DENNIS, MA — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded nearly $8 million in funding to support the creation or preservation of almost 100 units of supportive housing. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan joined Roger Herzog, Executive Director of Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC), Kathy Ohman, President of FORWARD, and members of the Legislature to announce the awards which include $5.5 million in state funding, 28 project-based state housing vouchers, and will leverage $2.5 million from the National Housing Trust Fund. These seven developments will provide housing with supportive services for vulnerable populations across the state, including homeless families and individuals, veterans, persons with disabilities and adults with autism. Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has supported the creation or preservation of more than 600 units of housing with comprehensive support services, including today’s awards.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to creating housing opportunities across Massachusetts that meet the needs of all our residents,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The awards we are announcing today will create, expand and preserve critical housing resources for those who need it most and our Administration is proud to continue supporting these developments throughout the Commonwealth.”
“I am proud to join FORWARD in Dennis to announce these important awards, which will provide services to communities across the Commonwealth, from here on Cape Cod, to Pittsfield,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our Administration looks forward to continuing to working with our partners at the local level to develop new housing opportunities for cities and towns in Massachusetts.”
Lt. Governor Polito and Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan made the announcement at the future site of FORWARD at the Rock. The development will create eight units of supportive housing for adults with autism. FORWARD, Friends or Relatives With Autism and Related Disabilities, is an advocacy group founded in 2013, and will work with Housing Assistance Corporation on Cape Cod to develop the project with specific supports for this community.
“Today’s awards will provide critical, wraparound services for low-income individuals with disabilities, formerly homeless veterans, families, and adults with autism,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan. “These projects will provide residents with long-term stability and opportunities to thrive by locating comprehensive services where they live.”
The National Housing Trust Fund is a federal program to support the development of affordable housing for low-income individuals and households, with supportive services. The Department of Housing and Community Development worked in coordination with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) to make the combined $8 million available for the seven projects. Comprehensive support services, may include education, skills training, childcare, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and comprehensive case management.
“CEDAC is pleased to work with DHCD on these important supportive housing projects benefitting veterans, disabled persons, elders, and other low income families in seven Massachusetts communities,” said Roger Herzog, Executive Director, CEDAC.
“We continue to look for new opportunities to work with local communities and non-profit organizations to create and preserve affordable housing options that meet the needs of all families and individuals in Massachusetts.”
“In 2013, the Town of Dennis perceived a need for affordable housing for adults with autism and identified Town-owned land that could be dedicated to fill that need. At age 22, adults with autism “age out” of special education programs in public schools. This results in 80 percent of adults with autism living at home with little opportunity for social interaction. As parents age, they may no longer be able to care for their children with autism. There is not enough support or resources for adults with autism, particularly with regards to long term living arrangements,” said Paul McCormick, Chairman of the Dennis Board of Selectmen.“Dennis is committed with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in supporting our adults with autism through this partnership with Project FORWARD.”
“The partnership between FORWARD, The Housing Assistance Corporation, and the Town of Dennis to create a residential community for adults with autism is an extraordinary accomplishment and an innovative model for other communities to emulate,” said State Senator Julian Cyr. “I want to extend a special thank you to Kathy Ohman, President of FORWARD, for her dogged commitment and leadership of the project; Kathy’s vision of a residence where adults with autism can age-in-place with dignity and respect is now one step closer to reality.”
“I’d like to thank the Baker-Polito Administration, as well as Secretary Jay Ash for their continued commitment to serving persons on the autism spectrum and ensuring access to safe and supportive housing,” said Representative Tim Whelan. “This has been a fantastic collaboration between local, concerned citizens and their state government.”
“HAC is excited to be a part of this project which has received significant support from the community, local representatives and the state,” said Housing Assistance Corporation CEO Alisa Galazi. “Our region badly needs affordable housing and especially for the autistic adults, and this project is exemplifies the kind of housing we need.”
