The highlight of the year for affordable housing production and preservation occurred on July 18th with the announcement of funding awards in the annual rental housing funding round to 28 affordable housing projects in Massachusetts. When Governor Baker signed the $1.8 billion Housing Bond bill last year – the largest the state has ever seen – it was clear that the Baker-Polito Administration was committed to providing high-quality affordable housing to communities throughout the Commonwealth. The Governor, joined by Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Michael Kennealy, Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development Janelle Chan, state and local officials and project developers, announced the new funding awards, totaling $118 million, in his hometown of Swampscott, where a new project developed by B’nai B’rith Housing is located. This funding will preserve or produce 1,581 rental units, including 1,349 affordable units. Over twenty percent, or 273 of these units, will be set aside for extremely low-income households with incomes no greater than 30% of the area median income.
“We are pleased to announce these Affordable Rental Housing Awards to advance the production and preservation of more than 1,500 rental housing units throughout the state,” said Governor Charlie Baker in the press release announcing the awards. “Housing is both a valuable tool and critical precursor for economic development, and these projects will provide stability to many households in need,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito in the same announcement.
CEDAC works closely with DHCD to stimulate the production of affordable housing among the state’s robust non-profit community development sector, both through its early stage financing and technical assistance program, as well as its management of three supportive housing bond programs: the Housing Innovations Fund (HIF), the Facilities Consolidation Fund (FCF), and the Community Based Housing (CBH) program.
To date, CEDAC has committed over $3.9 million of early stage predevelopment and/or acquisition financing to nine of the projects receiving awards. A brief summary of these nine projects follows:
- Cabot Street (Beverly) – The non-profit YMCA of the North Shore, with their development consultant Harborlight Community Partners, will rehabilitate and expand 45 existing single room occupancy (SRO) units into studio apartments and construct 24 new units in the central business district of Beverly. All units will be affordable, restricted for individuals earning less than 60% of area median income (AMI), with 20 units restricted for extremely low-income individuals. CEDAC has committed more than $195,000 in predevelopment funding to the project, and the development received HIF and FCF resources.
- Bartlett Station Building A (Boston) – A part of a multi-phase redevelopment of a former MBTA site in Roxbury, Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation is producing 42 new rental units, with 12 focused on extremely low-income households. CEDAC has provided $400,000 in predevelopment financing to this phase of the multi-phase development.
- Dudley Terrace Apartments (Boston) – Located in Dorchester, Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation will preserve the long-term affordability of 56 rental units. Twenty units will be restricted for extremely low-income households, including formerly homeless individuals and families. CEDAC has committed $200,000 in predevelopment funding, and the project will receive FCF funding.
- Parcel 25 Phase 2 (Boston) – Mission Hill Neighborhood Housing Services is building 46 new units of transit-oriented housing for families located in Mission Hill adjacent to the Roxbury Crossing station on the MBTA’s Orange Line. Eight units will be focused on extremely low-income families, including formerly homeless households. CEDAC has committed $397,000 in predevelopment financing to this phase, and the project will receive CBH funds.
- Harbor Village (Gloucester) – A mixed-use project consisting of affordable rental units and commercial space in Gloucester’s downtown, North Shore Community Development Coalition, along with its nonprofit local partner Action Inc., will construct 30 new housing units with eight units restricted for extremely low-income households. CEDAC has provided the project a total of $1.4 million in acquisition and predevelopment financing, including $250,000 in low interest capital from the Home Funders Collaborative. The project will receive CBH and HIF funds.
- Sirk and Chestnut Square Redevelopment (Lowell) – A preservation project sponsored by The Caleb Foundation, Sirk and Chestnut Square will rehabilitate 87 units of affordable housing, eight of which will be restricted for extremely low-income households. CEDAC has committed $100,000 in predevelopment financing for this project.
- Terrapin Ridge (Sandwich) – The Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development is building 30 new units of affordable housing for families, with 14 units designated for extremely low-income households. CEDAC has committed $400,000 in predevelopment funding for this project, including $238,500 in low interest capital from the Home Funders Collaborative. The development has received CBH funds and HIF financing.
- Cole Avenue (Williamstown) – Berkshire Housing Development Corp is developing 41 newly-constructed units of affordable housing on a town-owned, former industrial site near the Hoosic River. Eight of the units will be designated for extremely low-income households. CEDAC has committed $400,000 in predevelopment financing, and the project will receive CBH and HIF funding.
- 126 Chandler (Worcester) – Worcester Common Ground will revitalize a long-vacant mill building to construct new affordable units in Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood. The project will offer 31 total affordable housing units, nine of which will be restricted to extremely low-income households. CEDAC has committed $150,000 in acquisition funding and $305,000 in predevelopment financing, and the development will receive CBH funding.
In addition to these nine projects, CEDAC will work with several additional projects who received funding awards of HIF, FCF, or CBH funds, including these three exciting CDC or local housing authority-sponsored projects:
- Holtzer Park (Boston) – Urban Edge will be building 62 new units of transit-oriented housing for families in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, with 13 of those units focused on extremely low-income households, including formerly homeless families. The project will receive CBH, FCF and HIF financing.
- Old Colony Phase Three B4 (Boston) – the Boston Housing Authority is working with Beacon Communities Development LLC on an ongoing redevelopment of an 840+ unit public housing project in South Boston. When the project is completed, this phase will offer 88 total affordable units. Nine of the units will be restricted for extremely low-income households, including formerly homeless families. CBH funding has been committed to this project.
- St. Therese Condo I and St. Therese Condo II (Everett) – Both are part of a two-phase new construction project by The Neighborhood Developers (TND), its first affordable housing project in the city of Everett. When completed, St. Therese Condo I will feature 44 units, all of which will be affordable to seniors, with eight units further restricted for extremely low-income seniors. St. Therese Condo II will feature 33 units, all of which will be affordable to seniors, with six available to extremely low-income seniors. Both phases will receive CBH and HIF funds.
This announcement was made close to an awarded project that is a good example of affordable housing and social services going hand-in-hand: Senior Residences at the Machon. B’nai B’rith Housing will convert a former elementary school into 38 new units of senior housing, 8 of which will be reserved for extremely low-income households, and will provide long-term, onsite support services to its residents. This is one of the first projects to be built in Swampscott after the town created its first-ever Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 2017, and it will allow seniors from the community to age in place.
Many of the projects receiving funding awards have incorporated supportive housing for certain target populations into these larger developments. The Administration has promoted collaboration between the state’s housing and human services agencies to increase the production of supportive housing to serve vulnerable populations. The Massachusetts Executive Offices of Health and Human Services and Elder Affairs are key partners to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in this effort.
DHCD Undersecretary Janelle Chan, who also serves as CEDAC’s Board Chair, summed up the importance of these funding awards for these projects when she said, “Housing that meets the needs of residents is the foundation for thriving communities, supporting strong neighborhoods and vibrant downtowns. Today’s awards enable the creation of housing for low-income families, seniors, and individuals, including those transitioning out of homelessness. These high-impact projects will bring new residents to Fitchburg, Gloucester, and Methuen’s downtown districts, redevelop vacant school properties in Southbridge, Swampscott and Taunton, and leverage town-owned land in Williamstown. This is just a sample of the amazing developments we are supporting, all of which will benefit thousands of residents upon their completion.”