News

Join Us and Support Great Neighborhoods Across the Commonwealth!

November 13th, 2017 by David Bryant

As members of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance (MSGA), MACDC enthusiastically endorses the Great Neighborhoods campaign, led by MSGA, which is all about safeguarding and securing many of the things we all care about: better housing choices for families and seniors; more vibrant, walkable downtowns that promote healthy living and local businesses; and a development approach that preserves natural resources and protects us from climate change.

You may already know some of the following unfortunate facts:

· The median home sale price is now over $400,000 while the median rent in the state is $2600 per month. Nearly some quarter-million families in Massachusetts pay more than half their income on housing.

· At the same time, 13 acres of open space are lost to sprawling development in Massachusetts, and the average single-family lot in Metro Boston is now larger than a professional football field.

· At least 52% of Americans want to live in places where they do not have to use a car often.

You can learn more about the Campaign, sign the petition, and read the Call to Action here, which lists organizations that endorse these shared principles. Please contact Larry Field at the MA Smart Growth Alliance if your organization can endorse the Campaign. His email address is larry@ma-smartgrowth.org.

A broad range of organizations has joined the Great Neighborhoods campaign to promote its core principles and to call on state leaders to pass a strong bill this session that addresses the housing crisis and looks to create healthier, walkable places to live and thrive. We urge that your organization join the Great Neighborhoods campaign and that you individually sign the petition calling on state leaders to act!

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MACDC Members Discuss Innovations in Clean Energy

November 6th, 2017 by Don Bianchi
Representatives of a dozen MACDC Member organizations participated in a discussion on energy efficiency and clean energy, at the November 1 meeting of MACDC’s Housing and Real Estate Peer Group.  Mike Davis and Emily Jones from LISC Boston, who administer LISC’s Green Retrofit Initiative, Ed Connolly from New Ecology, Inc. and Beverly Craig from the MA Clean Energy Center, led a discussion on how CDCs can incorporate the latest technologies and systems in their real estate developments to reduce energy use and lower operating costs.  The topics covered included the following:
 
1. The successes and challenges of the LEAN Multifamily Program which uses utility funding to provide energy retrofits, and the newly developed energy efficiency roadmap which brings together the utilities with the Commonwealth’s quasi-public housing funding agencies to provide funding for projects at the point of refinancing;
2. The Commonwealth’s upcoming 3-year Energy Efficiency Plan for 2019-2021, as the current 3-year Plan expires at the end of calendar year 2018.  A draft plan will be available for comment in 2018; the plan will guide the priorities for approximately $2.1 billion in energy efficiency funding;
3. Planned and potential trainings covering passive house design and construction, LEED Green Associate training, and Building Operator training.
 
Don Bianchi from MACDC will work with CDCs, LISC, and other public and private actors to explore the potential for shared capacity, collaborations, and new initiatives.
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Undoing Racism Workshop: Moving Forward

November 1st, 2017 by Mahlet Moges

Undoing Racism Workshop: Moving Forward

 

If you have ever attended an Undoing Racism Workshop and are left wondering what to do next, there is an opportunity coming up next month. The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and the Undoing Racism Workshop is at the forefront of anti-racist training and community organizer training. The Haymarket People’s Fund in partnership with the Boston College CHRIJ and LSOE, Simmons SSW, and the Mel King Institute, are happy to announce a regroup session open to anyone that has ever attended an Undoing Racism Workshop. This session revisits concepts from the workshop to discuss, reflect, and apply those themes to our lives and communities. This winter’s community regroup session will take place Friday November 3rd from 4 pm to 6 pm at the Nate Smith House Conference Room, 155 Lamartine St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Community organizers Ronald Chisom and Dr. Jim Dunn founded The People’s Institute in 1980 to support a “collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers, and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation.” They work with individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions to undo the causes of racism and to create a society where race is no longer a barrier preventing communities and individuals from building communities and “effective coalitions.”

The Undoing Racism Workshop is one of The People’s Institute’s main Anti-Racist Principles in their mission to achieve effective social transformation. Through an intensive two-and-half-day workshop The People’s Institute asked difficult questions in hopes of molding active community organizers. The workshop consisted of four distinct themes—listed below—addressing how participants contribute to outlined ecosystem and what an organizer’s role is.

