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

HAC's Down Payment Program Helps Working Family

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 @ 04:06 PM
Lashaunda Shepherd-1.jpgThanks to HAC's support, Lashaunda Shepherd was able to spend the holidays with her husband and their two children in a new home.

The Down Payment and Closing Cost Program that HAC administers for Barnstable County is one of the region’s best kept secrets—but it shouldn’t be!

The program uses federal funds to help income-eligible residents become first-time homeowners.

This year, seven HAC clients have been helped through the program, including Lashaunda and Martin Shepherd, a married couple who between them are working four jobs in order to make a living on Cape Cod.

Lashaunda is a rural postal carrier and a certified nursing assistant for two health care agencies and Martin is employed as a floor technician at a local nursing home.

In October, HAC was able to help the couple, who have two children, land the home of their dreams in Hyannis thanks to $5,000 they received from the agency’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Program.

The Shepherds worked closely with HAC Housing Counselor Karin Bar who helps manage the federally-funded program, which provides financial support to income-eligible residents looking to become first-time homeowners, on behalf of Barnstable County.

Without that financial assistance, Lashaunda said. “I don’t think we would have purchased a home… That was a pretty big lifesaver for us.”

The program gives leverage to those like the Shepherds, who had been renting a home in Brewster for the past four years, so they can become homeowners. That is something which has become increasingly difficult in today’s strong housing market. “It is really tough for first-time homebuyers right now,” said Bar.

Still, HAC has been able to assist seven clients this year who have been able to make their dreams of homeownership become a reality. Bar is working with another two currently.

Bar was pleased to see that the Shepherds, who both took HAC’s first-time homebuyer class earlier this year, were among those to benefit from the program.

Now the Shepherds have a home of their own which, “means a lot. It means happiness. It means in the years to come my family can come visit,” said Lashaunda, who is from South Carolina and whose husband is from Jamaica.

Though not originally from here, the Shepherds are proud to call Cape Cod their home “Since I moved here I feel like I’ve been on the right path,” Lashaunda said. “I feel like this would be a perfect place to raise a family. The schools are great. The jobs are great. We are very comfortable here… We love it here on the Cape.”

To learn more about HAC’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Program, click this link.


Tags: HCEC, homeowner, homeownership, Karin Bar, Barnstable County HOME Program, First-Time Homebuyer workshop, Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program, affordable homeownership, Hyannis