Joe Kriesberg: Honored for 21 Years of Incredible Service at MACDC!

October 31st, 2014 by

On Saturday, MACDC’s Board of Directors honored their President, Joe Kriesberg, for his 21 years of exceptional leadership. Gail Latimore, MACDC’s Board Chair, cited some of Joe’s many accomplishments, including developing the Mel King Institute for Community Building and the Innovation Forum, as well as his incredible focus and tenacity advocating for the successful passage of the Community Investment Tax Credit. This is perhaps his most significant contribution to the field, as the Community Investment Tax Credit program will inject $66 million in funds into CDCs across the Commonwealth over the next six years.

Joe has, also led numerous, successful, advocacy campaigns to pass legislation, secure funding and put policies in place to help make CDCs more effective and efficient, including the groundbreaking Insurance Industry Community Investment Act, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Small Business Technical Assistance Program, a comprehensive anti-foreclosure law, and a new law to help preserve “expiring-use” affordable rental developments.

In addition to his work in Massachusetts, Joe has taken a leadership role nationally as a founding member of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations.

Congratulations to Joe for this well-deserved honor.

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Candidates for Governor Highlight MACDC Convention

October 31st, 2014 by Joe Kriesberg

Yes. Yes. Yes.

That’s how four candidates for Governor answered three of the four questions MACDC asked them in front of more than 600 community development leaders and residents from across the state who had crowded into a ballroom at the Westin Hotel in Boston on Saturday, October 25 for MACDC’s 2014 Convention. The answers came as part of our Gubernatorial Forum which was attended by Martha Coakley (Democrat), Charlie Baker (Republican), Evan Falchuck (United Independent Party) and Jeff McCormick (Independent candidate).  All four of these candidates agreed, if elected, to

  1. Provide at least $2 million in their budget for the Small Business Technical Assistance Program
  2. Fully implement and support the Community Investment Tax Credit
  3. Meet with MACDC after the election to discuss how to achieve shared goals

MACDC also asked the candidates to increase the state’s capital budget for affordable housing by $32 million in 2016. While none of the candidates made a firm commitment to this dollar amount, all of them expressed strong support for investing in affordable housing and targeting more resources toward homeownership development.  You can watch video of each candidate’s remarks.

The Gubernatorial Forum was just one aspect of the day-long Convention, which also included opportunities for learning, networking and celebrating.  The Convention included eight different workshops on a range of topics, the release of MACDC’s 2015 Policy Agenda and the presentation of Awards to outstanding leaders in the public, private and CDC sectors.   Aaron Gornstein, Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development received the Excellence in Community Service award and then spoke about the great work that local CDCs are doing in their communities every day.  And Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spoke about his plans to work with CDCs to implement his agenda for housing and economic development in the City.

The event was also a great opportunity to roll our a new Social Media campaign using the hashtag #cdcswork.  You can see a review of all the social media activity by looking on our Storify page.

The Convention was made possible by generous support from Bank of America, Citi Foundation, MHIC, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and dozens of other sponsors (Complete list of sponsors).  MACDC is grateful to all the sponsors as well as the volunteers, speakers and participants who made the 2014 Convention a major success.  We are already excited about the next convention – in 2018!

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Allston Brighton Hosts Community Forum on Student Housing

October 13th, 2014 by Allston Brighton CDC

On Saturday, September 13th over 100 Allston-Brighton residents and community stakeholders came together to engage in a productive and fruitful dialogue around the issues of student housing and institutional expansion. 

The Boston Globe did a write up for the event, please read the story here:

With the valuable insight gained through robust community participation during the breakout sessions, and report back. We have been able to identify four areas to focus on and will be convening work groups in each focus area. These work groups will address the following: Code Enforcement and Quality of LifeBRA Processes and RoleUniversity's Role in Neighborhood Stabilization, and Housing Stabilization Strategies. If you would be interested in participating in one, or more, of these committees-please email  

This solution-based forum was just the first step in a larger community movement to engage residents, community groups and public officials in developing an action plan to mitigate the impacts of institutional expansion and student overcrowding in Allston-Brighton’s residential neighborhoods. It will take advocates, local leadership, and community support to make this campaign a success. Thank you for your partnership.

