November 20, 2014

Renovations to Washington Park Apartments Completed

Washington-Park-Apartments

By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing

ROXBURY – Once faced with the threat of foreclosure and in need of major renovations, the Washington Park Apartments have been fully rehabilitated and affordability for all 96 apartments has been extended for the long term.

The Washington Park Apartments are located on six sites in Roxbury and were redeveloped by the non-profit Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation and WiSe Urban Development, a partnership between WinnDevelopment and Daryl Settles.

MassHousing provided $14.5 million in financing for the Washington Park Apartments, including $11.2 million in bridge financing and a $3.3 million permanent loan. Out of the bridge financing, $1.7 million was used to pay off the existing Fannie Mae loans and prevent foreclosure on the property.

The Washington Park Apartments were one of four apartment communities owned by Boston-based Community Development Corporations (CDCs) that were in danger of being foreclosed on and in need of significant renovation. 

Overall, MassHousing provided $54.4 million to the four CDCs to prevent foreclosure of 359 total units and allow for the substantial rehabilitation of the properties. In addition to Nuestra, the other three CDCs are Urban Edge Housing Corporation, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, and Lena Park Community Development Corporation.

The Washington Park Apartments are located in eight buildings on Wyoming Street, Walnut Avenue and Columbus Avenue in Roxbury and Dorchester.

"This was part of a process we worked through day by day to save these properties from foreclosure," MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason said at a recent ribbon-cutting event for the Washington Park Apartments. "This was truly a partnership that had to come together to save these properties. We couldn't be happier to be part of this effort to save the affordability of 359 apartments and see these properties fully renovated."

Settles, the president of WiSe, said in addition to preserving affordability and renovating the Washington Park properties, a large number of construction jobs were created, particularly for minorities, women and neighborhood residents.

"Creating more affordable housing while maintaining ownership and jobs within the community is a national imperative, and WiSe is honored to work with Nuestra to support this effort," he said. "Washington Park will serve as quality affordable housing for families of Roxbury and Dorchester for years to come."

The project was able to employ 390 minority and 50 female workers (69 percent of the total worker hours), and the project engaged minority and women business enterprise companies for over 65 percent of the total construction work (a total of $7.6 million of contract value), Settles said.

"Nuestra Comunidad is proud to celebrate the renovation of the Washington Park Apartments for many reasons. The most important is that 96 apartments will be stable, affordable homes for Roxbury and Dorchester families for many years to come. We know that a platform of housing stability, security and affordability is a key to families' success in education and work," said David Price, Executive Director of Nuestra CDC. "Nuestra also appreciates the opportunity to partner with WiSe Development, a partnership that should be a model for leveraging the resources of for-profit companies and nonprofits with a shared commitment to revitalizing urban neighborhoods and affordable housing preservation and development, led by community-based partners."

The project consisted of an in-place rehabilitation of the existing properties. WiSe and Nuestra renovated all kitchens, bathrooms, as well as living areas, and completed high efficiency upgrades to the HVAC systems in each of the 96 units. Each apartment features new lighting and Energy Star appliances, including dishwashers, disposals, range and refrigerators. In addition, the mechanical and electrical systems in each building were upgraded and all windows were replaced.

"Winn is proud to be part of the development team and to have managed this property for the past 20 years and be able to support the preservation of high quality affordable housing," said Gilbert Winn, Managing Principal of WinnCompanies. "Darryl and Nuestra have been incredible partners to work with and we are proud of the unprecedented minority hiring goals the team has been able to achieve."

WiSe and Nuestra worked with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), MassHousing, the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) to secure financing for the project. Private financing was also secured from Bank of America and the Boston Community Loan Fund, and equity financing was provided by Boston Financial Investment Management.

The Architectural Team served as the architect and Keith Construction was the contractor. WinnResidential is the property manager.

"Our first priority with affordable housing is to rebuild and reinvest in it, so this was a big win for the neighborhood and the City of Boston," said John Barros, Boston's Chief of Economic Development.

Information provided by the development team was used in this story.

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Ground Broken for Patriot Homes in South Boston

Former police station will be transformed into 24 units of affordable housing with a preference for veterans

By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing

Patriot-Homes
SOUTH BOSTON - Ground has been broken for the Patriot Homes, a 24-unit affordable housing community in a former police station with a preference for veterans.