“FORWARD is a unique collaboration of non-profits, state and local agencies to provide much needed affordable housing for cape cod adults with autism and related disabilities here in Dennis,” said Kathy Ohman, FORWARD. ”We are thankful to Undersecretary Chan and the Baker-Polito Administration, and congratulations to the other recipients of these important funds.”
In 2017, the Baker-Polito Administration unveiled the new Housing Choice Initiative, which created a new system of incentives and rewards for municipalities that deliver sustainable housing growth; created a new technical assistance toolbox to empower cities and towns to plan for new housing production; and proposed legislative changes, through An Act to Promote Housing Choices, to deliver smart, effective zoning at the local level.
The Baker-Polito Administration is deeply committed to meeting this housing challenge, through key investments, new initiatives and program reforms. In April, Governor Baker filed a housing bond bill seeking $1.287 billion in additional capital authorization to advance the administration’s commitment to affordable housing and has increased funding for affordable housing by 19 percent and is on course to invest $1.1 billion over five years in affordable housing. The highly effective MassWorks Infrastructure Program continues to be a key catalyst for housing production, supporting the creation of more than 3,000 housing units. The Open for Business Initiative will drive the production of more than 2,200 units of housing on state land. MassHousing’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative has advanced the development of 2,309 housing units across a range of incomes, including 616 workforce housing units. And, through An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development, the administration reformed the Housing Development Incentive Program, which is on track to facilitate more than 900 new units in Gateway Cities.
2018 Supportive Housing Awards
FORWARD at the Rock, Dennis
FORWARD at the Rock is a production project that will create eight units of permanent supportive, single-room-occupancy (SRO) housing for adults with autism. The project sponsor, FORWARD (Friends Or Relatives With Autism and Related Disabilities), is an advocacy group founded in 2013 for the specific purpose of developing housing for this vulnerable population, and has partnered with the Housing Assistance Corporation on Cape Cod. CapeAbilities will provide comprehensive supportive services.
Carlos Vega Townhomes, Holyoke
Carlos Vega Townhomes will preserve 18 units of family housing for farmworkers in Western Massachusetts, and provide necessary accessibility improvements to the property, allowing existing households to age in place. The project is owned by Valley Housing Development Corporation. Wayfinders is the project sponsor and will provide resident services to tenants.
Sergeant House Expansion, Northampton
Sergeant House Expansion will update and expand a traditional 15-room SRO owned by Valley Community Development Corporation, and create 31 enhanced SRO units (16 new units; 15 preserved units), each with its own kitchenette and bathroom.
Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village Phase II, Pittsfield
Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village Phase II, sponsored by Soldier On, Inc., is a new production project that will create 14 units of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless female veterans. Soldier On will provide supportive services targeted to female veterans who have experienced trauma, including military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress.
Germantown House, Quincy
Germantown House will produce a five-unit congregate home for extremely low income adults with physical and developmental disabilities. The project sponsor is NeighborWorks of Southern Mass., and 24-hour on-site services will be provided by Work, Inc.
Headwaters Replacement Housing, Wareham/Sandwich
Headwaters Replacement Housing, sponsored by Residential Rehabilitation Housing, Inc., will produce 10 units of SRO housing for very low income adults with disabilities. The project design is highly responsive to the particular physical and environmental needs of the population to be served. Twenty-four hour on-site supportive services will be provided by Latham Centers.
149 Belmont Street Preservation and Stabilization, Worcester
149 Belmont Street is an existing supportive housing project owned by Worcester East Side Community Development Corporation. The project currently provides nine studio apartments for formerly homeless adults with disabilities.
Photo caption - President Kathy Ohman (fifth from left) with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito (third from right) as well as members of the Cape's state delegation, DHCD Undersecretary Janelle Chan and Roger Herzog (right), executive director of Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC). (Photo courtesy of Rep. Tim Whelan, caption courtesy of Housing Assistance Corporation)