  • Why are people poor?
  • Community power analysis
  • What is gatekeeping?
  • Deconstructing internalized racial oppression

 

The winter regroup session on Friday, November 3rd from 4 pm to 6 pm at ---- is a chance for all those that have ever attended the Undoing Racism Workshop to remember key lessons and discover resources for moving forward. The People’s Institute created the workshop as a tool not to address the symptoms of racism, but undo the causes that have integrated into everyday life. Come out to the regroup session to find resources and forge connections with the aim of creating “a more just and equitable society.”

 

For more information, please reach out to Mahlet Moges at MahletM@macdc.org or Courtnye Lloyd at LLOYDCB@bc.edu

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Housing Nantucket Brings Four New Affordable Rental Homes Online, Two More Completed Shortly

October 25th, 2017 by Anne Kuszpa
 
HOUSING
NANTUCKET
75 Old South Road • P.O. Box 3149 • Nantucket, MA 02554 • Tel: 508.228.4422
 
PRESS RELEASE
*For Immediate Release*
 
 
Housing Nantucket Brings Four New Affordable Rental Homes Online, Two More Completed Shortly
 
Nantucket - September 25, 2017 -Housing Nantucket completed construction this summer of four new units of affordable rental housing, with two more units to be completed shortly. The units were created through Housing Nantucket's House Recycling Program, where donated structures are e relocated to land given to Housing Nantucket by the Town. The structures are renovated and leased at below­ market rates to island residents earning between 60-80% of the Area Median Income. Housing Nantucket will manage the units through its Affordable Rental Housing Program, which includes 33 rental homes at various island sites. All units will be available to the community at affordable rates in perpetuity, ensured through permanent deed restrictions.
 
 
Key community leaders involved in this significant accomplishment include: the Nantucket Board of Selectmen; the Nantucket Housing Authority; Community Preservation Committee; the Affordable Housing Trust Fund; and the Nantucket Planning Board. Donors to Housing Nantucket's Community Investment Tax Credit program provided supplementary financial contributions.
 
 
"In high-cost  communities like Nantucket,  rental homes are often the only financially realistic option for low-  and moderate-income families," said Anne Kuszpa, Executive Director of Housing Nantucket. "Housing Nantucket 's rental homes meet an important aspect of the island's diverse housing needs. We are incredibly grateful for support from the Town and from the community.  Yet, the need is far greater. There are more than 160 households still waiting for a Housing Nantucket rental opportunity.  We still have a lot of work to do."
 
Housing the Nantucket Community Since1994 housingnantucket.org
 
Affordable Rentals House Recycling Advocacy Covenant Homes Education Resources
 
The deficit of workforce housing is widely recognized as the most pressing issue facing the Nantucket community and is a source of hardship for many individuals and families. A lack of housing for employees impedes business performance and growth, degrading the Nantucket experience for residents and visitors alike.
 
 
The dwellings were built in two locations: 73A Old South Road and 18 Ticcoma Way. The rental unit at 18 Ticcoma Way is a one-bedroom apartment converted from a garage. Summer residents Scott and Laura Stuart donated the structure, which was relocated from their property in Pocomo. Builder Ron Winters and his Thirty Acre Wood team ensured the construction process went off without a hitch. Housing Nantucket selected the tenant by lottery, and the tenant moved into the unit in July. The unit is eligible for state's Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) list.
 
 
The 73A Old South Road structure contains three, two-bedroom rental units. The building, which was originally built in 1910 and formerly located at 50 Union Street, was donated by the Berlyn family of Wochester, MA. Originally a duplex unit, the building was converted into a triplex to provide more affordable housing opportunities under one roof.  Stacy and Trevor Barrett of Barrett Enterprises oversaw the house-moving and construction process. Tenants were selected from Housing Nantucket’s Ready-to-Rent list and will move into the units October 1st.
"We are very excited,” said Plamen Dimitrov, one of the new tenants, moments after he signed his lease. "My wife and I have been looking for a different rental since our baby was born three years ago. Since then, we have all been sharing one bedroom in a tiny apartment.  We just weren’t willing to move to a moldy basement or pay $3,000 a month for a room in a shared house, which were the type of options available to us until we got this opportunity.  Housing Nantucket has taken care of us, and we appreciate it so much."
 
