HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – An affordable housing project in Holyoke was recently awarded a grant for $900,000 from the state.

The Essex in Holyoke, located on the corner of Essex and Chestnut Streets, is a key part of what’s called the Library Commons Development Project, a project designed to bring safe, healthy, and affordable housing to the residents of Holyoke. The historic Holyoke building has been vacant for years, but soon, many people will be able to call it home after a renovation and restoration by Wayfinders, a non-profit that works to bring housing stability to communities in western Massachusetts.

Wayfinders will use this $900,000 grant to preserve the brick exterior of this Queen Anne’s style building and create 12 new affordable units inside. Evander Barrios has lived in Holyoke much of his life and is looking forward to seeing this building become useful again.

“Taking these older buildings and actually using them and turning them into housing which is a big need these days would be definitely positive to the community, to Holyoke,” said Barrios.

Diane Smith, the Chief Real Estate Officer of Wayfinders said the project is slated to be completed by 2025. Smith explains the people they are looking to help through this project.

“We’re talking about families who are making less than $25,000 a year and some of them are significantly less than that and it’s very hard for them to find rents that they can afford in the marketplace. So being able to put together a housing development that allows them to have high-quality housing and safe, well-managed housing that they can afford is substantially important,” said Smith.

Wayfinders expects to break ground on phase two of the project just next year.