News

State Awards $1.5 Million for Sustainable Homeownership Counseling and Foreclosure Prevention

April 30th, 2019 by Don Bianchi

On April 22, the Massachusetts Division of Banks awarded $1.5 Million in grants for Foreclosure Counseling and First-Time Homebuyer Education through the 2019 Chapter 206 Awards.  A total of 20 awards were made to 10 foreclosure prevention regional centers and 10 consumer counseling organizations which provide homebuyer education.

CDCs continue to be among the leaders in providing these essential services, with twelve of the twenty awards made to MACDC Members or coalitions which include MACDC Members.  CDCs serving urban, rural, and suburban areas across the Commonwealth are helping homebuyers acquire their first homes and assisting homeowners at risk of foreclosure in keeping their homes.

The counseling awards were created through Chapter 206 of the Acts of 2007 – a law that MACDC helped enact through our advocacy with CHAPA and MAHA.  They are funded by fees associated with the licensing of mortgage loan originators.  In 2018, the Regional Foreclosure Centers assisted almost 4,800 clients, helping 84% of these clients to avoid foreclosure.  Homebuyer education was provided to almost 2,700 clients.  This counseling helped prospective homebuyers make an educated decision on when to purchase a home.  Furthermore, it helped homebuyers secure affordable and sustainable mortgage loans- only .02% of these clients purchased a home with a subprime mortgage!

MACDC appreciates the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing support for this program and is grateful to the Division of Banks for its effective stewardship of this important resource.

Commenting Closed

CDCs Invest over $800 Million in 2018 in Providing Homes, Jobs, and Other Services

April 30th, 2019 by Don Bianchi

The results are in!  MACDC just released its 2019 GOALs Report which documents the collective impact of CDCs across the Commonwealth.  For the second consecutive year, CDC investment in their communities topped $800 Million.  Through this investment, CDCs improved the communities they serve by:

  • Creating or preserving 1,535 Homes
  • Creating or preserving 4,305 Jobs
  • Providing technical assistance to 1,369 Entrepreneurs
  • Providing 84,224 Families with Housing, Jobs, or Other Services
  • Engaging 1,910 Leaders.

The Report highlights some of these impacts, including:

  • Mill Cities Community Investments helping to convene a $1 Million Emergency Fund for businesses impacted by the fires caused by a natural gas explosion in the region;
  • WATCH organizing a major grassroots campaign to increase the City of Waltham’s inclusionary housing requirements from 10% to 15%;
  • Worcester Common Ground partnering with YouthBuild to create two units of family housing built entirely by youth; and
  • NewVue Communities graduating its first cohort of Community Stewards, trained in Community Organizing.

Through these initiatives, and others, CDCS across Massachusetts act on the values that guide our work: lifting up community voice and power, building inclusive communities, and advancing economic opportunity.  As we celebrate the results from 2018, we already can’t wait to see what CDCs achieve in 2019!

Commenting Closed

Final Rule Amends Affordable Housing Program, Incorporates MACDC’s Concerns

January 8th, 2019 by Don Bianchi

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published a Final Rule amending its regulations for the Federal Home Loan Banks’ (FHLBanks) Affordable Housing Program (AHP), which incorporated many of the comments submitted by MACDC and other affordable housing advocates in response to a Proposed Rule amending the regulations. 

 

In March 2018, FHFA published proposed amendments to AHP.  As described by the FHFA, the proposed amendments would give the Federal Home Loan Banks more flexibility in allocating their AHP funds, in establishing special competitive funds that target affordable housing needs in their districts, and in designing their own project selection scoring criteria.  It would also make other significant changes to the AHP Program. 

 

After reviewing the proposed rule, and consulting with members and allies, MACDC submitted its comments to FHFA. MACDC commented on a number of provisions, focusing on issues related to transparency, proposed targeting, and long-term affordability.  We were, therefore, pleased when FHFA issued the Final Rule, which addressed the concerns expressed by MACDC. 