Housing Nantucket is the island's only non-profit organization dedicated to creating mixed-income rental and home-ownership opportunities for Nantucket residents.
Housing Nantucket follows a scattered-site approach, developing small-scale affordable housing dispersed around the island. Creation of Housing Nantucket's rental units is funded in part from donations to Housing Nantucket's Community Investment Tax Credit Program, in which Housing Nantucket provides donors with state tax credits in addition to the federal benefits of making a charitable contribution.
 
 
Contact Anne Kuszpa, Executive Director, at anne@housingnantucket.org or call (774)333-3927 for more information.
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Forging a New Resource for CDC Success: The Impact of the CITC program in its first three years

September 27th, 2017 by Joe Kriesberg

MACDC released a report today called “Investing in Impact: How the Massachusetts Community Investment Tax Credit is Improving Communities and Changing Lives that highlights how the program raised nearly $24 million in its first three years and has been a game changer for those organizations involved in the program.  The CITC program is helping CDCs leverage new private and federal dollars while increasing their strategic and collaborative initiatives.  With the majority of dollars coming from new donations, the CITC program is fueling expanded programming in a broad range of community development arenas from affordable housing, to community organizing, to economic development to arts & cultural programming.

The report includes two interactive portals that enable stakeholders to see the results for individual CDCs and to conduct their own analysis of the data. 

The report concludes that the CITC program is doing precisely what the legislature intended when it was first enacted in 2012.  Key findings include:

  • In 2015 and 2016, CDCs participating in the CITC program:
    • created or preserved 2,916 homes;
    • created or preserved 8,742 job opportunities;
    • started, grew, or stabilized 1,420 businesses; and
    • served 132,038 families.
  • The program has generated $24 million in private philanthropy for community development over the first three years of the program, with the funding growing dramatically each year from $4.7 million in 2014 to $8.2 million in 2015 to $11 million in 2016.
  • Donations are coming from new supporters, in particular those from individuals who comprise 64% of the total donations and 40% of the total dollars secured.  CITC is also attracting new and larger investments from small businesses, large companies and nonprofit institutions.
  • New and flexible funding is fueling new and expanded programming in a broad range of community development arenas from affordable housing, to community organizing, to arts & cultural programming, thereby demonstrating that CITC is fostering more comprehensive approaches to community improvement.
  • CITC is helping CDCs act more strategically and collaboratively to implement initiatives that are tailored to the local context and market.
  • CITC is helping CDCs leverage new private and federal dollars.  Over the past two years, $9.6 million in tax credits have supported a total investment of over $1.2 billion in local communities.

Beyond the numbers, the CDCs consistently report that CITC has transformed their organizations, enabling them to deepen resident engagement, act more strategically and collaboratively, and make meaningful progress toward improving the communities they serve and enhancing opportunities for the people living in those communities.

The new report underscores the importance of enacting legislation to extend and expand the CITC program.  MACDC is currently working with Senators Sal DiDomenico and Linda Dorcena Forry and Rep. Stephen Kulik to win passage of legislation that would extend the program from 2019 to 2025 and slowly increase the cap on tax credits from $6 million to $12 million annually.

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Building Opportunity

September 27th, 2017 by Joe Kriesberg

Over the past few days, MACDC had two important meetings focused on how we can better leverage our real estate construction projects to create more economic opportunity for the people in our communities.

 

On Friday, September 22, MACDC members met with leaders from the Massachusetts Minority Contractors Association (MMCA) to plan the launch of the “Boston Pilot Program Phase 2”, a multi-year effort to expand opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses on CDC sponsored real estate projects. Phase 2 will build on the success of Phase 1 when six CDCs undertook 12 projects that collectively spent more than $54 million on MBEs and $11 million on WBEs, representing 36 percent and 7 percent of the total development costs.  Phase 2 will grow the program to 10 CDCs, 29 projects and total development costs of $634 million. The goal of the program is for CDC projects to utilize MBEs for 30% or more of the project and WBEs for 10% or more of the project, including both hard and soft costs.  At the meeting, we talked about strategies for identifying new M/WBEs that could work on CDC projects and holding general contractors accountable for meeting goals.  One area where everyone agreed more work was needed was on soft costs (i.e. professional services) where CDCs have a much harder time meeting their M/WBE participation goals.

