi-use trail in a corridor linking Easthampton’s Manhan Trail and connecting to the Westfield Columbia Greenway.  

 $100,000  

Sunderland 

The Town of Sunderland will use funding to replace an existing storm drain and support 33 units of affordable senior housing being developed at 120 North Main Street. 

 $43,361  

West Tisbury 

The Town of West Tisbury will direct funding toward infrastructure for a project that will create two permanently affordable rental apartments on public land owned with a 51-year ground lease by the Town of West Tisbury to the Island Housing Trust. The project addresses the critical need for affordable housing identified by the Town of West Tisbury. 

 $100,000  

 

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $5 Million in Capital Grants to Communities Committed to Housing Production

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development 

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development promotes vibrant communities, growing businesses, and a strong middle class.

Housing and Community Development 

DHCD oversees funding and resources to help people in Massachusetts live affordably and safely.

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

Housing Choice Initiative 

The Housing Choice Initiative provides incentives, rewards, technical assistance and targeted legislative reform to encourage and empower municipalities to plan and build the diverse housing stock that the Commonwealth needs to continue to thrive
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