 

FHFA held a webinar on the key components of the Final Rule in December.  The slides from the webinar provide a summary of the changes incorporated in the Final Rule. (FHFA Slides on Final AHP Rule)  The Final Rule, published in November, makes changes to the AHP; the most significant changes are described below. 

 

AHP Funding Categories: 

It moves from two categories (a Competitive Application Program and a Homeownership Set Aside Program) to three categories (A General Fund, Targeted Funds, and a Homeownership Set Aside).  The Final Rule incorporates some statutory and regulatory priorities for the General Fund, including Underserved Communities and Populations, Creating Economic Opportunity, and Community Stability including Affordable Housing Preservation.  Up to 40% of a FHLBank’s annual AHP funds can be allocated to up to three Targeted Funds, at the discretion of the FHLBank. 

 

Changes to Homeownership Set Aside Program: 

While the maximum set aside remains at the greater of 35% of the FHLBank’s annual total AHP contribution or $4.5 million, the maximum grant award is increased from $15,000 to $22,000 per household, subject to automatic annual adjustments.  In another change, one third of the Homeownership Set Aside Program funding allocation must be directed to first-time homebuyers, or households for owner-occupied rehabilitation (rehab), or combination of both. 

 

Changes to Monitoring Requirements for LIHTC Projects and Projects with Government Funds: 

The Final Rule removes the requirement for the FHLBanks to review back-up household income and rent documentation at initial monitoring for AHP projects which also receive Low Income Housing Tax Credits.  The Rule also removes the requirement for the FHLBanks to reviewback-up household income and rent documentation during initial and long-term monitoring for AHP projects that also receive funds from certain government housing programs. 

 

Homeownership Retention Agreements: 

The Final Rule eliminates retention agreements for homeowners receiving AHP subsidy solely for rehab.  For homeowners receiving AHP subsidy for purchase, and for purchase in conjunction with rehab, the Rule establishes a de minimis exception to subsidy repayment where the amount subject to repayment is $2,500 or less. 

 

Implementation Dates: 

For owner-occupied retention agreement requirements, the compliance date is January 1, 2020.  For all other provisions, the compliance date is January 1, 2021.  A FHLBank may choose to implement any set of related provision in the Final Rule at an earlier date. 

 

Of significant importance, several other changes proposed by FHFA were not included in the Final Rule, in response to comments submitted by MACDC and others.  The most significant of these problematic changes proposed would have required the FHLBanks to re-rank project scoring to meet FHFA Outcome Requirements, which could have resulted in a FHLBank replacing a higher scoring application with a lower-scoring application, disrupting AHP’s predictability and transparency.  Another proposed change would have imposed two well-intentioned, but problematic targeting requirements, which may not be achievable in some markets.  A third proposed change would have been a blanket removal of the five-year retention agreements from all assistance to owner occupants, including assistance for purchase, leaving open the possibility for speculative gain.  MACDC is grateful for FHFA’s responsiveness to these concerns in its Final Rule, and to our allies for joining MACDC in sharing concerns about the Proposed Rule. 

 

MACDC is aware of the critical nature of AHP funds to the feasibility of many affordable housing projects in Massachusetts.  We believe the Final Rule will result in changes that allow the FHLBanks to better tailor the AHP to the needs of the communities they serve, while preserving the scoring transparency that has long been an essential feature of the program. 

Commenting Closed

Division of Banks Issues Letter Clarifying Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing Exemptions”

September 25th, 2018 by Don Bianchi

As previously reported in The Notebook, MACDC was successful in its advocacy to include in the final version of the State’s Economic Development legislation the nonprofit exemption from the Mortgage Loan Originators (MLO) licensing requirements. It exempts nonprofits who lend exclusively public money from having to get their employees licensed as MLO.

