Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Editorial: Lofts at 57 a New Development Model for HAC

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 @ 10:29 AM
Ridgewood Plans-2 (February 2018).jpg A street elevation rendering of the Lofts at 57 from Ridgewood Avenue. 

Funding for affordable housing has long depended on federal tax credits, a complicated, time-consuming and unreliable method. Using tax credits meant years of waiting “in line” for the funding. With our shortage of affordable housing at a crisis point in our region, we simply don’t have the time to wait.

That is why Housing Assistance Corporation’s Housing Development Department has come up with a new housing development model and a new way to fund it. We call it “pocket neighborhoods,” modeled after historic examples like the gingerbread cottage colony in Oak Bluffs. Our pocket neighborhoods will have a mix of affordable and market rate units; will not rely on federal government funding; and will be able to meet the needs of locals at all income levels.

HAC has purchased a .7-acre lot on Ridgewood Avenue in downtown Hyannis, a centrally located spot near the Hyannis Transportation Center; on the sewer line; and in the Growth Incentive Zone (GIZ). Because of the lot’s location in the GIZ, we were encouraged by the Barnstable Planning and Development Department to pursue a higher density development.

We plan to build eight rental apartments on the property, six of which would be market rate and two of which would be affordable for those earning 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County.

Ridgewood Front Elevation Photo (February 2018).jpg A rendering of the front elevation of one of the triplexes which features a wrap-around porch.

Titled the Lofts at 57, the project represents a new development model for HAC and one we hope to replicate throughout our region.

Since last fall, HAC has been working with the Town of Barnstable to vet the project. It has already received approval from Barnstable’s Site Plan Review committee and will next go before the Barnstable Planning Board on February 12. If the proposal receives support from the Planning Board, the final stage will be to obtain Barnstable Town Council’s blessing.

The development would be unique for HAC in that it is a mixed-income community. The rents from the market rate units will support the development costs of the affordable units.

When complete, the Lofts at 57 will be targeted to the Cape’s workforce and is tied to the economic redevelopment of downtown Hyannis, because it is situated on an old abandoned lot with a deteriorated foundation. About 15 years ago, someone tried to build a large single-family home there and never finished it. It’s an eyesore.

In its place will be three structures, consisting of two triplexes and one duplex, that will use modular construction technology, reducing the overall time and cost needed to build them.

Instead of facing outward, the structures will all be facing a shared open space. The intention of the pocket neighborhood is to encourage interaction with neighbors and create a sense of community. We hope to build more of these projects in the coming years, using redevelopment to revitalize our village centers and to bring much-needed “attainable” housing to the region.

Tags: Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Alisa Galazzi, Housing Development, Hyannis, Lofts at 57, Ridgewood Avenue, pocket neighborhood

Sachem's Path Now Complete

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 @ 04:38 PM

Sachems Streetscape.jpg

Earlier this month, HAC’s Housing Development Director Sandy Horvitz will attend a Homeowners Association meeting for Sachem’s Path, effectively concluding HAC’s role in the Nantucket project which saw the agency build 37 affordable homes for the island’s workforce on 10 acres of land off Surfside Road.

All 37 houses have been constructed and the final residents moved into their new homes just prior to Christmas. “I get emails from them [the homeowners] all the time saying, ‘This is the best thing that ever happened’ and ‘I can’t thank you enough,’” Horvitz said. “It is really heartwarming. It is one of those things that makes doing this job kind of fun, in a sense. There’s a reward you get when people are that excited.”

The project has been more than 30 years in the making. In 1985, Islanders voted to give the land to the Nantucket Housing Authority for the purpose of developing affordable housing. In 2011, the housing authority selected HAC to oversee the neighborhood project; construction began three years later.

“It’s been a very long road to see Sachem’s Path come to its completion. It’s a very proud moment for all of us who participated in its success and have seen it through to fruition. That includes HAC, the Nantucket Housing Authority, and the community at large which voted to be a major donor for the project,” Nantucket Housing Authority Director Renee Ceely said. “The real winners are the wonderful families who are now homeowners who thought owning a home was an impossible dream that actually came true.”

Learn more about Sachem's Path and those who have benefited from the project by clicking this link

Affordable Rentals in Bourne

Now that Sachem’s Path is complete, HAC and the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) are in the midst of constructing 44 low-income and workforce apartments in Bourne. When finished next fall, those apartments will be added to the 73 that have already been built as part of the three-phased project known as Canal Bluffs.

Last July, HAC and POAH kicked off the third phase of Canal Bluffs with a groundbreaking ceremony. You can read about that event here.

Tags: Nantucket, Bourne, Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Sachems Path, Sandy Horvitz, Canal Bluffs, Housing Development, affordable homeownership, Renee Ceely

Cape Housing Advocacy Training in February

Posted by Laura Reckford on Fri, Jan 05, 2018 @ 04:30 PM
Cape Housing Institute-2017-2.jpgCommunity leaders take part in the Cape Housing Institute last fall. HAC and Community Development Partnership will be launching Advocacy Training next month for the general public. 

