NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Baker-Polito Administration and MassHousing announce funds to help provide affordable housing in Springfield and Holyoke.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program Capital Grants awards $4.6 million to eight community-based organizations and municipalities to address neighborhood blight and create new homeownership opportunities across Massachusetts. The new program provides the funds to address blight, abandonment, and disinvestment in residential neighborhoods, by providing grants for the construction, reconstruction, renovation, or repair of substandard rental and homeownership properties.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program provides deeper levels of construction subsidy than were previously available through state sources, allowing municipalities and their development partners to address the impacts of longstanding neglect. The $50 million program was authorized as part of a $626 million economic development bill Governor Baker signed into law last year. MassHousing administers NSP on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.
Old Hill neighborhood in Springfield
Home City Development, a non-profit organization, will build 11 single-family homes on city-owned vacant lots in the Old Hill neighborhood which were acquired through tax-title takings of vacant or blighted properties. The Old Hill neighborhood was hard hit by the foreclosure crisis and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
The City of Springfield is matching funds to the project.
Tranquility House in Springfield
An existing eight-unit single-room-occupancy building for single women facing homelessness and recovering from substance abuse will receive funds for renovations. The project includes addressing extensive deferred capital needs at the property, window, porch, roof, and gutter replacement, as well as the rehabilitation of interior spaces.
Tranquility House is owned and operated by Open Pantry Community Services.
Pine Street in Holyoke
A duplex will be constructed on a vacant lot on Pine Street, which will be entirely owned by one owner-occupant. The owner-occupant will rent out the second unit subject to an affordability restriction on the rental unit.
OneHolyoke Community Development Corporation has acquired multiple blighted parcels on the block to assist families in need.
“Neighborhood Stabilization grants will help ensure that the Commonwealth continues on a successful path of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, while also addressing the state’s longstanding housing crisis,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By responding to housing investment needs in communities, this new program will promote economic vitality in cities and towns across Massachusetts.”
“The Neighborhood Stabilization Program will transform blighted properties, abandoned homes and vacant lots into new homes where families can live and thrive,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “These targeted investments in residential neighborhoods will create deep and lasting impacts for communities and families alike.”
“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 neighborhoods, downtowns, and infrastructure to build vibrant communities across the Commonwealth.”
“For many, homeownership is a platform for future prosperity, and as a result of these grants, twenty-two families will become homeowners for the first time,” said Jennifer Maddox, Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development. “We congratulate all of our partners for their work advancing these vital projects, and we look forward to welcoming families into their new homes.”
“Neighborhood stabilization efforts complement MassHousing’s mission-driven work of promoting sustainable homeownership, advancing equity, and helping working families build intergenerational wealth,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “Working collaboratively with municipalities and non-profit organizations, Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants will help rehabilitate substandard homes, transform vacant lots into new homeownership opportunities, and uplift neighborhoods across the Commonwealth.”
Additional projects awarded Neighborhood Stabilization Program Capital Grants in Massachusetts:
11 Green Street, Carver
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth is acquiring a long-vacant and blighted property from the Town of Carver and redeveloping the home into a new homeownership opportunity for low-income first-time homebuyers, with a preference for veterans. The project was awarded significant matching funds from the Carver Community Preservation Committee.
City of Fitchburg
Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts will acquire a vacant parcel from the City of Fitchburg and construct a new single-family home, which will be sold to a first-time homebuyer earning up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts will construct a new home on the property in partnership with Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School.
15 Orchard Street, Lawrence
Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW) will construct four new family-sized homeownership townhomes on a vacant parcel that will be sold to first-time homebuyers earning up to 80 percent of AMI. The project advances LCW’s longstanding work to address blighted conditions in Lawrence’s North Common neighborhood; over the past two decades, LCW has developed 63 homeownership and rental units across more than 20 parcels in North Common, along with 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 Financial Institution, and Ceres Investments, LLC, a Minority/Woman-owned Business Enterprise development firm.
12 Congress Street, Worcester
Worcester Community Housing Resources (WCHR) will utilize NSP funding to renovate a two-family property in an historic neighborhood that has sat abandoned for a decade and fallen into severe disrepair. The Central Housing Court has appointed WCHR to act as a receiver and remediate the State Sanitary Code violations at the property. WCHR plans to remediate code violations in the coming months, and then acquire the property outright through a foreclosure action related to the receivership process. NSP funds will be used to pay off a construction loan related to code compliance work done under receivership, as well as to complete marketability repairs prior to selling the property’s two units to first-time homebuyers.
33 Merrick Street, Worcester
Worcester Common Ground will create two new homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers on a long-vacant lot in Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood. WCG has extensive experience addressing blight and creating homeownership opportunities for lower-income Worcester residents and the nonprofit developer acquired the 33 Merrick Street property from the City of Worcester in 2020. The new duplex at 33 Merrick Street will serve first-time homebuyers earning up to 80 percent of AMI.