February 26, 2015

New members join MassHousing Board of Directors; Michael Dirrane elected Vice Chair

Three new members have joined MassHousing's Board of Directors.

Rachel Madden, the Undersecretary of Administration and Finance, Chrystal Korengay, the Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development, and Rosemary Powers, the former Deputy Chief of Staff for Governmental Affairs in the Patrick administration, joined MassHousing’s board in January.

Madden, the former Director of Administration and Finance at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, is the designee of Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore. Korengay is the former Executive Director of Urban Edge, the Boston-based community development corporation.

Longtime board member Michael Dirrane was elected Vice Chairman in January. MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason welcomed the new board members and thanked former board member Thomas O'Brien for his work on behalf of MassHousing and its mission of fostering affordable housing for the residents of Massachusetts. O'Brien left the board in January.

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February 25, 2015

Mounzer M. Aylouche elected as treasurer of Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association

Maylouche

Mounzer M. Aylouche, a Business Development Officer for MassHousing’s Homeownership and Mortgage Insurance Divisions, has been elected Treasurer of the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association.

Aylouche works with MassHousing-approved lenders in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties to increase awareness and expand the availability of MassHousing’s affordable homeownership products.

He has previously served as a Secondary Marketing Officer for MassHousing, where he managed the Mortgage Revenue Bond pipeline and oversaw loan-purchasing functions. He also played a key role in the development and launch of MassHousing’s web-based, e-business platform and award-winning MI Plus™ mortgage insurance product, as well as in the design of the MassAdvantage100 mortgage loan program.

Throughout his 27-year career in the lending industry, Aylouche has held various positions in loan servicing, secondary marketing, loan origination, and senior management. A native of Lebanon, Aylouche – who is fluent in Arabic and French – immigrated to the United States in 1982 to pursue his education. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Financial Management and Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University.

Besides serving on the MMBA's Board of Directors, Aylouche is the president of the MMB Foundation, the charitable arm of the organization and Chair of the Community Investment Committee. Aylouche has been instrumental in the MMBA's support of non-profit organizations in Massachusetts that promote homebuyer education and counseling. He has also been instrumental in establishing the MMBA community college scholarship program for low- and moderate-income students in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association is one of the largest and proactive mortgage associations throughout the country and provides comprehensive member services to more than 300 corporate members. The MMBA strives to provide technological, marketing and communications partnerships with its corporate affiliates, the lending industry, legislators and regulators, and with sister organizations and regional Mortgage Bankers Associations.

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MassHousing's Maureen Moriarty Honored by Brockton Housing Partnership

By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing

Maureen-Moriarty-Award

Leo MacNeil, left, and Brockton Housing Partnership President Steve Sullivan of Harbor One Bank, present MassHousing's Maureen Moriarty with the BHP's Carroll-McNeil Award


MassHousing Relationship Manager Maureen Moriarty was recently honored with the Brockton Housing Partnership's Richard Carroll-Leo MacNeil Award, which is given to an individual who exemplifies leadership, building partnerships, community outreach and working in the best interest and quality of life for the City of Brockton.

Maureen was cited for her dedication to the Brockton housing market where she has been active in a range of housing-related issues in the city for a number of years. She has served as a member of the Brockton Housing Partnership (BHP); the Mayor's Brockton Foreclosure Task Force; and was instrumental in developing the "Buy Brockton" website.

A longtime member of MassHousing's HomeOwnership Business Development staff, Maureen worked with the BHP to create the Buy Brockton home buying program in 2008. Buy Brockton allows homebuyers to purchase bank-owned properties in Brockton with discounted services and low down payment financing.

Buy Brockton was the first home buying initiative of its kind in Massachusetts. It is a joint effort between the city of Brockton, MassHousing, and a group of Brockton-area community banks, credit unions and businesses, to promote and preserve homeownership in the city of Brockton.

The award was instituted five years ago to recognize BHP members who have made significant contributions to the group's efforts over time. It was named after Richard Carroll and Leo MacNeil, who are former officers and members of the BHP Board of Directors and who served the organization over the years.