Cape Cod residents will get an opportunity to learn how to speak up at public meetings about the lack of affordable housing in the region at a series of workshops coming up in February. Advocacy Training is being presented by Housing Assistance Corporation, along with the Community Development Partnership, a nonprofit based in Eastham.

The two agencies have partnered on a three-part initiative called Cape Community Housing Partnership. Part one of the partnership was the Cape Housing Institute, which took place this past fall and trained more than 100 municipal leaders and staff about affordable housing development. Advocacy Training is the second part of the partnership. The third part is a media campaign which will debut in the spring.

Advocacy Training will be free and open to Cape residents who have struggled or are struggling with the lack of affordable housing in the region. Attendees can either attend a series of three workshops, each 90 minutes long, in the Mid-Cape or Outer Cape; or they can attend a five-hour workshop offered in the Upper Cape and Lower Cape on a Saturday in February.

The sessions will include information about affordable housing on Cape Cod and why there is a shortage of affordable housing in the region. There will be an explanation of how town government works and how citizens can participate in meetings where decisions are being made about affordable housing. Attendees will learn the facts about affordable housing and how to debunk myths and negative stereotypes about affordable housing. The class will also learn public speaking tips; how to organize; and how to become advocates of affordable housing.

Click here to find all the details on Cape Housing Advocacy Training, as well as a form to receive information about upcoming sessions.

Planning Underway for Year Two of Housing Institute

The Cape Housing Institute will hold its second session in the fall of 2018. The Institute is open to appointed and elected municipal officials and town planning staff.

The inaugural six-week Cape Housing Institute, which took place this past October and November, trained more than 100 town officials about affordable housing. Through surveys given prior to the class, attendees stated that they hoped to learn about financing opportunities; regional efforts; the 40B process; affordable rentals; how to work with developers; and about the development process, among other topics. Lack of affordable land and lack of political will were among the barriers to creating affordable housing in their towns, attendees stated.

Feedback from the 2017 Housing Institute:
  • “Terrific overview”
  • “Really well-planned and executed”
  • “Excellent initiative”
  • “Speakers were very interesting”
  • “Highly recommend!”

Sign up here or click the blue button below to keep informed about the Cape Housing Institute.

Cape Housing Institute 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Housing Development, Cape Housing Institute, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Advocacy Training

Editorial: Housing Development Strategy

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 @ 03:54 PM

Galazzi_HACbeat (2017).jpg

One of my priorities when I came on board at Housing Assistance Corporation last January was to review the agency’s real estate holdings and evaluate their financial viability. This evaluation, coupled with a needs assessment, will lay the foundation for HAC’s long-term housing production strategy and future planning efforts.

Over our 40 years on Cape Cod, Housing Assistance Corporation has developed 500 units of affordable housing. We have partnered with the nonprofit POAH (Preservation of Affordable Housing) on several recent projects, including the award-winning Melpet Farms rental housing complex in Dennis; Canal Bluffs 3 in Bourne, which is currently under construction; and Brewster Woods in Brewster, which is in pre-development.

HAC also owns well-regarded affordable housing rental developments, Kimber Woods and Lombard Farms, both in West Barnstable, as well as Southside Village in Hyannis.

Melpet Farm-2.jpgThe Residences at Melpet Farms in Dennis, completed in 2015. 

We also own a 40-acre site in Sandwich with one home on it, as well as three family shelters and a few apartment complexes, condominiums, duplexes and a single-family home.

Over the next year, we will have completed an evaluation of all of our assets and we will be ready to implement new initiatives.

One new idea our Housing Development Department is pursuing is the development of multi-family housing in “pocket” neighborhoods on appropriate sites that could support up to 10 one- and two-bedroom units. These small developments will replicate old-style neighborhoods with homes surrounding a community green.

Here at Housing Assistance Corporation, we want to continue to be a part of the solution to the shortage of housing in the region while continuing to help our most vulnerable residents. We will continue to explore different ways to fulfill our mission. On behalf of our clients—more than 5,300 last year on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket—thank you so much for your support of Housing Assistance Corporation during the holidays and all year-round.

Tags: Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Melpet Farm Residences, Alisa Galazzi, Canal Bluffs, POAH, Housing Development, Kimber Woods, Lombard Farms, Editorial

Cape Housing Institute Graduates Over 100 Town Officials

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 @ 03:24 PM
Cape Housing Institute-2017.jpgAt the conclusion of the Cape Housing Institute, each participant received a Certificate of Completion. Tobin Wirt, a member of the Sandwich Housing Authority, and Charlotte Harris of the Falmouth Planning Board, proudly hold up theirs.

In the midst of the inaugural Cape Housing Institute, speaker Laura Shufelt of Massachusetts Housing Partnership said when it comes to developing affordable housing, “getting leaders, town officials, on board is a great first step.”