We have been in contact with the MA Division of Banks about communicating the effect of the new law.  Please see Industry Letter dated September 19, 2018, (which spells out, under the new law, who is exempt from the mortgage licensing provisions). The most relevant provision is titled “Government Instrumentality License Exemption.”  It states that tax-exempt nonprofits for which mortgage activities are exclusively limited to government programs and the use of public funds are considered government instrumentalities.  It goes on to say that Government Instrumentalities are not required to submit an application of exemption.  Finally, it states that mortgage loan originators who work for government instrumentalities are not required to be licensed.

The application for exemption for “Bona fide nonprofit affordable homeownership organizations” was drafted to pertain to Habitat and its affiliates.  It could apply to other organizations as well, but the requirements are very specific.  If you do not qualify for the “public instrumentality” exemption but think you might be able to apply for exemption as a “bona fide nonprofit affordable homeownership organization”, please review the application to see if your lending programs meet the criteria.

If you do not meet the definition of a public instrumentality (for example, if you engage in mortgage lending with private funds) and do not meet the criteria for being a bona fide nonprofit affordable homeownership organizations, then your organization and your employees are required to be licensed.  This is exactly the situation that existed before DOB’s 2017 Industry Letter.

If you have further questions, you should contact Kevin Cuff at DOB.  His contact information is listed at the bottom of the Industry Letter.

Commenting Closed

Anatomy of a Policy Win-The Mortgage Loan Originator Exemption Legislation

August 14th, 2018 by Don Bianchi

In the early morning hours of August 1, the Massachusetts Legislature’s 2017-2018 Session ended with a flurry of last minute bills.  Among these was an Economic Development Bill that contained a small provision that MACDC had sought: an exemption for employees of certain nonprofits from the requirement to obtain licensing as a mortgage loan originator – a requirement we believe is unnecessary, burdensome, and counter-productive.  While this was not the biggest, or most high-profile policy victory in MACDC history, it is one of which I am very proud because our success reflects on many of MACDC’s core strengths as an organization: strong relationships with and frequent communication with MACDC members; good working relationships with legislators and agency officials; strong collaborations with CHAPA and other allied organizations; and the capacity to do the necessary homework on the issue. 

 

Background: 

The need for the exemption stems from a state law enacted almost a decade ago, the third in a succession of laws (state and federal) aimed to protect consumers from predatory lenders so prevalent before and during the foreclosure crisis.  The commercial mortgage lending industry experienced major changes in the early-to mid-2000s, reflecting what we now look back on as the “housing bubble”: rapid home price appreciation coupled with a proliferation of mortgage lenders and mortgage products, including predatory loans made with complete disregard of borrowers’ ability to repay the loans, which resulted in a massive increase in foreclosures starting in 2006-2007.  MACDC and other affordable housing advocates clamored for a state law to protect consumers that resulted in the 2007 passage of  “An Act Protecting and Preserving Home Ownership” (Chapter 206 of the Acts of 2007), which, among other things, placed non-bank mortgage lenders under the regulation of the MA Division of Banks (DOB).  

In 2008, the U.S. Congress passed The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (S.A.F.E. Act), which requires states to enact legislation requiring licensing of mortgage loan originators (MLOs).  In recognition that administering publicly-funded loans (such as loans for home repair, or for down payment assistance) is very different from lending in a commercial context, the S.A.F.E. Act permits states to exempt employees of “bona fide nonprofits” from the MLO requirements, as detailed in Section 1008.103 of the federal regulations. 

Massachusetts passed a law adopting the S.A.F.E. Act in 2009, under Chapter 44 of the Acts of 2009.  Unfortunately, the Massachusetts legislation enacted to comply with the S.A.F.E. Act did not provide for the exemptions for certain nonprofits permitted under the federal regulations.  