We are proud to acknowledge all of our partners: Aberdeen-Brighton Residents Association, Allston-Brighton Health  Collaborative, Allston Civic Association, Allston Village Main Streets, The Boston Foundation, Brighton-Allston Historical Society, Brighton Main Streets, Brighton Neighbors United, Chandler Pond Preservation Society, Charlesview, Inc., Friends of the Oak Square Common, Rev. Karen Fritz, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, Oak Square YMCA, Presentation School Foundation, Inc., the Radnor Neighborhood  Association and the West End House

As well as the offices of: Mayor Martin J. Walsh, City Councilor Mark Ciommo, City Councilor Michelle Wu, State Senator Will Brownberger, State Senator Sal DiDomenico, State Representative Kevin Honan and State Representative Mike Moran
 Thank you and we look forward to your further engagement.

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Westhampton Woods: The Shape of Things to Come?

October 7th, 2014 by Don Bianchi


On a warm, sunny morning in late September, approximately 35 people gathered to celebrate the Open House for Westhampton Woods, Phase II, a 8-unit affordable housing development for seniors in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. Sponsored by Hilltown CDC, the construction of the second phase is the culmination of a community effort that began in 2000 when local residents, organized through the Westhampton Congregational Church, approached Hilltown CDC for assistance. The success of Phase I, completed in 2005, led to development of this second phase, bringing the total number of homes on this lovely wooded site to 15.

The successful development of any affordable housing in Massachusetts is challenging. Land suitable for building can be hard to find, restrictive zoning laws can be a barrier, and sponsors must often queue up through several competitive funding rounds to access the subsidized funds required. The development of rural housing adds an additional layer of challenges and impediments, especially in a town like Westhampton, which has fewer than 2,000 residents. Municipalities typically have limited capacity, and few dollars to contribute. Rural areas lack the infrastructure (water, sewer, and roads), and the market rents in these areas tend to be lower. Rural projects tend to be smaller so that they can adhere to the rural character of the town in which they are located and because neither the community nor the market will support a large, dense development. While smaller projects can have some advantages (such as faster permitting and wood-frame construction) they lack certain economies of scale. More significantly, low income housing tax credits - the primary source of subsidizing affordable housing in MA- are simply not an available source for small projects.

Yet affordable housing is urgently needed in all communities in Massachusetts, including rural communities. Rural communities face a range of housing challenges from decreasing and aging populations, an aging housing stock and, in some regions, high demand pressures from second home buyers. Incomes in rural areas tend to be lower, exacerbated by limited or no access to public transportation and few employment opportunities, and rental housing in some communities is almost nonexistent.

MACDC has joined an effort initiated by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP), a quasi-public agency, to take on the challenges associated with rural housing in Massachusetts. MHP has brought together CDCs and other nonprofit organizations, State agencies, regional planning agencies, and local officials to identify and advocate for strategies to address these challenges. We expect recommendations to be forthcoming this fall, to the incoming Governor and to the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Despite the challenges, we gathered to celebrate Westhampton Woods. This was especially exciting for me, as I was the Housing Director at Hilltown CDC in 2000 when the residents approached the CDC and asked for help in developing senior housing. I can vividly recall those early meetings in the Church basement, where all we had was the “who” (local volunteers and a responsive CDC), the “what” (senior housing), and the “why” (seniors who could no longer maintain their homes had nowhere in town to go), but no idea of the how and the where and the when. On this bright September day almost 15 years later, at 13 Main Road in Westhampton, those questions were answered.

The challenge facing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts now is to provide a path to answering these questions for more rural residents. At the Westhampton Open House, DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein noted the importance of housing options for seniors, and pledged DHCD’s support for smaller-scale rental projects. Rita Farrell from MHP added that this was a model they would like to see replicated in many rural communities. When support from State agencies is combined with resident initiative and a capable nonprofit developer, our Commonwealth has the potential for many more celebrations like the one in Westhampton.

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MACDC & United Way release CITC video

October 2nd, 2014 by

MACDC and United Way released today a video highlighting the impact to Massachusetts communities and prospective donors of the Community Investment Tax Credit.  Check out what Governor Deval Patrick, MACDC's Joe Kriesberg, United Way's Mike Durkin, Codman Square NDC's Gail Latimore, Nixon Peabody's Evelyn Moreno and Kevin P. Martin & Associates Matthew Malroney and Chris Pulick have to say about this program.

CLICK HERE to watch the video.

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