The Patriot Homes are being developed as part of a joint venture between the South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation and Caritas Communities in the former police station at 273 D St.

"To be able to take a vacant building and convert it into 24 new affordable apartments for veterans is great news for the veterans who will live there as well as the entire South Boston neighborhood," said MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason.

MassHousing awarded $1 million for the project through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which MassHousing administers on behalf of the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

The Patriot Homes will comprise 12 studio apartments, 2 one-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom apartments. The City of Boston Veterans Commission will have a satellite office on site to provide part-time benefits counseling to all the veterans. Six apartments will be set aside for homeless individuals. The apartments will be available to residents with annual incomes ranging from $19,800 to $56,450.

According to Donna Brown, Executive Director of South Boston NDC, "South Boston has a long history of military service and a higher percentage of veterans than most other neighborhoods in the city. With rents rapidly increasing, Patriot Homes will help deserving veterans to continue to live here, in our community, with the resources they need.  We are grateful to have had strong support for this project from both Mayor Menino and Mayor Walsh, as well as the Commonwealth, to enable us to move this development forward. "

"Veterans who have fought to uphold the values of American freedom deserve access to safe, affordable housing," said Mayor Marty Walsh. "By working with responsible developers to transform underutilized city-owned property into housing for veterans, we are taking direct action, and getting closer to reaching our goal of housing all of our homeless Boston vets by 2015."

The $12 million redevelopment of the former City of Boston D6 Police Station is receiving financing from multiple sources, including $4 million from the City of Boston and more than $3 million from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The project will be funded with a mix of private equity, private construction and permanent loans, City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) housing program funds, Boston Redevelopment Authority program funds, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and grants from several sources, including, the Massachusetts Attorney General, the Home Depot Foundation, the Lin Foundation, the Yawkey Foundation, Charlesbank Homes, the Flatley Foundation, and TD Bank.

"Patriot Homes represents a fine example of adaptive reuse, providing affordable housing for veterans in a rapidly-gentrifying area," said Caritas Executive Director Mark Winkeller. "We are grateful to the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a variety of lenders and foundations who are making this project possible."

Construction is expected to start in January and be completed in February 2016. The project is expected to generate approximately 35 construction jobs.

Information provided by the South Boston NDC and Caritas Communities was used in this story.

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November 14, 2014

Dudley Greenville Apartments in Roxbury Open and Fully Occupied

By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing

Dudley-Greenville_MW-ML

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh with Dudley Greenville resident Monica Lewis

 

ROXBURY – Monica Lewis knows how important it is to have a decent place to live.

With Mayor Marty Walsh and other dignitaries looking on, she spoke about how she had fallen on some hard times after a job loss that left her and her children no place to live.

"I was a parent who felt like a failure because we had no place to call home," she told the hushed audience at a recent ribbon-cutting event for the new Dudley Greenville Apartments in Roxbury.

Lewis was among nearly a thousand people who entered a lottery for one of the 43 affordable apartments at the new housing community on Dudley Street. She was one of the lucky ones who were selected and her life has turned around. Her son received an athletic scholarship to Ithaca College and Lewis is secure in her new home.

"This is why affordable housing is so important to our people and our community," she said. "I'm here to say thank you for 43 families for not giving up on your vision."

Dudley Greenville was developed by the Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) on two vacant lots acquired from the Boston Housing Authority through the Orchard Park HOPE VI program. In addition to the 43 apartments located in two energy efficient buildings, the $18 million development has 2,715 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

Dudley-Greenville-Building-

"Everyone deserves a place to call home," said Mayor Walsh. "We put together a comprehensive housing plan (for the city) because of projects like this right here."

The Mayor said during his election campaign that he drove by the construction site almost daily. "I really saw an empty lot turn into a home for so many people and that’s incredible," he said.

MassHousing provided $1million for Dudley Greenville from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

The project involved the new construction of five- and four-story buildings on adjoining vacant parcels in Dudley Square. The five-story building contains ground floor commercial space and 31 apartments on the upper floors. The four-story building involves 12 units configured as walk up townhouses.

"Dudley Greenville is a very nice housing community that literally rose from two vacant lots and when you hear stories like we heard from Monica Lewis it drives home how important it is develop new housing and preserve our exiting affordable housing in the Commonwealth," said MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason.