Between 2008 and 2017, CDCs and other nonprofits who administered publicly funded programs relied on a 2008 Opinion Letter by the DOB, which stated that employees of nonprofits who administer exclusively publicly-funded loan programs were exempt from the licensing requirements on the basis that they are acting on behalf of government entities. In June 2017, however, the DOB issued an “Industry Letter," which stated that the 2009 MA legislation altered the regulatory requirements and that, in fact, as of July 31, 2009, any person who meets the definition of a MLO must be licensed as such, even if he, or she is employed by a nonprofit entity that is exempt from licensing.  In its letter, DOB acknowledged there was confusion with regard to the 2009 law and said that it would take no enforcement action on this until December 31, 2017, at which time those engaging in mortgage lending activity must be licensed. 

The process and the cost for an individual to obtain a license are significant.  They must pay a fee, receive at least 20 hours of pre-licensing education, pass a written test, and submit fingerprints for a criminal background check, among other requirements.  The costs to the individual (or to the nonprofit which employs them) for initial licensing is more than $1,000.  In addition, the employee must take annual continuing education courses.  If a licensed MLO person leaves the employ of the nonprofit, the new person hired must also be licensed.  Beyond being unnecessary and burdensome, the pre-licensing and continuing education provided to mortgage loan originators, if applied to employees of the nonprofits administering public programs, will likely come at the expense of learning the skills necessary to effectively and efficiently administer these public programs. 

The MLO education is tailored to ensuring that a commercial mortgage lender is trained on the various aspects of commercial lending: federal laws on topics including required disclosures and definitions of high-cost mortgages; understanding the wide variety of mortgage products, including subprime lending; ethical issues including redlining and predatory lending; and many other topics intended to provide profit-motivated mortgage lenders, whose employees are typically compensated based on the number of loans they make, with the legal and ethical standards they are required to follow.  In contrast, the lending programs administered by tax-exempt nonprofits on behalf of a municipality, for example, typically have loan terms and guidelines established by the public sector.  The loans are made with a charitable purpose; loan terms are favorable to the borrower, frequently at no interest, with repayment deferred until the home is sold or refinanced; and the compensation for the nonprofit is established by the municipality.

 

The Effort to Obtain the Exemption for Certain Nonprofits: 

Therefore, CDCs and other nonprofits administering publicly funded loans faced the prospect of embarking upon the costly and time-consuming process of obtaining MLO licenses for their employees, who were engaged in activity that the federal government had acknowledged was distinct from commercial lending.  While working to educate its members on the process for obtaining licensing for their employees, MACDC also embarked on a campaign to exempt nonprofits from the licensing requirements, as allowed by the S.A.F.E. Act. In November 2017, MACDC and its allies met with the DOB CommissionerCommissioner McGinnis noted that while existing state law did not provide a nonprofit exemption, he agreed with us that certain nonprofits should be exempt from the MLO licensing requirements and said that DOB would support legislation to provide for an exemptionLater that month, the DOB notified MACDC and others that, in recognition of the concerns that have been raised, DOB would suspend enforcement of the MLO licensing requirements until June 30, 2018. 

In the course of the months that followed, MACDC worked with CHAPA, the Regional Housing Network of MA (RHN), and Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston.  MACDC helped draft legislative language that was ultimately deemed acceptable to the DOB, the Mass Mortgage Bankers Association (MMBA), and our allies.  It would exempt two categories of lenders: bona fide nonprofit homeownership organizations (Habitat and its affiliates), and other tax-exempt nonprofits who lend exclusively public funds.  This second exemption would codify into State Law the exemption expressed in the DOB’s 2008 Opinion Letter.  Some CDCs, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and other nonprofits who lend private money would continue to be subject to the MLO licensing requirements.  Recognizing that stand-alone legislation may not succeed, we were successful in obtaining the Senate’s approval to include the MLO licensing exemption in its version of the Economic Development Bill.  Because it was not included in the House version of the bill, the provision was the subject of negotiation between the House and Senate right up until the last hours of the legislative session.  Fortunately, the exemption provision was included in the final version of the bill and was signed into law by the Governor. 

