CHESTER, Mass. (WWLP) – Two state leaders are scheduled to visit Chester Commons on Thursday regarding the concerns in building affordable housing.

Access to affordable housing has become a growing issue in the nation and right here in Massachusetts. The Hilltown Community Development Corporation (Hilltown CDC), a non-profit organization, helps address these housing concerns for rural residents.

State Senator Paul Mark (D-Becket) along with Joint Committee on Housing chairperson Senator Lydia Edwards (D-East Boston) will tour Chester Commons on School Street Thursday afternoon. They are working to hear about the challenges in building affordable housing projects and making them economically viable while still addressing more rural needs.

Hilltown CDC purchased Chester Commons in 2020, the former Chester High School building. It was converted to affordable housing in 1987 for residents over 55 years of age with disabilities. The organization owns rental housing in renovated buildings in Chester, Chesterfield, Haydenville, Huntington, and Williamsburg as well as built senior housing in Westhampton and Goshen.

Two weeks ago, Massachusetts Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus toured Springfield housing projects as part of the statewide housing production tour aimed at improving affordable housing. He was appointed as Bay State’s first housing secretary in May to help battle the housing crisis across the Commonwealth.

MAP: Chester Commons

According to Senator Paul Mark’s office which serves areas in Berkshire, Hampden, Franklin and Hampshire County districts, the scarcity of rental housing creates an additional challenge for those who are priced out of the housing market. Hilltown CDC addresses these economic issues and has built and or renovated 17 homes for first-time homebuyers in the last few years.

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