Baker-Polito Administration Awards $2.2 Million for Inaugural Community Scale Housing Initiative

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration has awarded the inaugural $2.2 million round of Community Scale Housing Initiative awards, advancing the development and construction of 36 new affordable rental housing units in Arlington, Norwell, and West Tisbury.

“Our administration has substantially advanced the Commonwealth’s investment in the construction and preservation of thousands of units of affordable housing, unleashing the creativity of our local partners across Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Reinvesting in public housing, rehousing formerly homeless families, and delivering infrastructure improvements that unlock private investment in production are helping to meet the state’s housing needs, and we look forward to the tools this initiative provides smaller communities to continue our progress.”

“The Community Scale Housing Initiative will help create a more prosperous and welcoming Massachusetts and empower smaller municipalities to increase the availability of affordable housing,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This initiative leverages significant local contributions, including Community Preservation Act funds, with new state funding to help suburban and rural communities accelerate production opportunities.”

Gov. Baker

The Community Scale Housing Initiative (CSHI) is a joint pilot initiative of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and MassHousing. The pilot program advances the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to increasing the production of affordable housing throughout the Commonwealth, by funding affordable housing projects at a scale that will be appropriate in a variety of community settings, including in smaller towns and rural communities.

We are thrilled to announce the first awards from our Community Scale Housing Initiative, a product of our collaboration with municipalities, and our work to create flexible solutions for the diverse challenges our communities face,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “These awards will further our comprehensive approach to increasing housing production across income-spectrums, and in every region of the Commonwealth.”

“This initiative is an important addition to our arsenal of resources for community development and affordable housing production,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay. “The Community Scale Housing Initiative provides targeted investments in impactful projects that fit the needs of our smaller communities, and amplifies local efforts to increase affordable housing production.”

The CSHI funds modestly-sized affordable housing projects, between five and 20 units. Projects of this size can be difficult to construct using the state’s current affordable housing finance mechanisms. The pilot program is open to affordable housing projects in communities with populations of 200,000 or less, where the community has committed a significant local match.

“This pilot program will accelerate the production of needed affordable rental housing, by creating a dedicated pool of funds for smaller affordable housing developments,” said MassHousing Executive Director Tim Sullivan. “Our ability to match local affordable housing contributions will allow a variety of municipalities, from Gateway Cities to suburban and rural communities, to deliver housing developments that strengthen their communities. We are excited to advance this initial round of awards, and look forward to partnering with cities and towns to build strong pipeline of future projects.”

“I am thrilled that our community has been awarded this grant to help increase the availability of affordable housing in Arlington,” said Senator Cindy Friedman. “As we know, there is a real need right now in our state for greater housing options for middle- and low-income families. This grant, combined with federal funding and generous local support through Community Preservation Act funds, will help us to do that in Arlington and will greatly benefit families in our community.”

“This is a great example of state and local government working together to make positive change in the community,” said Senator Patrick O’Connor. “This new development on River Street is a direct result of Norwell’s commitment to meet its housing needs.”

“Attainable housing is arguably the largest challenge facing residents of Martha’s Vineyard and those who hope to make a life on the island,” said Senator Julian Cyr. “I am encouraged by the our shared commitment to promote sustainable community development in all corners of the Commonwealth. This award to West Tisbury will not only expedite completion of the Scotts Grove project, but will also provide an economic boost; creating more units of affordable workforce housing.”

“I am thrilled by the administration’s decision to approve funding for the 20 Westminster project in Arlington,” said Representative Sean Garballey. “This funding will expand affordable housing options for low-income families and individuals facing homelessness through the creation of nine new rental units. This funding will also enable the restoration of a historic treasure in our community, further enriching the Mount Gilboa-Crescent Hill Historic District.  I look forward to the completion of this groundbreaking project.”

“I am delighted that the Town of Norwell has been awarded these funds to assist in the construction of the 40 River Street Project,” said Representative David DeCoste. “The completion of the project will provide the aging population more affordable housing options within the community.”

“Lack of affordable housing on the Vineyard has driven working families, young adults, and seniors who helped build our community off-island at an unsustainable rate,” said Representative Dylan Fernandes. “The Island Housing Trust and the Town of West Tisbury have worked hard to reverse this trend and this $900,000 grant from the state goes a long way towards advancing access to affordable housing on island.”

DHCD and MassHousing have made at least $10 million available for the Community Scale Housing Initiative pilot. The agencies plan to open a new award round by the Spring of 2018.

Today’s announcement build’s on the administration’s comprehensive strategy to increase housing production for low and middle income families and residents in Massachusetts. Earlier this month, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded over $70 million in direct funding and more than $28 million in state and federal low income housing tax credits for traditional affordable housing production and preservation across the Commonwealth.

In addition, the administration and MassHousing have previously committed $100 million to support the construction of 1,000 new workforce housing units. To date, the Workforce Housing Initiative has advanced the development of 1,317 housing units across a range of incomes, including 387 workforce housing units.

In April, Governor Baker filed a housing bond bill seeking $1.287 billion in additional capital authorization to advance the administration’s commitment to affordable housing. In May 2016, the administration unveiled a five-year capital budget plan that includes a $1.1 billion commitment to increasing housing production, an 18 percent funding increase over previous funding levels. The $1.1 billion capital commitment provides for significant expansions in state support for mixed-income housing production, public housing modernization, and affordable housing preservation.

Since 2015 the Baker-Polito Administration has provided direct funding to create and preserve over 5,200 units of affordable housing across Massachusetts.

Community Scale Housing Initiative Award Winners:

20 Westminster, Arlington

20 Westminster is a nine-unit project, sponsored by the Housing Corporation of Arlington, that will provide affordable rental housing to low-income and extremely low-income households. MassHousing and DHCD have awarded $320,000 in CSHI funds to the project. The Town of Arlington is supporting the development of 20 Westminster through $500,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, and $1.35 million in funds secured from the North Shore HOME Consortium. Four of the units at the project will be affordable to households earning less than 30 percent of area median income (AMI).

40 River St., Norwell

40 River Street is an 18-unit affordable housing development sponsored by Metro West Collaborative Development, Inc. MassHousing and DHCD have awarded $1 million in CSHI funds to the project. DHCD is also supporting the project with an allocation of Housing Stabilization Funds. The Town of Norwell is utilizing CPA funds to provide a $1.2 million matching contribution. The completed project will be affordable to households across a range of incomes, and will include four units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of AMI.

Scotts Grove Apartments, West Tisbury

Scotts Grove is a nine-unit project located in West Tisbury, sponsored by the Island Housing Trust Corporation. MassHousing and DHCD have awarded $900,000 in CSHI funds to the project, and the Town of West Tisbury is providing a matching contribution of $1.4 million in CPA funds. The completed project will offer affordable housing to families across a range of incomes.

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