Kevin Hayes, Vice President of Avon Cooperative Bank was also recognized as the outgoing BHP Board Chairman having served the last two years.

The Housing Partnership also elected new officers for the coming year, including: Chairman Stephen Sullivan, Vice President of HarborOne Bank; Vice-Chairman Chip Coveney, Vice President of Eastern Bank; Secretary Rhonda Kale, Compliance & CRA Officer at Bank of Canton; and Treasurer Joseph Madaio, Homebuyer Coordinator at NeighborWorks® of Southern Mass.

The Brockton Housing Partnership was founded in 1996 as a collaboration between community based financial institutions and non-profit social service organizations to foster low and moderate-income neighborhoods in Brockton. Since its formation, the BHP has focused on the development and funding of affordable and market-rate housing, providing assistance to the restoration and rehabilitation of housing and educating consumers on the home-buying process and financial literacy.

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MassHousing conference will address human trafficking and how it can impact affordable housing providers and staff

By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing

MassHousing will host a conference next month that will focus on the serious problem of human trafficking and how affordable housing professionals can recognize and respond to the complex issues related to it.

MassHousing's daylong 2015 Community Services Conference will be held on March 24 at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Norwood.

The conference will address what staff at multifamily rental housing developments, including both assisted and public housing, as well as service providers and advocates, need to know to understand the complex psychological, legal and public health consequences of human trafficking in urban, suburban and rural communities.

Law enforcement officials say the Internet allows prostitution and human trafficking to occur just about anywhere. Ringleaders advertise on-line geographically and prostitutes being held against their will, many times minors or women brought to the area from other countries, are then taken to meet with clients. Human trafficking occurs in hotels and motels, private homes, apartments and even public housing, officials say.

"Human trafficking is a growing problem that is not immune to affordable housing," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "We felt the issue was so serious for the housing community in Massachusetts that we wanted to use our annual Community Services Conference to raise awareness and help housing professionals recognize and respond to it."

One of the experts who will participate in the conference is Dr. Brook Bello, a human trafficking survivor and human rights activist who is also an author, actress, filmmaker and ordained minister. Dr. Bello is the CEO and Executive Director of More Too Life, Inc., a national victim services, social justice, youth mentoring and anti-trafficking rescue center.

According to her biography, Dr. Bello has spoken and taught alongside governors, senators, legislators, and church leaders and has presented at dozens of anti-trafficking conferences as the keynote and as a teacher/instructor. She was a keynote speaker at the White House last September for the President's "Eradication of Modern Day Slavery Summit."

She received her "Doctorate of Human Letters" from the Richmond Virginia Seminary in October 2013. Dr. Bello was a victim of human trafficking until she took a job at a local restaurant in Beverly Hills where she met actor Jon Voight who became her first mentor, and eventually found a therapist for her.

Her pastor and friends also assisted her and she discovered her voice in the arts and became an actor and playwright. Dr. Bello has worked on more than 10 TV shows in 68 guest star and recurring roles. She has worked with many notable actors in film and TV such as Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Ralph Fiennes, Charles Dutton and Kathryn Bigelow. During this time Dr. Bello said she "began to build her voice and train and study on the root causes of sexual violence and began More Too Life."

Her first book, "Living Inside the Rainbow, Winning the Battlefield of the Mind After Human Trafficking," tells the journey of her life. In May 2014, More Too Life launched "Turn The Tide," a national campaign focusing on preventing the demand for prostitution and human trafficking.

"Many adults living within housing authority supported residences around the nation, are victims and former victims of Human Trafficking (sex slavery)," said Dr. Bello. "Many adult women who are there were trafficked for many years and cast out to live a life of despair. Unfortunately, some of those same women who have children are not able identify it in their own children. We have our work to do to turn all of this around and to create initiatives that train and educate and transform the lives of others."

Among the topics the MassHousing conference will address are:

  • How do you identify human trafficking?
  • How does it manifest in housing for families, elders and people with disabilities?
  • What is the direct impact on affordable rental developments?
  • What are preventative steps housing providers can take?
  • What to do if you think human trafficking is occurring at your site.
  • What are some of the best practices for building community partnerships?
  • What is Massachusetts' response plan?

