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Energy Cohort Meeting Examines Combining Federal Historic Tax Credits with Passive House

July 20th, 2021 by Don Bianchi

Retrofitting vacant and underutilized historic buildings to Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) standards leverages an existing building’s embodied carbon, which combined with low carbon and carbon storing materials, can transform our historic buildings into carbon sinks - a good thing! With careful consideration, the Federal Historic Tax Credit Program (FHTC) can provide an additional source of funding for these ambitious Passive House projects. 

 

At its July 15th convening, the Energy Cohort, a peer learning group co-convened by LISC BostonMACDC, and New Ecology, featured a presentation by Heather Clark of the Rocky Mountain InstituteCurrently under construction, Moran Square, in Fitchburg, is one of the first affordable, PHIUS, Historic Tax Credit projects in the U.S. The site includes a historic firehouse, a vacant lot, and historic three-story building. The presentation covered how the team managed to meet the rigorous historic requirements of the FHTC Program, while achieving ambitious PHIUS and low carbon construction goals. 

 

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Governor Announces Rental Round Awards in Lawrence

July 19th, 2021 by Don Bianchi

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, joined by senior Administration officials and area legislators, traveled to Lawrence on July 15th to announce funding awards to 28 affordable rental housing projects. This in-person event is evidence that Massachusetts is increasingly open for advancing affordable housing development. 

The Commonwealth awarded $93.3 million in direct subsidy funding and federal and state low-income housing tax credits, which will generate an additional $310 million in tax credit equity. These awards will advance the development of 1,526 new rental units, including 1,311 homes affordable to low and extremely low-income households. 

Eight MACDC Members were among the sponsors receiving awards.  Collectively, the projects sponsored by these Members will create or preserve 327 rental units, including 277 affordable units. 

  • Rosewood Way Townhouses is a new construction project for families to be built in Agawam, sponsored by Way Finders. When completed, the project will offer 62 units, including 47 affordable units.
  • Valley CDC will newly construct Amherst Supportive Studio Housing, which will include 28 studio units with supportive services, with 20 of these units being affordable.
  • Burbank Terrace is a transit-oriented new construction project for families to be built in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood, sponsored by Fenway CDC. The project will provide 27 affordable units.
  • B’nai B’rith Housing is sponsoring Residences Off Baker, a new construction project for families to be built in Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood. It will provide 60 units, including 45 affordable units. 
  • The Neighborhood Developers will newly construct 25 Sixth Street in Chelsea, providing 56 rental units for families, including 44 affordable homes. 
  • 555 Merrimack Place is a new construction project to be built in Lowell. Sponsored by the Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA), the project will provide 27 affordable units and supportive services for a population in recovery from substance use disorder. 
  • Metro West Collaborative Development will newly construct Glen Brook Way Phase 2, and provide 44 affordable units for seniors in Medway. 
  • Granite Street Crossing is a new construction project to be built in Rockport, sponsored by Harborlight Community Partners. This intergenerational project will provide 23 affordable units, with 17 units restricted for seniors.
     

Congratulations to sponsors of all these critically-needed projects!

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Governor’s FY22 Capital Budget Includes New Funding for Key MACDC Priorities

June 21st, 2021 by Don Bianchi

On June 14th, the Governor announced the release of his Administration’s FY22 Capital Spending Plan.  The FY22 Capital Budget funds new programs authorized in the recently enacted Economic Development law, while level-funding most longstanding affordable housing programs. 

 

MACDC’s Analysis of the FY22 spending plan for all of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) housing programs, and for selected Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) community development programs of interest to CDCs, is attached. It includes a comparison to FY21 spending. 

 

With the spending on newly authorized programs, overall spending on affordable housing increased by more than $18 million when compared to FY21 spending, to more than $255 million.  MACDC is particularly pleased about the spending on DHCD housing programs authorized by the Economic Development legislation, including $6.5 million for Neighborhood Stabilization, $2 million for a Rural and Small Town Development Fund, and $1.7 million for climate-resilient affordable housing. For EOHED programs, the FY22 Capital Budget includes level funding for Brownfields Redevelopment and the MA Food Trust Program, an increase of $1.75 million in grants for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and $8 million in new funding to support the redevelopment of underutilized or vacant properties into active commercial, housing, or green civic space. 

 

MACDC is thankful to the Baker-Polito Administration for its funding of critical affordable housing and community development programs, and to the MA Legislature for its authorization of these programs. MACDC is also grateful to its members for the great work they do every day to ensure that the funding provided will result in projects and programs that benefit residents in every corner of the Commonwealth. 

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Division of Banks Provides Unprecedented Funding for Financial Counseling- CDCs in Central Role

June 21st, 2021 by Don Bianchi

On June 16th, the MA Division of Banks (“The Division”) announced $2.25 million in grants for a Pilot Program to fund financial literacy and debt resolution education programs.  The grants are supported by the Division’s Banks Mortgage Loan Settlement Trust, established to accept settlement funds related to mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. 