Residents began moving into Dudley Greenville in July and the all of the apartments were occupied in September.

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November 07, 2014

Sober Housing for Women and Their Children Opens in Roxbury

By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing

Ummi's-House-Ribbon-Cutting

The ribbon is cut at Ummi's House in Roxbury as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (left) and MassHousing Executivee Director Tom Gleason look on

ROXBURY – The Dimock Center recently cut the ribbon on 13 units of new sober housing for women in recovery and their children where they will also receive support services.

Mayor Marty Walsh, who has long been open about his successful recovery from alcohol abuse, was on hand recently to welcome the opening of Ummi's House in Roxbury, a 13-unit sober housing community for women in recovery and their children.

The housing is owned by the Roxbury-based Dimock Center and the project received $55,000 from the Center for Community Recovery Innovations (CCRI), a nonprofit subsidiary corporation of MassHousing that supports non-profits that create or preserve affordable sober housing in Massachusetts for recovering substance abusers.

"To have a place where you can live and get your feet back under you is important," said the Mayor, who alluded to his own experience. "I'm honored to be here as the Mayor of Boston. I believe in second chances and the residents here would not be getting second chances without the Dimock Center."

Overall, CCRI has provided the Dimock Center $280,000 for 79 units of sober housing and in Roxbury overall, CCRI has provided $801,963 for 12 sober housing facilities totaling 160 units.

"The work we do for sober housing and substance abuse recovery is very important for our community," said MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason, who joined the Mayor for the ribbon-cutting event. "We've been involved in the issue of recovery and sober housing for a long, long time and I think that makes us unique as a bank and makes us unique as a lender for affordable housing."

A number of residents were on hand to celebrate the opening of the new housing and several personally thanked the Mayor and asked to be photographed with him. The residents will also receive support services through the Dimock Center.

Recognized nationally as a model for the delivery of comprehensive health and human services in an urban community, The Dimock Center provides Boston residents with convenient access to high quality, low cost health care and human services that might not otherwise be available to them.  In 2013, Dimock handled more than 76,000 visits with 17,000 patients and clients representing a wide range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

The Dimock Center's Health Care programs deliver comprehensive health maintenance, screening, immunizations, and prevention for adults and children with specialized clinics, including Women's Health and OB/GYN, HIV/AIDs, eye care, and dental care. Their Child and Family Services programs offer quality care, education, support and training to individuals and families from infancy to adulthood.

Their Behavioral Health program assists those struggling with mental illness, developmental delay, and substance abuse or violence issues.

The Dimock Center, founded on July 1, 1862 as the New England Hospital for Women and Children, was the first hospital in New England opened and operated by women for women, and only the second in the country. Noted prominently for its role in the history of women in medicine, Dimock strives to continue in the innovative spirit of trailblazers like Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, who established the hospital, and Mary Eliza Mahoney, the country's first African-American nurse who studied there in 1879.

(Material from the Dimock Center was used in this story.)

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October 31, 2014

New multifamily prepay and refinance options

MassHousing recently adopted guidelines offering certain multifamily borrowers who have prepayment restrictions opportunities to refinance early at today's competitive interest rates. The new MassHousing Proactive Multifamily Preservation and Loan Prepayment Guidelines reflect MassHousing's desire to facilitate certain early prepayments where borrowers refinance with the Agency. We are committed to offering competitive loan products, including taxable and tax-exempt bonds insured under FHA Risk Share, 223(f) or 221(d)(4) programs. We are also able to arrange competitive funding via the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, Fannie Mae and other sources. MassHousing is a MAP lender and Ginnie Mae issuer, and approved to participate in FHA's Tax Credit Pilot Program, which expedites closing on certain LIHTC deals. Interest rates will of course vary with the product and the market, but a loan closing today could have an interest rate of approximately 3.75%.

The Guidelines are targeted at loans with less than seven years remaining before maturity or less than five years remaining before they are eligible for as-of-right prepayment, and describe how transactions will be considered and prioritized. Participating loans that have not passed their statutory prepayment lockout period will still be able to participate under the Guidelines. Such loans are expected to be modified to require a 90% pay down. Proceeds adequate to pay off the remaining 10% would then be escrowed, and the mortgage would be discharged, though the note would remain outstanding and be paid down over time from the escrow proceeds. This strategy will be available to both for-profit and nonprofit borrowers.

