Community Scale Housing Initiative (CSHI)

The CSHI is a joint initiative of DHCD and MassHousing, providing funding for small scale projects, in municipalities with a population of no more than 200,000.

Eligible Activities and Affordability Requirements

Both non-profit and for-profit developers are eligible to apply for CSHI funds.  

  • The project will include at least 5 rental units, but no more than 20 rental units.
  • The project must be new production (new construction or adaptive re-use) resulting in additional affordable rental units.  This initiative is not intended to support occupied preservation projects.
  • CSHI affordable units will be targeted to households at or below 80% of AMI.  
  • A minimum of 20% of the total units must qualify as CSHI affordable units.  However, both DHCD and MassHousing expect that most proposed projects will have a minimum of 50% of such units.  CSHI funding will be made available only to support the CSHI eligible units.

Funding Limits

  • Sources of funding available are
    • $5 million from DHCD’s Housing Stabilization Fund
    • $5 million from MassHousing’s Opportunity Fund.
  • The CSHI subsidy requested may not exceed $200,000 per CSHI unit, assuming the sponsor is not requesting DHCD project-based rental assistance.  However, if the sponsor also intends to seek DHCD project-based rental assistance, the CSHI subsidy may not exceed $150,000 per CSHI unit.  
  • There is a $1 million maximum for the CSHI per project.
  • The total development cost per unit for CSHI projects may not exceed $350,000.
  • The project must be financially feasible without federal 9%, federal 4%, or State low income housing tax credits, or any other State housing resources that have not been previously committed and are not available in this NOFA.

Loan Terms

CSHI funds will be made available to selected projects through deferred payment loans.

Assuming a project is meeting its CSHI requirements under the applicable legal documents,

  • the deferred payment loan will have no interest or principal payments during its term
  • and will be due in full at the end of its 50 year loan term.   

Project Evaluation Criteria

In general, the evaluation criteria for all applications include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • There must be a financial commitment for the project from the host community.
  • The project must have received all funding commitments, except those which are being applied for in this funding round.
  • Percentage of units to be reserved as affordable   
  • Strength of overall concept
  • Strength of development team
  • Submission of a third party market study demonstrating market demand for all units in the project   
  • Evidence of satisfactory progress on projects previously funded by DHCD and/or financed by and/or regulated by MassHousing
  • Appropriate design for the project that promotes green building standards and increased accessibility    
  • Appropriate total development costs
  • Evidence of readiness to proceed.  Projects that receive awards are expected to close and proceed to construction within 12 months of the date of the award letter

How to Apply

CSHI uses the OneStop application process, with pre-applications due by the deadline in the current NOFA.

Sponsors who have received authorization subsequent to review of their pre-applications may submit a full application seeking CSHI funds to DHCD by close of business on the deadline in the current NOFA.

The link to the application system is

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