Baker-Polito Administration and MassHousing Announce First Round of Neighborhood Stabilization Program Capital Grants
Today, the Baker-Polito administration and MassHousing announced a total of $4.6 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants to eight community organizations and municipalities to support the redevelopment or rehabilitation of 31 affordable housing units, including 22 affordable homeownership opportunities.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is a new capital grant program that provides municipalities and non-profit developers with funds to combat blight, abandonment and disinvestment in residential neighborhoods by providing subsidies for the construction, reconstruction, renovation or repair of rental buildings and owned properties. These are the first grants awarded under the program.
“The Neighborhood Stabilization Grants will help ensure the Commonwealth continues on the path to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, while addressing the state’s long-standing housing crisis,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By addressing housing investment needs in communities, this new program will support the economic vitality of Massachusetts cities and towns.”
“The Neighborhood Stabilization Program will transform degraded properties, abandoned homes and vacant lots into new homes where families can live and thrive,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These targeted investments in residential neighborhoods will have deep and lasting impacts for communities and families.”
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program offers higher levels of construction subsidy than previously available from public sources, allowing municipalities and their development partners to deal with the impacts of long-standing neglect. The $50 million program was authorized as part of a $626 million economic development bill that Governor Baker signed into law last year. MassHousing administers the NSP on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.
“Vacant or abandoned homes can negatively impact entire neighborhoods and leave vital housing opportunities off the market,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “This program is part of a multi-pronged approach to investing in neighbourhoods, town centers and infrastructure to create vibrant communities across the Commonwealth.”
“For many, home ownership is a platform for future prosperity, and thanks to these grants, twenty-two families will become homeowners for the first time,” said Jennifer Maddox, Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development. “We commend all of our partners for their work in advancing these vital projects, and we look forward to welcoming families into their new homes.”
“Neighborhood stabilization efforts complement work focused on MassHousing’s mission to promote sustainable homeownership, advance equity, and help working families build intergenerational wealth,” said MassHousing executive director Chrystal Kornegay. “Working with municipalities and nonprofits, Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants will help rehabilitate substandard homes, turn vacant lots into new homeownership opportunities, and improve neighborhoods across the Commonwealth.”
Communities across the Commonwealth are eligible to apply for NSP grant funding, with the program prioritizing projects that will have the greatest impact in the weakest markets, including rural communities and communities disproportionately affected by poverty. COVID-19 pandemic. The program also favors projects that promote home ownership and that include various sponsors. All homes created or rehabilitated through the program will remain affordable for at least 15 years.
11 Green Street, Carver
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth is acquiring a long vacant and derelict property in the town of Carver and redeveloping the house into a new home ownership opportunity for low-income first time buyers, with a preference for veterans. The project received significant matching funds from the Carver Community Preservation Committee.
City of Fitchburg
Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts will acquire a vacant lot from the city of Fitchburg and build a new single-family home, which will be sold to a first-time homebuyer earning up to 80% of the area median income (AMI). Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts will build a new home on the property in partnership with Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School.
Pine Street, Holyoke
OneHolyoke Community Development Corporation (CDC) identified a badly run-down block in the Churchill neighborhood of Holyoke for stabilization efforts and acquired several parcels on the block. The CDC will use the NSP funding to create a duplex-style home on a vacant lot on Pine Street that will be fully owner-occupied. The homeowner will rent the second unit subject to an affordability restriction on the rental unit. This project complements other revitalization efforts already underway by OneHolyoke on the surrounding plots, which are being funded by local sources.
15 Orchard Street, Lawrence
Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW) will build four new family-sized townhouses on a vacant lot that will be sold to first-time home buyers earning up to 80% of the AMI. The project advances LCW’s longstanding work to address degraded conditions in Lawrence’s North Common neighborhood; over the past two decades, LCW has developed 63 housing and rental units on more than 20 plots at North Common, as well as community facilities and parks that serve the neighborhood. LCW will deliver the 15 Orchard Street project in partnership with Mill Cities Community Investments, a local community development finance institution, and Ceres Investments, LLC, a minority/women-owned business development company.
Filling the Old Hill neighborhood, Springfield
The City of Springfield will partner with the nonprofit Home City Development to build 11 new single-family homes on vacant city-owned land in the Old Hill neighborhood. This scattered site infill development project significantly advances the city’s ongoing revitalization efforts in the Old Hill neighborhood, which has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Springfield has 22 vacant lots in this neighborhood, which were acquired through tax deeds of vacant or degraded properties. In addition to contributing the development plots for a nominal fee, the City of Springfield also provides matching funds to the project. The new home ownership units will be affordable for first-time home buyers earning between 80% and 120% of the AMI.
House of Tranquility, Springfield
Tranquility House is an existing building of eight single occupancy units that provides communal supportive housing for recovering women who are homeless. It is owned and operated by Open Pantry Community Services (OPCS), a subsidiary of the South Middlesex Opportunity Council. The NSP funds will allow OPCS to meet the property’s significant deferred capital needs, including replacement of windows, porch, roof and gutters, as well as rehabilitation of interior spaces. The renovation project will position the property to meet HUD Housing Quality Standards, ensuring the property continues to serve residents in need.
12 Congress Street, Worcester
Worcester Community Housing Resources (WCHR) will use NSP funding to renovate a two-family property in a historic neighborhood that has been abandoned for a decade and has fallen into disrepair. The Central Housing Court appointed WCHR to act as receiver and remedy state health code violations on the property. WCHR plans to remedy the code violations in the coming months and then directly acquire the property through a foreclosure action related to the receivership process. The NSP funds will be used to pay off a construction loan related to code compliance work done in escrow, as well as make market-quality repairs before selling the two units of the property to first-time home buyers.
33 Merrick Street, Worcester
Worcester Common Ground will create two new home ownership opportunities for first-time home buyers on long-vacant land in the Piedmont area of Worcester. WCG has extensive experience in tackling the scourge and creating home ownership opportunities for low-income Worcester residents and the non-profit developer has acquired the property at 33 Merrick Street from the City of Worcester in 2020. The new duplex at 33 Merrick Street will serve first-time home buyers earning up to 80 percent of the AMI.
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