Workshop Focuses on Addressing Distressed Properties in Holyoke

November 1st, 2021 by Don Bianchi

On October 28th, MACDC joined our partners at the Neighborhood Hub and in Holyoke to present a workshop at MHP’s Housing Institute for Gateway Cities. The workshop, titled “Addressing Distressed Properties in Holyoke,” offered perspectives on the partnership among the Neighborhood Hub, the City of Holyoke’s Office of Planning and Economic Development, and OneHolyoke CDC

Holyoke was one of five Gateway Cities selected by the Neighborhood Hub to receive two-year technical assistance grants to identify equitable strategies to address the challenges presented by distressed and abandoned properties, and build local capacity. The City of Holyoke is using the Hub funding to: 

  • Identify locations for housing development in the South Holyoke and Flats Neighborhoods of Holyoke 
  • Create base maps 
  • Provide attributes and obstacles for housing development on 5 sites 
  • Conduct stakeholder interviews 
  • Provide a housing development toolkit 
  • Prepare a plan to address the capital needs for properties owned by OneHolyoke CDC 

The project’s prospects for success are aided by the strong relationship between City government and OneHolyoke CDC, and by the able consulting assistance provided by LDS Consulting Group.  As Aaron Vega, Director of Holyoke’s Office of Planning and Economic Development stated, “The City can only do so much. Partnerships expand the City’s ability to get things done.” 


Commenting Closed

House Adopts $3.8 billion spending bill, Combines Federal ARPA dollars with State Surplus - Many, but not all, MACDC Priorities are Included

November 1st, 2021 by Joe Kriesberg

On Friday, October 29, the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved $3.8 billion in new spending using a combination of Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and state surplus revenue. The final bill included four so-called consolidated amendments totaling $174 million that funded projects in four areas – Health and Human Services, Economic Development, Housing, and Climate/Energy.  The bill, which now goes to the Senate, included some, but not all, of MACDC’s priorities. 

Affordable Housing: The bill includes $600 million for five statewide housing initiatives.  While this was less than the $1.6 billion that CHAPA and MACDC had been advocating for it still represents an exciting and unprecedented investment in our housing system. The five housing programs are:  

  • $150M for Supportive Housing Production
  • $150M for Public Housing Maintenance  
  • $100M for Homeownership Assistance  
  • $100M for CommonWealth Builder Program (homeownership production) 
  • $100M for Affordable Rental Housing Production

MACDC worked with allies to advocate for two key amendments on the House floor, but neither was included in the Consolidated Housing Amendment.    

  • Rep. David LeBeouf filed an amendment to provide $25 million for a Massachusetts Healthy Homes Initiative that would have provided funding to remove lead paint and other health hazards from 1-4 unit properties.  The Amendment garnered 34 cosponsors but did not pass. 
  • Rep. Ruth Balser and Michael Day filed an amendment to fund a Right to Counsel program for people facing eviction. The Amendment garnered 77 cosponsors but was not passed. 

Small Business Support: The bill coming out of the House Ways & Means Committee recommended $50 million for grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis – far less than the $1 billion proposal we put forward with the Coalition for an Equitable Economy. Rep. Liz Miranda and 39 other Representatives filed an amendment to increase this to $200 million. The final bill did increase the amount to $60 Million.  

MACDC appreciates the many Representatives who advocated for our priorities and we thank Speaker Ron Mariano and House Ways & Means Committee Chair, Aaron Michlewitz for putting together an historic and comprehensive investment plan that will improve the lives of millions of Massachusetts residents and create a healthier and more equitable Commonwealth. 

Commenting Closed
Subscribe to News