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Boost Your Charitable Giving with the CITC

December 21st, 2017 by Joe Kriesberg

The holiday season is a time to appreciate loved ones and good fortunes, and it often comes with a renewed enthusiasm for giving back. Thanks to a well-established program in Massachusetts, you can dramatically increase your charitable giving this year and directly support vital work within your neighborhood or community.

Over the past three years, thousands of individuals, families and businesses have used the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) – a 50 percent donation tax credit – to double the impact of their charitable giving and to support local tailored efforts to improve our communities and create economic opportunity. The program enables local Community Development Corporations (CDCs) across the commonwealth to:
- produce and preserve housing that is affordable to working families and seniors;
- help local entrepreneurs start, grow and sustain small businesses;
- organize residents to advocate for community improvement; and 
- provide critical service to families, youth and seniors. 

CDCs strive to address the racial and economic inequality that is prevalent across Massachusetts by supporting families within their community to ensure that everyone can participate in and benefit from our economy. This is both a challenge and an aspiration for a CDC, whether it is supporting scallop fisherman on the Cape, building housing in Chelsea or helping farmers in Greenfield.

The CITC program provides a 50 percent refundable state tax credit to state-certified CDCs. The minimum donation is $1,000, which yields a $500 state tax credit and can also be claimed as a federal charitable tax deduction. Some taxpayers have used the program to eliminate their entire state tax burden, while also supporting their local community.

If the holiday spirit has filled you with the sense of giving and you are looking for a worthy cause to which to donate, look no further than your own community. The CITC program is also open to corporations, foundations and donor advised funds seeking to make charitable contributions. It is a great way to ensure your dollars are spent locally and have maximum impact. Donations must be received by Dec. 31 to be eligible for this year. To take advantage of this amazing program, visit the MACDC website at https://macdc.org.

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MACDC seeks Excellence in Governance

December 14th, 2017 by Joe Kriesberg

 

MACDC board and staff leaders joined with community development leaders from across the country in Washington DC recently to participate in NeighborWorks America's Excellence in Governance program. The program works with community development organizations over an 18-month to help them improve their board governance practices.  Each organization identifies specific goals for improvement and develops a work plan to achieve them.  MACDC's board has decided to focus on two issues: (1) helping our board devote more time and energy to generative discussions about deepening our impact and (2) improving the racial and ethnic diversity of our board and other leadership roles.  Through the program, we are working to adopt "best practices" from other organizations, change our board culture to focus on the big issues, build stronger relationships among board members, and ensure a welcoming environment for new board members.

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Governor Baker’s Housing Choice Initiative calls for 135,000 new homes

December 14th, 2017 by Joe Kriesberg

On Monday, December 11, Governor Charlie Baker stood with leaders from municipal government, business and the housing field, including MACDC, to announce his new Housing Choice Initiative with the goal of producing 135,000 homes across the state by 2025.  The Initiative creates a new system of incentives and rewards for municipalities that deliver sustainable housing growth; creates a new technical assistance toolbox to empower cities and towns to plan for new housing production; and proposes legislative changes, through An Act to Promote Housing Choices, to deliver smart, effective zoning at the local level.

The Governor’s program builds on the ideas and proposals being advanced by the Great Neighborhoods campaign led by the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, of which MACDC is an active member.  The Great Neighborhoods campaign announced its support for the Housing Choice Initiative and also plans to continue advocating for comprehensive statewide zoning reform legislation.  The Governor’s initiative also comes at a great time for MACDC as we have just launched our new Suburban Housing Caucus with 13 of our member organizations. The Caucus and its members will be working to encourage cities and towns to embrace the initiative and become designated Housing Choice Communities.

“We are very excited about the Governor’s Housing Choice Initiative and look forward to working with his Administration to make the program a success throughout the Commonwealth. Our non-profit, community-led member organizations have built over 18,000 homes and we are eager to build more.  This program will provide the tools and supports to build more homes for a wide range of households and to build them in good locations,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations.

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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.

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MACDC’s Advocacy Results in More Lead-Safe Homes

December 5th, 2017 by Don Bianchi

Despite substantial gains made over 45 years of public health intervention, lead exposure remains a significant health risk for children in Massachusetts. Recent evidence suggests that for children there is no safe level of exposure to lead and that exposure to relatively low levels can result in irreversible health effects.  Due to recent advances in State policy, there are new tools to combat the dangers posed by lead paint.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has proposed amendments to regulations on Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control, to lower the threshold of Blood Lead Level (BLL) defining lead poisoning.  DPH notes that this will broaden the protection of children by expanding the number of properties where the Commonwealth would require inspection and remediation of violations of the Lead Law, increasing the number of lead-safe units.  The change also underscores the need for funding to remove hazardous lead paint.  Fortunately, funding is now more readily available to help homeowners.

In October 2016, MassHousing, which administers the Get the Lead Out Program on behalf of the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), announced enhancements to the Program.  These enhancements make it easier for all families throughout the Commonwealth to gain access to the GTLO funds.  One important enhancement is that now all owner occupants have access to 0% loans, with repayment deferred until the home is sold, transferred, or refinanced. Mass Housing also made technical changes that make it easier for banks and non-profit agencies, including CDCs, to administer the program.