 

The following Monday, a group of Boston CDCs met with the new leadership of the New England Regional Council of Carpenter’s to talk about how CDCs can work with the union on their projects.  While many CDCs do hire union carpenters on some of their projects, the union has for years advocated that CDCs should do so more often.  At the same time, CDCs are under intense budget pressures and often can’t afford to pay union rates.  The Union Leaders shared some of their new strategies for being more competitive and we talked about how to establish good lines of communication.  The conversation also focused on how we can ensure that all contractors on CDC projects are in full compliance with employment and worker safety laws given the fact that the Attorney General recently reported that the construction industry is the worst industry in the state with respect to wage law compliance.  We also heard about efforts by the Union to continue diversifying their workforce and discussed ways that CDCs could help in those efforts.

 

The conversations underscored the opportunities and challenges associated with leveraging our construction projects for opportunity. We have multiple goals – hiring MBEs and WBEs; achieving high percentage of work hours for local residents and people of color; paying a livable wage and partnering with unions when possible – all while making sure the projects come in on budget and on time.  It’s not easy!  But these meetings and these partnerships are a key part of our approach to maximizing the positive impact of these projects.  No doubt the conversations and work will continue.

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Community Development Partnership Celebrates 25 Years

September 7th, 2017 by Britt Beedenbender

Over 150 people gathered at Halcyon Farm in Brewster on August 23 for the CDP's Annual Summer Evening on the Farm event. It was our 25th anniversary and our biggest summer party ever.
 
With Small Business TA funding from Mass Growth Capital Corporation severely curtailed due to budget cuts, our business development programs were threatened.   After hors d’oeuvres and drinks were provided by local vendors, Executive Director, Jay Coburn, told the stories of three growing small businesses, founded by young people returning to the Lower Cape and how the CDP’s programs helped to make those businesses a success.  Former State Senator Dan Wolf stepped up as auctioneer to solicit contributions in support of our small business training, technical assistance and lending programs. In an energized fifteen minutes, forty guests contributed a total of $118,500 in gifts ranging from $15,000 to $100.  The availability of the Community Investment Tax Credit helped leverage the large gifts.

It was an exciting night for our community and we are thrilled that our business development program will continue in full force to serve the Lower Cape!

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CDC Projects Receive First Community-Scale Housing Awards

September 6th, 2017 by Don Bianchi
 
On August 24, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash and DHCD Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay traveled to Arlington to announce $2.2 million in the Commonwealth’s first awards under its Community Scale Housing Initiative (CSHI), for development of 36 units. http://www.mass.gov/hed/press-releases/administration-awards-2-2m-for-housing-initiative.html
 
Three awards were made, all to MACDC Members.  Each municipality contributed Community Preservation Act funds, and some communities pledged other funds as well.  Awards were made to the following developments:
The Housing Corporation of Arlington received $320,000 in CSHI funding for 20 Westminster, Arlington, which will provide 9 units of affordable housing and resident services. Some units will offer a preference to homeless veterans.
Metro West Collaborative Development was awarded $1 million in CSHI funding, along with other State funds, for the development of 40 River Street in Norwell.  The project will include 18 units, affordable to households across a range of incomes.
Scotts Grove in West Tisbury, sponsored by Island Housing Trust, received $900,000 in CSHI funds.  The project will consist of 9 affordable units.
 
CSHI is a joint pilot initiative of the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and MassHousing.  The agencies made $10 million available for CSHI, and have indicated that they plan to open a new award round by the spring of 2018.
 
MACDC long advocated for a separate funding round for community-scale projects (rental projects between 5 and 20 units that cannot utilize low income housing tax credits).  The launch of CSHI in March, and the awards in August, are significant milestones in our efforts to advocate for funding for these smaller projects to complement the larger tax credit projects, and thereby see affordable housing built in more communities statewide.  
 
Our hope is that future funding rounds will result in more quality projects being funded, as MACDC Members and others have more time to develop a pipeline of these community-scale projects.  We are grateful to DHCD and MassHousing for launching this initiative.
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Who Will Lead Community Development Corporations

September 1st, 2017 by Miriam Axel-Lute

Shirronda Almeida hears the question from other colleagues of color often: “When I go to housing meetings why I am the only person of color?” As an African-American woman, Almeida—director of the Mel King Institute for Community Building in Boston, which runs training, leadership development, and mentoring programs for community developers—knows the feeling well. She says things haven’t changed on that front over her many years in community development as much as she would have hoped.  Continue reading article on Shelterforce's website

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