 

Impressively, all but one of the 18 nonprofits awarded funds are MACDC Members, demonstrating the crucial role that CDCs play in the Commonwealth’s infrastructure for empowering residents with the knowledge they need to obtain and keep a home, save and pay for a college education, and better understand maintaining their overall finances. 

 

These awards come just weeks after the Division awarded over $2.5 million in grants to fund first-time homeownership education programs and foreclosure prevention counseling centers throughout the Commonwealth. The 21 awards, through this “Chapter 206 Grant Program” went to 10 foreclosure prevention regional centers and 11 consumer counseling organizations, with the majority of awards going to MACDC Members.  The more than $2.5 in awards was the most ever awarded by the Division in the 13 years of the Chapter 206 program, an increase of $1 million over the $1.5 million awarded each of the prior three years. 

 

Taken together, in just the past few weeks, the Division has awarded more than $4.5 million in grants to support essential financial counseling and education.  MACDC is thankful to the Division of Banks, and to the Baker-Polito Administration. They have responded to the needs of the Commonwealth’s families, who have endured the economic fallout from the pandemic, by tripling the amount of grants awarded for financial counseling. We are also grateful for the key role that CDCs play in educating and empowering these families- and proud of our association with them. 

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Solar Technical Assistance Retrofit Program Receives Phase Two Award

June 7th, 2021 by Don Bianchi

Through the Solar Technical Assistance Retrofit (STAR) Program, LISC Boston is partnering with MACDC and Resonant Energy to remove barriers and dramatically increase the adoption of solar PV for affordable housing developments across the Commonwealth. In Phase One15 organizations, primarily CDCs, received staff time support grants and free technical analysis services to analyze the solar potential and financing options for their portfolios. 

 

LISC has just been awarded $67,000 from the JAMPART Charitable Foundation to support the second phase of the STAR Program.  This will allow the Program to support an additional 15 Massachusetts affordable housing organizations (with a specific focus on CDCs and other affordable housing organizations located in Gateway Cities) with solar feasibility portfolio analyses in the first half of 2022. MACDC will play an important role in program outreach to CDCs. 

 

If you have questions or are interested in participating in Phase Two of the STAR Program, please reach out to Emily Jones at LISC, at ejones@lisc.org. 

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Supportive Housing Units Receive State Funds

April 7th, 2021 by Don Bianchi

On March 31st, Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito, and House Speaker Mariano joined Quincy Mayor Koch in Quincy to celebrate the awarding of funding to seven affordable supportive housing projects. Joined by other state officials, legislators, and affordable housing advocates, the Governor announced the award of more than $13 million in capital funding and project-based vouchers to support the production and preservation of 67 units of supportive housing for vulnerable populations, as well as 100 shelter beds.

The MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), working with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC), will make available approximately $2.6 Million from the National Housing Trust Fund, in addition to $10.7 million in state bond funds through the Housing Innovations Fund and Housing Stabilization Fund.

Among the seven projects awarded funding are five sponsored by CDCs. They include:

  • Two Boston projects sponsored by Allston Brighton CDC were awarded funding: 6 Quint Avenue will be redeveloped into 14 supportive housing units, targeted toward extremely low-income (ELI) individuals in the advanced stages of addiction recovery.  Ashford Street will involve the rehabilitation and preservation of an existing 12-unit single-room occupancy (SRO) building, including improved accessibility.
  • A Place to Live- 30 Winfield Street in Worcester, sponsored by South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC), will involve construction of a new 3-story building for chronically homeless single adults- including 18 studio apartments and full-time onsite case management.
  • Valley CDC will create 28 enhanced SRO units, along with office space for onsite property management and for a Resident Services coordinator, at Amherst Supportive Studio. Constructed on the site where an existing single-family home will be demolished, the building will achieve Passive House certification.
  • North Shore CDC will convert 18 unrestricted units into affordable units for homeless individuals at New Point Acquisitions in Salem. Located in 3 buildings in the Point Neighborhood close to Salem’s center, the CDC will implement supportive services, in addition to the capital improvements.

As House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano noted at the event, “the grants awarded today will support organizations that serve our most vulnerable residents and provide them with a path to safe, stable and dignified housing.  The Massachusetts House is proud to support the work of the awardees and provide opportunities for them to expand their services.”

 

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State Housing Agencies Team Up to Offer New Path for Emergency Rental Assistance

April 7th, 2021 by Don Bianchi

The MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced the Subsidized Housing Emergency Rental Assistance (SHERA) Program , a collaboration with MassHousing and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP).  SHERA will allow qualified owners of income-restricted units, as well as Local Housing Authorities, to apply for help directly on behalf of all of their income-eligible residents with past-due rent. This will expedite relief to tenants in need, while also allowing RAFT-administering agencies to concentrate on applications from non-subsidized tenants in need of assistance.  More information will be forthcoming from DHCD. 

 

MACDC, and our allies, advocated that DHCD provide this new path to deliver much-needed emergency rental assistance to tenants in subsidized affordable housing so it is exciting to see it come to fruition.   