Borrowers entering into new loans will need to extend affordability restrictions for at least 15 years. Accordingly, we hope this initiative will ensure preservation of affordability while capturing the favorable terms available in the current market and, in some cases, addressing deferred capital needs.  Please contact Monte Stanford to determine whether and on what terms your property can be prepaid and refinanced.

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October 30, 2014

"13A" – A Preservation Challenge for Massachusetts

By Deborah Goddard
Managing Director, Program and Policy, MassHousing

Deborah Goddard
Deborah Goddard


Modeled after the federal 236 program, the 13A mortgage interest subsidy program was created by the Massachusetts legislature in the 1970’s. The program has faced challenges in the past, but none as significant as the current challenge of preserving this valuable portfolio in the face of expiring mortgages.

In the late 90's, owners started to consider prepayment of their 13A mortgage obligations. After an effort extending over several years by members of the Massachusetts delegation, most especially then Congressman Barney Frank, HUD agreed to extend Section 8 rental enhanced vouchers to low income residents of 13A developments, averting the loss of affordable units.

Starting in 2004, the Commonwealth began reducing its funding commitment to the program and stopped completely in 2009. MassHousing addressed the appropriations gap by picking up the obligation, absorbing over $47 million in shortfall to date. Now, the 13A portfolio faces the expiration of the affordability for the remainder of the portfolio—43 developments that serve a mixed-income population, including just over 5,000 very low income households (30-50% AMI)—over the next 5 years.

In the wake of HUD's recent position that 13A developments are not eligible for tenant protection vouchers upon prepayment of the 13A mortgage, the preservation of the 13A portfolio presents significant challenges to the Commonwealth. A preliminary estimate of the capital cost to preserve the entire portfolio at the current rent standards is upwards of $300 million. At tax credit rents the preliminary estimates indicate that capital costs shrink to under $100 million; however, without vouchers, this scenario is not feasible given the untenable rent increases that would occur.

MassHousing and DHCD have established a 13A Working Group that includes owners, other public partners, preservation experts and tenant advocates to identify the range of options and tools to meet this preservation challenge. The Working Group has adopted the three goals established by DHCD and MassHousing: (1) to the maximum extent possible, preserve the number of affordable units in the 13A portfolio; (2) to the maximum extent possible, preserve the level of affordability provided by the 13A portfolio; and (3) to the maximum extent possible, minimize the disruption to and dislocation of existing tenants.

Updates will be available in the future on www.masshousingrental.com

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MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason Elected President of the NCSHA

Tom Gleason
Tom Gleason


MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason has been elected President of the Board of Directors of the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA).

NCSHA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization created by the nation's state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) more than 30 years ago to coordinate and leverage their federal advocacy efforts for affordable housing. NCSHA represents its members in Washington before Congress, the Administration, and the several federal agencies concerned with housing, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, and the Treasury, and with other advocates for affordable housing.

"I am honored to be elected by my fellow Directors as President of this very highly effective national organization," said Gleason. "We will be working closely with the federal government and our elected officials to develop and incorporate new and innovative ways to finance single-family and multi-family housing in these changing financial times."

Gleason, whose career in affordable housing spans more than 36 years, has been Executive Director of MassHousing since 2001. He has previously served as Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer of the NCSHA Board of Directors and received an Impact Award from NCSHA in 2008 for his work on an affinity agreement with Fannie Mae, which provides Housing Finance Agencies access to Fannie Mae programs at favorable terms and makes more affordable home loans available to moderate-income homebuyers.
Gleason is a member of Fannie Mae's National Customer Advisory Board and a former member of Fannie Mae's Affordable Housing Advisory Council. He also serves on the Boards of the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation and as a member of the Mortgage Roundtable of the National Association of Home Builders.

In its 48-year history, MassHousing has provided more than $17 billion for affordable housing, 60% ($10 billion) of which of which has been provided during Gleason's tenure as CEO. MassHousing has helped more than 78,000 low and moderate-income families buy or refinance their home.  MassHousing has a multi-family loan portfolio of more than 500 apartment communities valued at more than $3.1 billion.

The Agency also operates its own mortgage insurance fund and services its own single-family loan portfolio which has more than 21,000 loans valued at over $3.8 billion.

