NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Baker-Polito administration and MassHousing are announcing funds to help provide affordable housing in Springfield and Holyoke.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program Capital Grants awards $4.6 million to eight community organizations and municipalities to fight the blight of neighborhoods and create new homeownership opportunities across Massachusetts. The new program provides the funds needed to combat the blight, abandonment and disinvestment in residential neighborhoods, by providing grants for the construction, reconstruction, renovation or repair of rental and home ownership properties of inferior quality.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program offers higher levels of building subsidies than were previously available from public sources, allowing municipalities and their development partners to deal with the impacts of longstanding neglect. The $50 million program was authorized as part of a $626 million economic development bill Governor Baker enacted last year. MassHousing administers the NSP on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.
Old Hill neighborhood in Springfield
Development of the original town, a nonprofit, will build 11 single-family homes on vacant city-owned land in the Old Hill neighborhood that was acquired through tax deeds of vacant or degraded properties. The Old Hill neighborhood has been hit hard by the foreclosures crisis and disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
The City of Springfield is providing matching funds to the project.
House of Tranquility in Springfield
An existing building of eight single-occupancy units for single women who are homeless and recovering from addiction will receive funding for renovations. The project includes meeting significant deferred capital needs for the replacement of the property, windows, porch, roof and gutter, as well as the rehabilitation of interior spaces.
Tranquility House is owned and operated by Open Pantry Community Services.
Pine Street in Holyoke
A duplex will be built on a vacant lot on Pine Street, which will be entirely owned by a single owner occupier. The homeowner will rent the second unit subject to an affordability restriction on the rental unit.
OneHolyoke Community Development Corporation acquired several degraded plots on the block to help families in need.
“The Neighborhood Stabilization Grants will help ensure the Commonwealth continues on a successful recovery path from the COVID-19 pandemic, while addressing the state’s long-standing housing crisis,” said said Governor Charlie Baker. “By addressing housing investment needs in communities, this new program will support the economic vitality of Massachusetts cities and towns.”
“The Neighborhood Stabilization Program will transform derelict properties, abandoned homes and vacant lots into new homes where families can live and thrive,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These targeted investments in residential neighborhoods will have deep and lasting impacts for communities and families.”
“Vacant or abandoned homes can negatively impact entire neighborhoods and leave vital housing opportunities off the market,” Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said. “This program is part of a multi-pronged approach to investing in neighbourhoods, town centers and infrastructure to create vibrant communities across the Commonwealth.”
“For many, homeownership is a platform for future prosperity, and thanks to these grants, twenty-two families will become homeowners for the first time,” said Jennifer Maddox, Under Secretary of Housing and Development. communautary development. “We commend all of our partners for their work in advancing these vital projects, and we look forward to welcoming families into their new homes.”
“Neighborhood stabilization efforts complement work focused on MassHousing’s mission to promote sustainable homeownership, advance equity and help working families build intergenerational wealth,” the company said. Managing Director of MassHousing, Chrystal Kornegay. “Working with municipalities and nonprofits, Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants will help rehabilitate substandard homes, turn vacant lots into new homeownership opportunities, and improve neighborhoods across the Commonwealth.”
Other projects have received capital grants from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in Massachusetts:
11 Green Street, Carver
Greater Plymouth Habitat for Humanity acquires a long vacant and dilapidated property in the town of Carver and redevelops the home into a new homeownership opportunity for low-income first-time buyers, with a preference for veterans. The project received significant matching funds from the Carver Community Preservation Committee.
City of Fitchburg
Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts will acquire a vacant lot from the City of Fitchburg and build a new single-family home, which will be sold to a first-time home buyer earning up to 80% of the area median income (AMI). Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts will build a new home on the property in partnership with Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School.
15 Orchard Street, Lawrence
Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW) will build four new family-sized townhouses on a vacant lot that will be sold to first-time home buyers earning up to 80% of the AMI. The project advances LCW’s longstanding work to address degraded conditions in Lawrence’s North Common neighborhood; over the past two decades, LCW has developed 63 housing and rental units on more than 20 plots at North Common, as well as community facilities and parks that serve the neighborhood. LCW will carry out the 15 Orchard Street project in partnership with Mill Cities Community Investmentsa local community development financial institution, and Ceres Investments, LLCa minority/women-owned business development company.
12 Congress Street, Worcester
Worcester Community Housing Resources (WCHR) will use NSP funding to renovate a two-family property in a historic neighborhood that has been abandoned for a decade and has fallen into disrepair. The Central Housing Court appointed WCHR to act as receiver and remedy state health code violations on the property. WCHR plans to remedy the code violations in the coming months and then directly acquire the property through a foreclosure action related to the receivership process. The NSP funds will be used to pay off a construction loan related to code compliance work done in escrow, as well as make market-quality repairs before selling the property’s two units to first-time home buyers.
33 Merrick Street, Worcester
Worcester Middle Ground will create two new home ownership opportunities for first-time home buyers on a long vacant lot in the Piedmont neighborhood of Worcester. WCG has extensive experience in tackling the scourge and creating home ownership opportunities for low-income Worcester residents and the non-profit developer has acquired the property at 33 Merrick Street from the City of Worcester in 2020. The new duplex at 33 Merrick Street will serve first-time home buyers earning up to 80 percent of the AMI.