Boston mayor Kim Janey announced that the City's Community Preservation Committee (CPC) awarded $5 million, for inclusion in the FY2021 funding round of the Community Preservation Act (CPA), to the Boston Home Center’s ONE+Boston First-Time Homebuyer Program. The ONE+Boston program gives income-qualified, first-time Boston homebuyers a greater ability to purchase a home in Boston by combining a discount on a low-interest rate mortgage product with down payment/closing assistance. The ONE+Boston program includes the City’s first affordable mortgage product to be created specifically for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers who currently live in Boston.
For many CPA communities, especially those in suburban or rural areas, affordable housing can be a difficult CPA category to fund. But in the town of Lincoln, a public-private partnership has resulted in a huge win in both the community housing and historic preservation categories of CPA. And the development was structured with an unusual approach - a loan of CPA housing funds to the developer, all facilitated by the Lincoln Affordable Housing Trust.
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.
In December 2018, residents from Goshen Senior Housing crossed the street to join about 30 others at Town Hall for the Council on Aging holiday lunch. The celebration gave MHP a chance to ask questions about the new senior housing. “Before, it was just a lot with an abandoned parsonage,” said former selectman Don Boisvert after changing out of the Santa suit he had worn to liven up the festivities. “Now, we have residents who are engaged in the community.”
Nearly every community in Massachusetts is facing a shortage of housing, and this problem is especially true when it comes to housing for residents with special needs. Recognizing the effectiveness of a collaborative CPA effort, seven outer Cape Cod towns joined together to work on a regional CPA housing development to help an underserved population. This was the beginning of Cape Cod Village (CCV), a housing community for adults with autism.
For many CPA communities, Habitat for Humanity is an invaluable partner when it comes to affordable housing goals. The global nonprofit works in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States, and in Massachusetts, many of their local efforts have been made possible through Community Preservation funds. To learn more about partnerning with Habitat, find your local chapter using this search function on the Habitat website.
After a new senior center was built in Northborough, the previous building sat vacant. The Northborough Affordable Housing Corporation saw this as the perfect opportunity to invest CPA funds for housing designed for the community’s senior citizens.
In the busy college town of Amherst, affordable housing is hard to come by. So when financing restrictions ensuring the affordability of 41 units at the Rolling Green apartment complex expired, residents of the complex began to worry. Soon enough, word came that the owner of the complex would be raising rents for these affordable units to match current Amherst market rates, levels that residents could not afford. However, thanks to the town’s commitment to retaining and broadening affordable housing options, and to its embrace of the CPA program, a $1.25 million contribution of CPA funds will allow the town to preserve the affordability of these threatened 41 units.
In a market driven by competitive vacation-based real estate, year-round Provincetown residents have long struggled to find affordable housing options. Despite million-dollar home prices, the average annual income for Provincetown residents dips just below the $50,000 mark.
Finding housing for veterans has become a growing challenge in the Commonwealth. But one South Shore town is tapping their community preservation funds to make sure veterans have an affordable place to live. Hingham recently used $250,000 of its CPA budget to construct of six units of affordable supportive housing for veterans.
West Tisbury, a small community on Martha’s Vineyard, has used its CPA funds to develop a number of affordable housing options for residents over the years, but its recent Eliakim’s Way project challenges the conventional wisdom on community housing.
In a great example of beating swords into plowshares, land that once housed lethal missiles is now the location of an impressive green affordable housing development, funded in part by Wayland’s CPA program.
This community housing project in Chatham was a joint project of the Chatham Community Preservation Committee, the Chatham Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod, and The Community Builders, Inc.
In the Pilot Grove Apartments project, Stow used $350,000 in CPA funds to provide funding to preserve the affordability restrictions on 37 apartments that were at risk due to expiring restrictions.