 

Reasons We Succeeded: 

  • Frequent Communication with MACDC Members: 

MACDC Members called our attention to the June 2017 Industry Letter, and to the challenges it created for their programs and those they serve.  We worked closely with our members on understanding the costs and the process associated with licensing and kept them informed about our efforts to secure legislation to provide an exemption.  When the time came for members to make calls to legislators to advocate for inclusion of the exemption language in the Economic Development legislation, the response from members was overwhelming, with over 50 calls placed to legislators.  

  •  Good Working Relationships with Legislators, Agency Officials, and Allies: 

MACDC and our allies reached out to the DOB in the summer and fall of 2017, culminating in the November meeting with the new DOB Commissioner, where he agreed to work with us on a legislative remedy.  MACDC worked with its allies, the DOB, and the MMBA to come up with legislative language comfortable to all.  We joined forces with Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston, developing a relationship that proved essential in eventual passage of the legislation and establishing the basis for future cooperation.  We utilized, and nurtured, the good working relationships that MACDC, RHN, CHAPA, and Habitat had with legislators to advance legislation which was ultimately adopted. 

  •  Doing our Homework on the Policies in MA and Other States, and on the federal level: 

MACDC and our allies researched the exemptions allowed in the S.A.F.E., existing MA law, and the exemption legislation enacted by other States.  This enabled us to approach our interactions with the DOB, the MA Legislature, our Members, and others with a thorough understanding of why an exemption was reasonable and necessary, legislative language to achieve the exemption, and how to be most effective in our advocacy. 

 

MACDC is grateful to our allies, the DOB and MMBA, and the numerous legislators who supported our efforts.  We are particularly grateful to the following legislators: Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Spilka, and Senate President Emerita Chandler; Representatives Coppinger, Sanchez, Wagner, Peake and Kulik; and Senators Cyr, Eldridge, Lesser and Welch. 

Commenting Closed

MACDC Members Awarded Rental Round Awards for 9 Projects

August 1st, 2018 by Don Bianchi

On July 25, Governor Baker announced the award of $57 million in subsidy funding as well as state and federal housing tax credits that will generate more than $240 million in subsidized private equity.  When completed, these 19 projects will create or preserve 1,463 units, including 1,312 affordable units, with 227 of these affordable units reserved for households earning less than 30% of area median income. 

 

MACDC Members were well represented among the awardees, with 9 receiving awards, resulting in the creation or preservation of 463 units, including 430 affordable units: 

  • Jamaica Plain NDC will build 44 new affordable units at 25 Amory Street near the Jackson Square MBTA Station in Jamaica Plain;
  • Codman Square NDC’s Four Corners project will provide 31 newly-constructed affordable units of transit-oriented development in Dorchester;
  • NeighborWorks Southern Mass will construct 48 units of family housing, including 30 affordable units and 18 units for families with incomes up to 110% of area median income, at its transit-oriented Downtown Brockton project;
  • A 62-unit senior project, including 57 affordable units, will be constructed by Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly at 370 Harvard Street in Brookline;
  • Just-a-Start will combine preservation of existing affordable units along with newly constructed units, at Squirrelwood in Cambridge, and thereby provide 88 units, 78 of them affordable.
  • The Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development will construct 58 units of affordable senior housing at Shirley Commons on the Fort Devens site;
  • Bentley Apartments in Great Barrington, developed by CDC of South Berkshire, will provide 45 newly constructed affordable units for families;
  • Valley CDC will blend preservation and construction at the Sergeant House Expansion in Northampton, and provide 31 affordable units, along with supportive services for residents who need them;
  • B’nai B’rith Housing will construct 56 affordable units for seniors at Coolidge at Sudbury. 

 

These projects will meet critical housing needs in communities across the Commonwealth.  MACDC will continue to advocate for other policies that support providing a wide range of affordable housing opportunities to families in the Commonwealth. 

