S2:E6: Byline with Stan Rosenberg: Affordable Housing and its Future in Amherst

S2:E6: Byline with Stan Rosenberg: Affordable Housing and its Future in Amherst

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Record date: October 4, 2019

Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Chair John Hornik and Joanne Campbell, Executive Director of the Valley Community Development Corporation, will join Rosenberg for a dialogue about affordable housing. 
The group will also discuss a draft long-range policy which the Housing Trust will propose for Amherst.
Two affordable housing initiatives are now underway in Amherst, including at 132 Northampton Rd. https://www.amherstma.gov/3489/Northampton-Road-Project, and the former East Street School https://www.amherstma.gov/3457/East-Street-School-Project. The Northampton Road site is being developed by the Valley CDC, which may also bid on East Street. Additional sites need to be identified, Hornik and Campbell said, and could include other surplus town property.
The Housing Trust https://www.amherstma.gov/…/Amherst-Affordable-Housing-Trus… was established by the former Amherst Town Meeting in 2015, to support the growth of housing for low income families, individuals and the homeless. Hornik was the petitioner who sought the trust's creation. 
He maintains that Amherst has been without a sufficiently detailed plan to address its housing needs, and that goals, including the number of units, must be set. The draft policy calls for 250 affordable housing units over the next five to 10 years, with a range of affordability.The plan is to help fulfill the housing needs of differing populations, and to keep Amherst above the 10% state standard for affordable units.
A recent article about the draft housing policy is here: https://www.gazettenet.com/Amherst-examining-policy-for-aff…
Amherst is now at 11% affordable housing, and although there has been growth in market-rate housing, more lower-priced units are needed, Hornik and Campbell said. Enrollment at UMass-Amherst is growing faster than the on-campus housing potential.
The Valley CDC, which also serves Northampton and Easthampton, plans 28 single-person units for 132 Northampton Rd. in Amherst, to be complete by 2022. Each unit would include a kitchenette and bathroom. The units would be intended for low income individuals, including those who were formerly homeless or suffered setbacks due to mental health issues. Arrangements would be made for support services and property management. 
Abutters have raised concerns about the project in recent months, prompting the Valley CDC to produce the following document: https://www.amherstma.gov/…/Response-to-Neighbor-Concerns-F…
Housing Trusting members have been meeting with stakeholders and presenting the draft town-wide affordable housing policy to the Town Council, Planning Board, Community Preservation Act Committee, Community Resources Committee. A meeting with the Finance Committee is set for Oct. 23.
The Housing Trust is seeking input to develop a final policy with broad support, and a focus on lower income individuals, families, seniors, and people with disabilities.
On Monday, Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m., the Housing Trust and
the League of Women Voters of Amherst will co-sponsor a Fall Housing Forum at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, at 121 N. Pleasant St. in the Social Hall. State Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, and State Rep. Mindy Domb, D-Amherst, will speak about statewide affordable housing initiatives. 

Description courtesy of the Amherst League of Women Voters.

Production Date: 
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Byline with Stan Rosenberg

The Amherst League of Women Voters, Amherst Media and former Massachusetts State Senate President Stan Rosenberg team up for “Byline with Stan Rosenberg,” an issue-oriented local government news program. “Byline” will tackle town, regional and state news topics as Rosenberg interviews players in both town and state government affairs.

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