"We are excited to have Tom Gleason at the helm of NCSHA at a time that is so important to the future of affordable Housing and the HFA delivery system," said NCSHA Executive Director Barbara Thompson. "Tom has already contributed so much to NCSHA as an outstanding member of its leadership for many years and as an exemplary head of MassHousing. We look forward to the expertise, creativity, and energy that he will surely bring to this new role as President."

Gleason was elected President at NCSHA's recent Annual Conference in Boston along with other officers of the Board of Directors, including Vice President Grant S. Whitaker of the Utah Housing Corporation; Secretary/Treasurer Ralph M. Perrey of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency; and At-Large Executive Committee Member Mary Tingerthal of Minnesota Housing.

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MassHousing Lending Update

A quarter of the way through the 2015 fiscal year, MassHousing has provided $273.4 million for affordable rental housing and homeownership in Massachusetts.

Owners and developers have closed loans with MassHousing totaling $45.1 million in financing for four rental apartment communities in Boston, Mashpee, Webster and Worcester. The loans will preserve the long-term affordability of 350 units, and will create 94 new ones. MassHousing provided $11.9 million to create or preserve an additional 576 units through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which the Agency administers on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

"We're excited about the new financing options we have available to us," said Monte Stanford, MassHousing's Director of Rental Lending, who pointed to the Agency's recent approval as a MAP/GNMA lender; a new risk-sharing program being developed with HUD and the Treasury Department specifically for state housing finance agencies; and several Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) projects across the state that should close this fiscal year. "These are excellent tools for the creation and preservation of affordable rental housing, and better equip MassHousing to meet the needs of our rental partners."

On the homeownership side, at the close of September MassHousing had to date provided 894 loans for $213.5 million to help families with modest incomes buy a home or refinance their mortgage along with 24 second mortgage loans for $575,230 to help homeowners remove lead paint, upgrade their septic system and make needed improvements to their properties. While many MassHousing loans carry mortgage insurance from MassHousing's own Mortgage Insurance Fund, some lender partners have availed themselves of the fund to insure an additional 12 non-MassHousing loans for $2.3 million.

"It is gratifying to know that MassHousing continues to be a mortgage funding resource that quality lenders across the state continue to rely on for safe, affordable, and sustainable home financing," said Peter Milewski, MassHousing’s Director of Home Ownership Lending.

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Stevens Corner, Ames Privilege now complete

Stevens Corner in Springfield providing 28 new units for seniors

Congratulations to HAPHousing of Springfield on the recent completion of Stevens Memorial Senior Housing, a 28-apartment affordable housing development for seniors in Ludlow.

Stevens Memorial Senior Housing came about as the result of the adaptive reuse of the Stevens Memorial Building, which was built in 1906 by the Ludlow Manufacturing Company as a recreation facility for its employees. The town purchased the building in 1949 and it was operated as the Ludlow Boys and Club until 2001. It had been vacant since.

MassHousing provided $1 million for the project through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. You can read more here.

Ames Privilege in Chicopee is renovated; new units added
Congratulations to HallKeen Management Company on the recent completion of Ames Privilege, a 134-unit rental community in a historic foundry building in Chicopee.

MassHousing provided approximately $9 million in financing for the project, which involved the rehabilitation of 94 existing rental units and the gut rehabilitation and construction of 40 units in a wing of the complex that had been condemned since 1988 and unoccupied.

The Ames Privilege Apartments are located in a former Civil War foundry that made swords and cannons and was converted into housing in 1986. The property is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Learn more about Ames Privilege here.

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Homelessness Prevention Partnership Earns National Award

MassHousing earned an award from the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) for the Agency's leadership in an effort to link homeless families with owners of affordable rental housing.

MassHousing was a founding member and financial supporter of the new nonprofit New Lease for Homeless Families, which matches families in the state shelter system with an existing available unit in the Commonwealth's affordable housing stock. New Lease seeks to provide a means of leveraging the good will of the owners and managers of affordable housing in the Commonwealth with the expertise of shelter providers.

The pilot program, launched in the fall of 2013, involves four shelter providers and eight owners. The basic elements of the New Lease program are straightforward: the availability of deeply subsidized rental housing, services to support the successful tenancy of the formerly homeless family and an intermediary that facilitates the matching process and knits together the efforts of the shelter provider and the housing owner.

Read the full award narrative. Or, learn more about New Lease.

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