Commenting Closed

CDCs Go Green by Developing and Preserving Sustainable Buildings

July 30th, 2018 by Don Bianchi

CDCs throughout the Commonwealth are leaders in the green economy according to two new reports by MACDC detailing these efforts. The first report, "CDCs Go Green Part I: A Snapshot of the Environmental Initiatives of MACDC’s Members," released in March of this year, describes a wide range of sustainability programming, ranging from activism and advocacy, to supporting the local food economy, to open space preservation and stewardship. The report also describes CDC involvement in restoration and environmental clean-ups, recycling and waste initiatives, and resiliency and climate change preparation. All these initiatives reflect community-driven priorities to promote sustainable development.

MACDC is now releasing CDCs Go Green Part II: Developing and Preserving Sustainable Buildings. Part II, like the first report, was authored by Allison Curtis, MACDC’s Graduate Student Research Intern. This report focuses on buildings, which, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), account for 39% of CO2 emissions in the United States. It covers the housing and other real estate developed by CDCs, energy retrofits for existing buildings, clean energy technologies, and healthy housing.

    Here are some highlights from the report, obtained from the MACDC GOALs Survey:
  • Eighty- three percent of new developments in 2017 included some sort of environmental strategy including efficient building systems, healthy indoor air quality, exterior insulation, and more;
  • Over 5,500 of the rental units in CDC portfolios have been retrofitted to be more energy efficient in the last five years, with more than 1,100 units receiving retrofits in 2017 alone, representing a value of more than $9.7 million;
  • Fifty-seven percent of CDCs surveyed utilize clean energy technologies, with solar photo-voltaic technology being the most prevalent;
  • The rental portfolios of 92% of CDCs surveyed are either fully or partially smoke-free.

MACDC is committed to supporting and enhancing CDC environmental sustainability initiatives, through our advocacy for policies and resources, and through our training and peer learning efforts. We hope that these reports will shine a light on the comprehensive approach that so many CDCs have adopted to preserving the finite resources entrusted to us.

CDCs Go Green Part II: Developing and Preserving Sustainable Buildings

Commenting Closed

Valley CDC Celebrates 30 Years of Serving its Neighbors

April 26th, 2018 by Don Bianchi

Joined by more than 200 of its closest friends and supporters, Valley CDC celebrated its 30th anniversary on April 12.  Valley CDC primarily serves four communities in Western Massachusetts: Northampton, Easthampton, Amherst, and Hadley.  Through affordable housing development, services to homebuyers and homeowners, and small business development services, Valley CDC demonstrates its commitment to economic justice every day.

In her remarks, CDC Executive Director Joanne Campbell said that she moved to Northampton in 1997, and joined Valley CDC to run the CDC’s affordable housing initiatives, thinking that work in Western MA would be slower-paced than what she left in the New York City area.  She soon realized that affordable housing work is by its nature difficult anywhere.  Undeterred, in less than a year, Joanne became Valley CDC’s Director, and led the CDC out of difficult times.  More than one speaker noted how fortunate we are that Joanne is leading the organization, along with other skilled and dedicated staff.

The highlight of the evening was a keynote speech by Charles M. Blow, a New York Times Op-Ed columnist, CNN commentator, and author of his best-selling memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones.  Mr. Blow spoke for 30 minutes, and then answered questions submitted by the audience for another 40 minutes.

In his prepared remarks, Mr. Blow provided counter-points to a number of widespread talking points about poverty and the black community.  He noted how President Trump, in his campaign, described life in the inner cities as “hell”, and rhetorically asked those living there what they had to lose.  Mr. Blow replied that the answer was, and is, “everything.”  He went on to speak about the “othering” of communities, and that “more law and order is simply code for organized state oppression in many of these communities.”  He concluded his prepared remarks by using a metaphor of life being a hill; some people start at the bottom while others start halfway up or at the top, and finished by declaring “For God’s sake, stop pretending there’s no damn hill.”  In response to one of the audience questions, he pushed back against the belief that racism is only a southern thing, with “No, it’s your thing,” citing segregation in New York’s schools and how Martin Luther King Jr. fought for fair housing in Chicago toward the end of his life.  He added, “Liberal cities cannot lecture anybody else until they take a long hard stare in the mirror.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, attendees bid their good-byes and ventured out into the night.  And, no doubt, Valley CDC’s staff went home for a night’s sleep before returning to work the next day to start the CDC’s 31st year of service to the community.

