Several communities have been exploring CPA-funded rental assistance programs in order to keep residents in their homes during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. And some communities, such as the city of Chelsea, wasted no time in setting their CPA housing plans into motion.
In the midst of the pandemic, the Chelsea Community Preservation Committee (CPC) made a unanimous decision to recommend an appropriation of $1.25 million to their Affordable Housing Trust Fund, specifically for an Emergency Housing Assistance Program. This extraordinary allocation of funding represents half of all the city’s available CPA reserves, and would be utilized for emergency rental assistance for residents at or below 50% AMI, with special prioritization for residents who are ineligible for other assistance programs from the state and federal governments. To see the full details of Chelsea’s rental assistance program, click here.
According to Karl Allen, an Economic Development Planner for the city, the objective of this initiative was no less than the preservation of the community. He specifically highlighted the adaptability that a local CPA program can provide in this time of need:
“We are very proud of our committee, trust fund board, the city, and the way our community is coming together to support those who are in great need and will inevitably fall through the safety net. With federal and state aid mired in bureaucratic red tape and complicated rules that have yet to be written, local communities can take independent action and make a difference.”
The Chelsea City Council ultimately approved the CPC's recommendation at the end of April - but the quick action of the Chelsea CPC reminds us all of why CPA is such an effective program: it improves the lives of Massachusetts residents and protects the elements of our communities that we hold dear. Chelsea’s rental assistance initiative is just one inspiring example of how local CPA programs are working to combat the ongoing effects of the worldwide health crisis, and similar efforts are underway in communities across the Commonwealth.
In his correspondence with the Coalition, Karl Allen summarized the intent of the project with following words of hope regarding the city of Chelsea and its residents:
“This is only a small part of the many local efforts to help our community weather the disaster that is unfolding around us. Those who were already marginalized will suffer the most. Chelsea is a community of immigrants, and it always has been. Since its settlement, it has welcomed wave after wave of new arrivals from across the globe. As a community standing as one, Chelsea will survive and rise again to thrive, as it has done over and over again.”
- CPA Project Application for the Emergency Housing Assistance Program
- One Chelsea Fund - Fundraising to support needy families in the community
- CPA Helping with Pandemic Response - The Chelsea Record