For more information about the conference or to register please visit www.masshousing.com/conference.

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$66 Million in MassHousing Financing will help to improve 640-unit Quincy Point Apartments

By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing

Quincy-Point
Senior citizens living in the 640-unit Quincy Point Apartments in Quincy will see significant property improvements and the extension of affordability there for at least 30 years as a result of $66 million in MassHousing financing.

1000 Southern Artery Renewal Development Limited Partnership, a partnership between Quincy Point Congregational Church Homes, Inc., and the National Foundation for Affordable Housing Solutions, Inc., are acquiring the Quincy Point Apartments and will oversee renovations there.

MassHousing worked with the property owners to accommodate their preferred financing structure, which involved a $66 million MassHousing conduit construction loan with a Fannie Mae-backed permanent loan closed and serviced by Greystone Servicing Corporation.

As a result of the MassHousing financing and the use of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to help finance the acquisition and rehabilitation of the property, a minimum of 90 percent of the apartments (576) will remain affordable for at least 30 years to residents earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income ($56,460 per household).

"This is a financing structure that has become the preferred means of financing the acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable properties throughout the country and we were pleased to work with the borrower to make this transaction happen and extend the affordability for the seniors at Quincy Point for at least 30 years," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "This financing is also going to allow the property owners to make substantial improvements and energy upgrades to the property, which was built about a half-century ago."

The Quincy Point Apartments are located at 1000 Southern Artery in Quincy. The 640 apartments – 497 studio apartments and 143 one-bedroom apartments - are contained in three eight-story buildings built between 1965 and 1972 and are connected by enclosed pedestrian corridors.

Among the renovations planned for the property are exterior improvements and the installation of Energy Star-rated windows and sliding doors, a new fire alarm control panel, high efficiency boilers and chillers, improved LED lighting throughout the property and upgrades to common areas and resident amenities. Apartment improvements will include new kitchens with Energy Star-rated appliances, new high efficiency baseboard heaters and new bathrooms with low-flow toilets and electrical upgrades.

"As the original non-profit owner-operator of the Quincy Point Apartments, long-term preservation of this property and a commitment to affordability have always been our principal objectives," said Brian Baharian, Executive Director of Quincy Point Congregational Homes, Inc. "We are grateful for the opportunity to work with MassHousing to achieve our shared goals. MassHousing's innovation and execution of this financing demonstrates the kind of leadership that makes the preservation of affordable housing a success story for so many stakeholders, but most importantly for our current and future residents."

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57-unit Nor-al Apartments in Dorchester to be renovated, affordability preserved

By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing

Nor-al-Apartments

Low-income residents living in the 57-unit Nor-al Apartments in Dorchester will see significant property improvements and the extension of affordability as a result of $8.3 million in MassHousing financing.

Nor-al Housing Associates, an affiliate of Wingate Development Corporation of Needham, is refinancing and rehabilitating the Nor-al Apartments and has extended the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract on the 57 apartments there for 20 years.

"The Nor-al Apartments have not been significantly renovated since 1972," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "This financing is going to pay for for a major renovation that will also keep the apartments affordable for the residents there for at least 20 years."

Located in three buildings dating back to the early 1900s on Algonquin Street, Norfolk Street and Talbot Street in Dorchester, the Nor-al Apartments are comprised of three one-bedroom apartments, five two-bedroom apartments, 31 three-bedroom apartments and 18 four-bedroom apartments.

Among the improvements planned for the property are new windows and lead paint abatement, as well as energy-saving and accessibility improvements, including the creation of two fully accessible apartments and a lift to access them.

"Wingate is pleased to be part of MassHousing's commitment to affordable housing in the Commonwealth," said Wingate Development Vice President Robert Najarian.