These changes were the result of advocacy by MACDC, its Members, CHAPA, the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, and the Massachusetts Public Health Association.  We met with representatives of DHCD and MassHousing late in 2015, and again in May of 2016.  The agencies were receptive to our recommendations, culminating in the significant changes announced in October of 2016.

These improvements to the GTLO Program have paid off.  In fiscal year 2017, 80 loans were made – the most since fiscal year 2008.  In fact, these 80 loans were more than the combined loans made during the four-year period from fiscal years 2010 through 2013!  MACDC’s advocacy played a significant role in this success.

Exposure to lead paint remains a serious problem.  Due to the welcome increase in the number of GTLO loans, the available funding has been reduced to approximately $3.5 million.  MACDC hopes to work with DHCD and MassHousing to secure additional funding for this important program in the coming months and years.

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Join Us and Support Great Neighborhoods Across the Commonwealth!

November 13th, 2017 by David Bryant

As members of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance (MSGA), MACDC enthusiastically endorses the Great Neighborhoods campaign, led by MSGA, which is all about safeguarding and securing many of the things we all care about: better housing choices for families and seniors; more vibrant, walkable downtowns that promote healthy living and local businesses; and a development approach that preserves natural resources and protects us from climate change.

You may already know some of the following unfortunate facts:

· The median home sale price is now over $400,000 while the median rent in the state is $2600 per month. Nearly some quarter-million families in Massachusetts pay more than half their income on housing.

· At the same time, 13 acres of open space are lost to sprawling development in Massachusetts, and the average single-family lot in Metro Boston is now larger than a professional football field.

· At least 52% of Americans want to live in places where they do not have to use a car often.

You can learn more about the Campaign, sign the petition, and read the Call to Action here, which lists organizations that endorse these shared principles. Please contact Larry Field at the MA Smart Growth Alliance if your organization can endorse the Campaign. His email address is larry@ma-smartgrowth.org.

A broad range of organizations has joined the Great Neighborhoods campaign to promote its core principles and to call on state leaders to pass a strong bill this session that addresses the housing crisis and looks to create healthier, walkable places to live and thrive. We urge that your organization join the Great Neighborhoods campaign and that you individually sign the petition calling on state leaders to act!

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MACDC Members Discuss Innovations in Clean Energy

November 6th, 2017 by Don Bianchi
Representatives of a dozen MACDC Member organizations participated in a discussion on energy efficiency and clean energy, at the November 1 meeting of MACDC’s Housing and Real Estate Peer Group.  Mike Davis and Emily Jones from LISC Boston, who administer LISC’s Green Retrofit Initiative, Ed Connolly from New Ecology, Inc. and Beverly Craig from the MA Clean Energy Center, led a discussion on how CDCs can incorporate the latest technologies and systems in their real estate developments to reduce energy use and lower operating costs.  The topics covered included the following:
 
1. The successes and challenges of the LEAN Multifamily Program which uses utility funding to provide energy retrofits, and the newly developed energy efficiency roadmap which brings together the utilities with the Commonwealth’s quasi-public housing funding agencies to provide funding for projects at the point of refinancing;
2. The Commonwealth’s upcoming 3-year Energy Efficiency Plan for 2019-2021, as the current 3-year Plan expires at the end of calendar year 2018.  A draft plan will be available for comment in 2018; the plan will guide the priorities for approximately $2.1 billion in energy efficiency funding;
3. Planned and potential trainings covering passive house design and construction, LEED Green Associate training, and Building Operator training.
 
Don Bianchi from MACDC will work with CDCs, LISC, and other public and private actors to explore the potential for shared capacity, collaborations, and new initiatives.
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Undoing Racism Workshop: Moving Forward

November 1st, 2017 by Mahlet Moges

Undoing Racism Workshop: Moving Forward

 

If you have ever attended an Undoing Racism Workshop and are left wondering what to do next, there is an opportunity coming up next month. The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and the Undoing Racism Workshop is at the forefront of anti-racist training and community organizer training. The Haymarket People’s Fund in partnership with the Boston College CHRIJ and LSOE, Simmons SSW, and the Mel King Institute, are happy to announce a regroup session open to anyone that has ever attended an Undoing Racism Workshop. This session revisits concepts from the workshop to discuss, reflect, and apply those themes to our lives and communities. This winter’s community regroup session will take place Friday November 3rd from 4 pm to 6 pm at the Nate Smith House Conference Room, 155 Lamartine St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Community organizers Ronald Chisom and Dr. Jim Dunn founded The People’s Institute in 1980 to support a “collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers, and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation.” They work with individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions to undo the causes of racism and to create a society where race is no longer a barrier preventing communities and individuals from building communities and “effective coalitions.”