Commenting Closed

State Awards $1.5 Million for Sustainable Homeownership Counseling

April 11th, 2018 by Don Bianchi

 

On April 9, state officials visited two CDCs to announce $1.5 million in awards for eleven regional foreclosure prevention centers and ten organizations that provide consumer and homeownership counseling.   EOHED Secretary Jay Ash traveled to the Neighbor Works Homeownership Center of Central MA in Worcester and to Wayfinders in Springfield to announce these important grants.

CDCs continue to be among the leaders in providing these essential services, with thirteen of the twenty-one awards made to MACDC Members or coalitions which include MACDC Members.  CDCs serving urban, rural, and suburban areas across the Commonwealth are helping homebuyers acquire their first homes and assisting homeowners at risk of foreclosure in keeping their homes.

The counseling awards were created through Chapter 206 of the Acts of 2007 – a law that MACDC helped enact through our advocacy with CHAPA and MAHA.  They are funded by fees associated with the licensing of mortgage loan originators. These grants have enabled Regional Foreclosure Education Centers and Consumer Counseling Agencies to serve more than 4,700 Massachusetts consumers in 2017. More than 85 percent of the families receiving foreclosure prevention counseling were able to avoid foreclosure and successfully remain in their homes.  Since the inception of the Grant program in 2008, the Division of Banks (DOB) has awarded more than $12 million to organizations to assist over 41,000 consumers.

In his remarks, Secretary Ash noted that he and Governor Baker know that “without a stable roof over your head, nothing else is possible.”  Undersecretary John Chapman of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation acknowledged the role of the Division of Banks in administering and advocating for the program, and DOB Commissioner Terence McGinnis closed the event by noting the Division’s rigorous review of applications and thanking the counseling organizations for accomplishing their mission in a fiscally responsible manner.

The $1.5 million awarded is higher than in recent years.  MACDC appreciates the Baker-Polito Administration’s recognition of the importance of these funds to organizations that so many families rely on to acquire and keep their homes.  We are particularly grateful to the Division of Banks for its continued advocacy for the program and for its thoughtful and effective oversight.

 

Commenting Closed

CDC Projects Catalyze Revitalization of Northampton Corridor

December 13th, 2017 by Don Bianchi

 

The City of Northampton has spent the last four years developing a plan to revitalize the Pleasant Street Corridor, a stretch that has been identified as an important gateway to downtown Northampton.  Two CDC affordable housing developments have played a key role in the rejuvenation of the corridor.

Way Finders’  Live 155 Apartments, currently under construction, will provide 70 mixed-income studio and one-bedroom apartments when it is completed in the spring of 2018.  Just across Pleasant Street is Valley CDC’s  Lumber Yard Apartments, which will break ground next month on 55 affordable units.  Both projects will include commercial space.

These projects complement the City’s efforts to transform Pleasant Street from a state highway into a city street that serves the needs of residents and local business.  Infrastructure improvements include new raised crosswalks, curb extensions, improved bicycle and pedestrian paths, the addition of on-street parking, landscaping, and a new rotary that provides some separation between the highway and the main city street.

Both projects were assisted by The Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC), a public-private community development finance institution that provides financial resources and technical expertise for community-based and other non-profit organizations engaged in effective community development in Massachusetts.

In its weekly blog, Insites, CEDAC highlights the catalytic role that these two projects are having in Northampton.

Commenting Closed

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