The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Department
State House Boston, MA 02133
(617) 725-4000



November 12, 2004

Shawn Feddeman
Jodi Charles
(617) 725-4025
Beth Bresnahan
(617) 573-1111

Funds spur new homes in Boston, Northampton, Harwich and Lowell

Continuing his pledge to increase the state’s supply of housing, Governor Mitt Romney today awarded $2,249,681 to construct more than 200 new homes for low- and moderate-income residents in Boston, Northampton, Harwich and Lowell.

“As we work to attract businesses and create new jobs in the Commonwealth, it is essential that we also provide more housing for our working families,” said Romney.  “These awards not only help to create new housing, but they help to make cities and towns in Massachusetts more desirable places in which to work and live.”

Today’s awards come from the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), which was created to support projects that build or preserve housing throughout the state for households that do not exceed 110 percent of the area median income.

One million dollars of the funds will support the construction of The Residences at 700 Harrison Avenue, which will provide 68 condominium units and commercial space on a vacant parcel in Boston’s South End.  Forty-five of these condos will be sold to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers at an affordable price with the remaining 23 sold at market rate.  The developer, Mitchell Properties, will construct the five-story building over two levels of underground parking, reserve a portion of the ground floor for three retail spaces and build a community garden at the site for residents to enjoy.  The development will be conveniently located just one block from the Silver Line and within walking distance to shopping, parks, library and schools.

Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation will utilize $89,111 of the funds to construct five new units of housing on land owned by the City of Boston.  The Tebroc/Levant Housing Initiative includes one single family, two duplex units and one two-family building, all of which will be sold to low- and moderate-income households.

The homes will contain “Healthy Home” features, which include less carpeting, vinyl, vapor producing paints and glues as well as measures to reduce moisture in the building, all of which are beneficial to people with respiratory illnesses.

The Valley Community Development Corporation will use $482,495 to renovate an existing three-story building in Northampton to produce 17 enhanced Single Room Occupancy units for low-income and homeless individuals.  Four of the units will be reserved for persons with mental illness.  The “Go West!” will overhaul the property, replacing of all major systems and add an elevator to the building.  Each of the 17 units will include a modern kitchen and bathroom and one handicap accessible unit will be created.  First floor commercial space will be renovated also to create two retail spaces.

Harwich Ecumenical Council for the Homeless, Inc., a non-profit group founded by members of Harwich churches, will receive $500,000 to create 13 units of family rental housing, 10 of which will be affordable, on a 1.65-acre site in Harwich.  Five of the units will be located in the 1930’s “ship captain’s home,” a historic structure that will be moderately rehabilitated.  The remaining eight units will be located in two buildings to be constructed on the Sisson Street site.  The project will also include 1,866 square feet of childcare space as well as laundry facilities in each building.  The site is located within a half mile of both the public elementary and middle schools and within walking distance of local shopping and services.

The Lowell Transitional Living Center will receive $178,075 to further support the acquisition and rehabilitation of an existing three-story masonry block building to create a 90-bed emergency shelter and 12 Single Room Occupancy units that will serve as permanent housing for persons with disabilities.  Today’s award supplements more than $1.9 million in state funding which was announced for the project in June of 2004.

The Department of Housing and Community Development jointly administers the program with the quasi-public agency, MassHousing.  Since its inception in Fiscal Year 2001, nearly $71 million has been awarded from the fund to create or preserve over 4,718 housing units, more than 3,843 of which are affordable to low- and moderate-income residents.  Another $10 million has been awarded to modernize a number of state-owned public housing developments across Massachusetts.

“The Affordable Housing Trust Fund continues to make a significant contribution in providing safe, decent and affordable housing for Massachusetts’ low- and moderate-income households,” said DHCD Director Jane Wallis Gumble.

“These awards demonstrate the flexibility of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to fill funding gaps for a wide variety of affordable housing,” said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason.  “The Trust Fund has been a very important part of Governor Romney’s efforts to increase the production of affordable housing.”