NEW BEDFORD - Following up on his pledge to increase the supply of housing in the Bay State, Governor Mitt Romney today announced $58.9 million of grants, loans and tax credits to produce 893 new rental homes in 16 communities across the Commonwealth.
"Each year, we spend more than a quarter billion dollars each year to care for our homeless in the Commonwealth, but we need to focus more on long-term solutions by producing permanent housing opportunities for our citizens," said Romney.
Of the 828 apartments that will be affordable to low- and moderate-income families, 178 of those units will be specifically targeted to those earning less than 30 percent of the area median income.
Romney added, "Today's awards will not only give a much needed boost to the state's overall affordable housing supply, but it will also go a long way in preventing future homelessness because nearly 20 percent of those units will be targeted to low-income individuals and families."
Approximately $40.8 million of the funds Romney announced will be generated through private investment in exchange for 10 years of state administered federal low income housing tax credits (LIHTC). Another $14.2 million will be awarded from the state Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF), HOME program and Housing Innovations Fund (HIF).
DHCD and the quasi-public agency, MassHousing will also administer $3.9 million from the state's Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Romney was joined by New Bedford Mayor Frederick Kalisz, Jr. as he made the announcements in a historic downtown neighborhood at the intersection of Union and Purchase Streets where $900,000 of the funds will help redevelop two buildings into mixed residential and commercial properties.
When completed, the project, known as Lawton's Corner, will consist of 17 rental apartments, nine of which will be affordable, and more than 6,700 square feet of retail space. The developer, Hall-Keen, will use $450,000 in federal HOME funds and $450,000 from the state's Affordable Housing Trust to help finance the project.
In addition, Romney announced that another New Bedford project in the Acushnet Heights neighborhood will receive low-income housing tax credits worth $1.25 million and $550,000 in HOME funds. With the funds, the Women's Institute for Economic Development will transform the historic and abandoned old Kinyon Campbell School building into 12 units of affordable family housing and a community center. The new development will be known as Acushnet Commons.
"Taking old, blighted downtown buildings and transforming them into new mixed-use residential and commercial space and by turning a vacant and historic school building into affordable family housing and a community center will help make New Bedford a more strong, vibrant and sustainable community," said Mayor Kalisz.
In nearby Westport, another development company will receive more than $2.1 million worth of tax credits and $1.75 million in HOME and Affordable Housing Trust funds to develop 36 new apartments.
"Once again, we are able to utilize many different financial resources from numerous partners to support these housing developments throughout the Commonwealth," said DHCD Director Jane Wallis Gumble. "Through the use of various state and federal programs, as well as our close working relationship with the state's quasi-public housing agencies, we are able to continue our core mission of serving the needs of low- and moderate income families, even in these austere economic times."