Over the course of six weeks this fall, HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP) in Eastham took that first step, providing a foundation for municipal officials to better understand affordable housing and a roadmap for developing the types of housing needed on Cape Cod.

Roughly 140 appointed and elected officials from each of the 15 municipalities on Cape Cod took part in the institute aimed at tackling the region’s housing challenges. Shufelt was one of 11 presenters representing a broad range of expertise, from law to design to planning, that offered their insight and guidance to participants.

On the final night of the institute, participants broke up into small groups by town to identify where their communities were at and what needs to happen next to move affordable housing forward in a positive direction.

For HAC and CDP that next step is Advocacy Training which will begin early next year and is open to all residents who are interested in advocating for affordable housing so those of all income levels can continue to live here.

To learn more about Advocacy Training and stay updated on when and where sessions will take place visit www.capehousinginstitute.org

 

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Housing Development, Cape Housing Institute, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Tobin Wirt, Charlotte Harris, Laura Shufelt

Cape Housing Institute: The Speakers

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 @ 03:57 PM

Since the middle of last month, 140 elected and appointed officials, municipal employees, and members of town boards, committees, and commissions on Cape Cod have come together to learn about ways they can begin to address the affordable housing needs in their communities. 

It’s all part of the Cape Housing Institute, a joint initiative between HAC and Community Development Partnership (CDP). During the six-week session, experts in the field of housing, zoning, design, and planning are sharing their insights to assist municipal leaders as they tackle this issue.

Below are thoughts that two of those presenters - Heather Harper of the Cape Cod Commission and Jennifer Goldson of JM Goldson community preservation + planning - shared about the inaugural institute. Click here to read about what two participants think about the Cape Housing Institute and affordable housing on Cape Cod. 

Next year, HAC and CDP will be bringing back the Cape Housing Institute while also giving the general public an opportunity to lend their support to the region's housing efforts through Advocacy Training. Click here to learn more and to keep updated on these upcoming housing workshops. 

Heather Harper.jpg

Heather Harper
Cape Cod Commission Affodable Housing Specialist
 

Topic: Cape Cod Commission Regional Housing Market Analysis

Why the Cape Housing Institute is Necessary: I think it’s important to talk about how we meet some of our social and demographic goals as a region, and to think about how our decisions as individual communities may be effective and not effective as they relate to the overall regional plan.

Why Affordable Housing is an Important Issue: If we don’t provide housing to meet the needs of the services of the region, we might not meet our full economic potential.

Jennifer Goldson.jpgJennifer Goldson
Founder, JM Goldson community preservation + planning

Topic: Housing Production Plans

Why the Cape Housing Institute is Necessary: Affordable housing issues and needs are one of the least understood areas of community planning, and the Cape truly has a unique market.

Why Affordable Housing is an Important Issue: Having quality homes for all incomes on the Cape is inseparably linked to the health, vitality, and long-term sustainability of the Cape’s local and regional economy.

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Cape Cod, Affordable Development on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Housing Development, Cape Housing Institute, Community Development Partnership, Cape Community Housing Partnership, Cape Cod Commission, Jennifer Goldson, Heather Harper

Sandy Horvitz Tapped to Lead HAC's Development Efforts

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 @ 09:07 PM
Sandy Edited-1.jpgSandy Horvitz is overseeing HAC's development efforts. 

After more than 40 years’ worth of experience in the development of affordable housing across the country, Sandy Horvitz moved to South Dennis in 2012. He was set to retire, but that changed last year when he saw an advertisement that HAC was looking for a director to lead its development department.

“I felt as though I still have something left to contribute,” he said.

And he saw HAC, the region’s largest developer of affordable housing, as the perfect opportunity to do just that. “I want to work with a group that has that soul of wanting to produce more housing, that wants to add to the solutions to our problems and not be a bellyacher, but rather be proactive instead of reactive,” he said.

In the fall, HAC tapped Horvitz to lead its development efforts.

A native of Massachusetts, Horvitz’s career has taken him to five other states – New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana and Florida – where he has focused on housing and finding ways to finance projects that make affordable developments possible. He has worked with the Denver Housing Authority, consulted with the San Antonio Housing Authority and created his own firm with offices in El Paso, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; and Denver, Colorado, assisting housing authorities in accessing funding and overseeing the development of public housing projects.

He is excited to lend his expertise to HAC as it focuses its development efforts on everything from employer-assisted housing to multi-family developments to homeownership opportunities. “These next few years are going to be bellwether years for HAC to provide housing to help the economy grow,” he said. 

HAC’s Current Developments

Sachem’s Path (Nantucket) - 40 homes
Canal Bluffs (Bourne) - 44 rental units
Brewster Woods (Brewster) - 30 rental units

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, affordable housing, Sachems Path, Sandy Horvitz, Canal Bluffs, Housing Development