The Undoing Racism Workshop is one of The People’s Institute’s main Anti-Racist Principles in their mission to achieve effective social transformation. Through an intensive two-and-half-day workshop The People’s Institute asked difficult questions in hopes of molding active community organizers. The workshop consisted of four distinct themes—listed below—addressing how participants contribute to outlined ecosystem and what an organizer’s role is.

  • Why are people poor?
  • Community power analysis
  • What is gatekeeping?
  • Deconstructing internalized racial oppression

 

The winter regroup session on Friday, November 3rd from 4 pm to 6 pm at ---- is a chance for all those that have ever attended the Undoing Racism Workshop to remember key lessons and discover resources for moving forward. The People’s Institute created the workshop as a tool not to address the symptoms of racism, but undo the causes that have integrated into everyday life. Come out to the regroup session to find resources and forge connections with the aim of creating “a more just and equitable society.”

 

For more information, please reach out to Mahlet Moges at MahletM@macdc.org or Courtnye Lloyd at LLOYDCB@bc.edu

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Housing Nantucket Brings Four New Affordable Rental Homes Online, Two More Completed Shortly

October 25th, 2017 by Anne Kuszpa
 
HOUSING
NANTUCKET
75 Old South Road • P.O. Box 3149 • Nantucket, MA 02554 • Tel: 508.228.4422
 
PRESS RELEASE
*For Immediate Release*
 
 
Housing Nantucket Brings Four New Affordable Rental Homes Online, Two More Completed Shortly
 
Nantucket - September 25, 2017 -Housing Nantucket completed construction this summer of four new units of affordable rental housing, with two more units to be completed shortly. The units were created through Housing Nantucket's House Recycling Program, where donated structures are e relocated to land given to Housing Nantucket by the Town. The structures are renovated and leased at below­ market rates to island residents earning between 60-80% of the Area Median Income. Housing Nantucket will manage the units through its Affordable Rental Housing Program, which includes 33 rental homes at various island sites. All units will be available to the community at affordable rates in perpetuity, ensured through permanent deed restrictions.
 
 
Key community leaders involved in this significant accomplishment include: the Nantucket Board of Selectmen; the Nantucket Housing Authority; Community Preservation Committee; the Affordable Housing Trust Fund; and the Nantucket Planning Board. Donors to Housing Nantucket's Community Investment Tax Credit program provided supplementary financial contributions.
 
 
"In high-cost  communities like Nantucket,  rental homes are often the only financially realistic option for low-  and moderate-income families," said Anne Kuszpa, Executive Director of Housing Nantucket. "Housing Nantucket 's rental homes meet an important aspect of the island's diverse housing needs. We are incredibly grateful for support from the Town and from the community.  Yet, the need is far greater. There are more than 160 households still waiting for a Housing Nantucket rental opportunity.  We still have a lot of work to do."
 
Housing the Nantucket Community Since1994 housingnantucket.org
 
Affordable Rentals House Recycling Advocacy Covenant Homes Education Resources
 
The deficit of workforce housing is widely recognized as the most pressing issue facing the Nantucket community and is a source of hardship for many individuals and families. A lack of housing for employees impedes business performance and growth, degrading the Nantucket experience for residents and visitors alike.
 
 
The dwellings were built in two locations: 73A Old South Road and 18 Ticcoma Way. The rental unit at 18 Ticcoma Way is a one-bedroom apartment converted from a garage. Summer residents Scott and Laura Stuart donated the structure, which was relocated from their property in Pocomo. Builder Ron Winters and his Thirty Acre Wood team ensured the construction process went off without a hitch. Housing Nantucket selected the tenant by lottery, and the tenant moved into the unit in July. The unit is eligible for state's Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) list.
 
 
The 73A Old South Road structure contains three, two-bedroom rental units. The building, which was originally built in 1910 and formerly located at 50 Union Street, was donated by the Berlyn family of Wochester, MA. Originally a duplex unit, the building was converted into a triplex to provide more affordable housing opportunities under one roof.  Stacy and Trevor Barrett of Barrett Enterprises oversaw the house-moving and construction process. Tenants were selected from Housing Nantucket’s Ready-to-Rent list and will move into the units October 1st.
"We are very excited,” said Plamen Dimitrov, one of the new tenants, moments after he signed his lease. "My wife and I have been looking for a different rental since our baby was born three years ago. Since then, we have all been sharing one bedroom in a tiny apartment.  We just weren’t willing to move to a moldy basement or pay $3,000 a month for a room in a shared house, which were the type of options available to us until we got this opportunity.  Housing Nantucket has taken care of us, and we appreciate it so much."
 
Housing Nantucket is the island's only non-profit organization dedicated to creating mixed-income rental and home-ownership opportunities for Nantucket residents.
Housing Nantucket follows a scattered-site approach, developing small-scale affordable housing dispersed around the island. Creation of Housing Nantucket's rental units is funded in part from donations to Housing Nantucket's Community Investment Tax Credit Program, in which Housing Nantucket provides donors with state tax credits in addition to the federal benefits of making a charitable contribution.
 
 
Contact Anne Kuszpa, Executive Director, at anne@housingnantucket.org or call (774)333-3927 for more information.
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