HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Two state leaders are scheduled to visit Hadley and Greenfield on Friday as part of the statewide housing production tour aimed at improving affordable housing.

Access to affordable housing has become a growing issue in the nation and right here in Massachusetts. Valley Community Development in Hadley, a non-profit organization, and Wells Street Shelter in Greenfield, help address these housing concerns for rural residents.

State Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton) along with Joint Committee on Housing chairperson Senator Lydia Edwards (D-East Boston) will tour these locations on Friday afternoon. They are working to hear about the challenges in affordable housing and shelters and making them economically viable while still addressing more rural needs.

The following housing and shelter experts are listed to be in attendance:

  • Keleigh BenEzra, Clinical and Support Options (CSO)
  • Alexis Breiteneicher, Valley Community Development
  • Rachana Crowley, The Community Builders, Inc.
  • Shaundell Diaz, Three County Continuum of Care, Community Action Pioneer Valley
  • Linda Dunlavy, Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG)
  • Katie Dwan, Three County Continuum of Care, Community Action Pioneer Valley
  • Keith Fairey, Way Finders
  • Erin Forbush, ServiceNet
  • Melanie Gaier, The Community Builders, Inc.
  • Gina Govoni, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority
  • (FCRHRA) and Rural Development, Inc. (RDI)
  • Karin Jeffers, Clinical and Support Options (CSO)
  • Alyssa Larose, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority
  • (FCRHRA) and Rural Development, Inc. (RDI)
  • Katherine Mague, Behavioral Health Network
  • Tim McCarthy, Craig’s Doors
  • Julia Scannell, The Community Builders, Inc.
  • Pamela Schwartz, Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness
  • Janna Tetreault, Community Action Pioneer Valley

There are 41 families and over 80 people being housed at the Days Inn in Greenfield and ServiceNet, the local government, and the community are all coming together to support them. These families are housed at the Days Inn hotel due to a “critical shortage of affordable housing in the state,” according to Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities.

“The housing crisis has always been bigger than Boston. I want to thank Sen. Jo Comerford and the dozens of stakeholders, tenants, organizations, and activists for welcoming me, and showing me the unique challenges faced in Western Massachusetts”, said Senator Edwards.

“I am honored to welcome Senator Edwards to the Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester district,” said Senator Comerford. “We have a 13,000-unit gap in affordable housing in western Massachusetts and an even more acute need around sheltering. As a Commonwealth, to achieve regional equity, we must invest equitably in housing and shelter infrastructure in rural regions. I am deeply grateful that the tireless Senator Edwards has made it a priority to understand the challenges and opportunities in our region.”

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