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MACDC Members Prominent as DHCD Announces Affordable Housing Awards

March 10th, 2021 by Don Bianchi

On March 2nd, Baker Administration officials were joined by local officials and project sponsors in a virtual announcement of 12 affordable housing awards.  Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy and DHCD Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox were joined by, among others, Emilio Dorcely, CEO of Urban Edge. 

 

Funds were awarded to 12 projects in 8 communities, which, when completed, will create 572 homes, including 507 affordable units.  These projects will collectively receive more than $46 million in direct subsidies, as well as state and federal low-income housing tax credits that will result in $125 million in equity. 

 

Eight of the 12 projects were sponsored, or co-sponsored, by MACDC Members. When completed, these 8 projects will provide 357 units, including 340 affordable rental units: 

 

  • The Residences at Kelly’s Corner, a new construction project in Acton, is sponsored by Common Ground Development Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Community Teamwork. It will provide 31 affordable units for seniors. 

  • Urban Edge will construct 65 units of affordable family housing at its 1599 Columbus Avenue project in Boston, built to Passive House standards. 

  • Seniors will be served at 9 Leyland by Dorchester Bay EDC, by the new construction of 43 affordable units in Boston, also to Passive House standards. 

  • Dudley Crossing will provide 47 family units, with 42 of these being affordable units. Nuestra Comunidad is the sponsor of this combination new construction and preservation project. 

  • The Neighborhood Developers, in partnership with Traggorth Companies, will construct 1005 Broadway in Chelsea. When completed, the project, built to Passive House standards, will provide 38 affordable family units. 

  • CDC of South Berkshire received an award for the construction of 910 Main Street in Great Barrington, to provide 49 affordable family units. 

  • The Lighthouses is a 46-unit new construction, all affordable project that will be built to Passive House standards, on two sites in Salem. The project is sponsored by North Shore CDC. 

  • Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) will undertake a historic rehabilitation/adaptive re-use project in Taunton’s central business district. Union Block, a mixed-use project, will provide 38 units, including 26 affordable units. 

 

Massachusetts has successfully moved forward during a difficult year to fund the creation of desperately-needed affordable homes. The Commonwealth’s success is due, in large part, to the diligence, skill, and commitment to mission of community-based organizations across the Commonwealth- many of whom MACDC is proud to call its Members. 

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MACDC Partners with LISC Boston and Resonant Energy to Launch Solar Retrofit Program

February 2nd, 2021 by Don Bianchi

On January 28th, more than 60 people, including representatives from a dozen MACDC Members, attended the Launch, via Zoom, of the Solar Technical Assistance Retrofit (STAR) Program. You can review the presentation slides and listen to the recording of the session. 

 

The STAR Program will provide financial and technical resources to help affordable housing organizations explore solar opportunities for their buildings, with the goal of installing 1 Megawatt of solar (2,500 solar panels) over the next 18 months, in partnership with CDCs and other mission-aligned organizations across Massachusetts. 

 

STAR was launched as a collaboration among Resonant Energy, LISC Boston, and MACDC. Ten qualifying organizations will receive mini-grants of up to $2,000 to dedicate the staff time to go through a solar feasibility analysis.  

 

The STAR solar feasibility grant application is now live on LISC Boston’s STAR program page.  

 

Applications are due by February 26th for first round solar feasibility grant consideration. 

 

NOTE: Grant preference will be given to certified community development corporations, organizations in varied geographies, and organizations that apply by 2/26. Funding is limited and submitting an application is no guarantee that a solar feasibility grant will be awarded. Selected owners will be supplied with an MOU to sign. LISC will reach out to applicants to request recent audited organizational financial statements for reference.  

 

Please reach out to Emily Jones (ejones@lisc.org) with any program eligibility or related questions. We look forward to your application and participation! 

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Two CDC Projects Awarded Funds in 2020 Affordable Housing Program Competition

December 28th, 2020 by Don Bianchi

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston awarded $7.2 Million to 5 Massachusetts affordable housing projects, through its Affordable Housing Program (AHP), part of more than $53 Million awarded to affordable housing initiatives in New England. 

 

Five Massachusetts projects received funding, including two CDC projects: 

 

  • Hilltown CDC received a $650,000 AHP grant for Chester Commons, an historic structure that Hilltown CDC will acquire and rehabilitate, to create 15 affordable rental units for residents with disabilities and residents aged 55 years or older.  Hilltown CDC will continue to provide public use of the Hamilton Memorial Library and Museum, located in the building, an important resource in Chester, a rural community in Western MA. The AHP grant was provided through Florence Savings Bank, which will also provide construction financing. 

 

  • North Shore CDC received an AHP subsidy of just under $1 Million and a loan of almost $3 Million to develop Lafayette Housing II, located in the historic Salem Point neighborhood.  Through the acquisition and rehabilitation of 11 buildings, 61 affordable apartments, including some large family units, will be provided- along with two commercial spaces. The AHP grant was awarded through Eastern Bank, which is also providing construction financing and financing to bridge receipt of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. 

 

MACDC congratulates Hilltown CDC and North Shore CDC on their awards! 

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