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February 20, 2015

MassHousing to host Utility Benchmarking Panel, March 13

Owners and managers of affordable multifamily housing communities are invited to attend Utility Benchmarking – Why it Makes Sense, a panel discussion hosted by MassHousing on Friday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Utility expenses are generally the largest or second largest operating expense for multifamily housing and, by far, the single most variable expense, year to year. Understanding the utility usage and costs of multifamily properties is the first step towards identifying green strategies that will reduce consumption, save money and improve resident satisfaction. Benchmarking simply makes sense. MassHousing is encouraging owners and operators to employ benchmarking tools and will be offering technical assistance, as needed, to support those efforts.

Owners and asset managers—particularly those who are unfamiliar with benchmarking and/or have questions about its value— are invited to participate in the March 13th panel discussion hosted by MassHousing. Panelists include Martha Abrams-Bell of Abrams Management and Beverly Craig of Homeowners Rehab, Inc., both of whom will speak about the value of utility benchmarking to their operations.

The third panelist, Dan Teague from WegoWise, will provide a demonstration of the power of a benchmarking tool.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Laurie Bennett at 617.854.1886.

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February 18, 2015

Winter 2015 Listening Tour Postponed

Please note that all of MassHousing's Rental Management Listening Tours scheduled for February and March 2015 have been postponed. New dates and times will be announced soon.

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January 29, 2015

Feldman Seaside Apartments for Senior Citizens in Winthrop Completed

By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing

Feldman-Seaside-Ribbon-Cutt

The ribbon is cut at Feldman Seaside Apartments

WINTHROP – A brand new apartment community for senior citizens has been completed in Winthrop and is being hailed as a development that should be replicated elsewhere.

The ribbon was recently cut on the Feldman Seaside Apartments, which offers 40 apartments and support services for Winthrop seniors. MassHousing provided $1 million for the project from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Additional financing was provided by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, First Sterling, Bank New York Mellon, Eastern Bank and the North Suburban Home Consortium.

The housing was built adjacent to Temple Tiferth Israel, which leased some of its property to the development team so that the housing could be built. The Temple will use some of the proceeds to make needed renovations there.

"I've been told your strategy of finding underused land to build senior housing can be a national model. That's something we can all be proud of here in our community," said House Speaker Robert DeLeo at a recent event to celebrate the opening of the Feldman Seaside Apartments. "I want to commend the folks at the Temple who made the brave but wise decision to preserve their community by opting to share it. I know how important community and independence are as we age. The Feldman Seaside Apartments were built with these tenets in mind."

Feldman-Seaside-1

The property was developed by the Chelsea Jewish Foundation and Affirmative Investments of Boston. Of the 40 apartments, 37 will be affordable to lower income residents and three will be rented at market rates. There are 36 one-bedroom apartments and four two-bedroom apartments.

"Days like today are marked by three words for me: congratulations, thanks and hope," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "Congratulations to the people who were so instrumental in putting this together. Thanks to everybody who cares about affordable housing for taking a stand and saying we want to do more of that. And hope because for me, being in the public sector, we have an obligation to give back. If we would all take care to put a little more focus on the generation that came before us and the generation that came after us we would be in a much better place."

The community is named after Gerry and Judy Feldman, who have been benefactors of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation.

The contractor was Dellbrook Construction and the architect was Davis Square Architects.

"This is great news for the town to have 40 new units for seniors so that they can have quality housing," said Sen. Anthony Petruccelli.

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January 16, 2015

Affordable Rents Will Stay In Place at Four Affordable Housing Communities in Rockland, Southbridge, Ware and Worcester

$15 million in MassHousing financing will allow property owners to participate in HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration program and extend affordability for low-income residents for at least 15 years

Spring-Gate-Apartments

Spring Gate Apartments in Rockland

MassHousing has closed approximately $15 million in loans for four affordable rental housing communities with 1,695 apartments in Rockland, Southbridge, Ware and Worcester.

The new loans will be used to help pay off ("pre-pay") the remaining balances on loans made when the apartment communities were first built in the 1970s under the federal subsidy program known as "Section 236."

These transactions allow the owners of the apartment communities to participate in a new HUD initiative called the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, or RAD. By participating in RAD, the owners first and foremost are able to continue to provide below-market subsidized rents to their residents. This is possible because under RAD the apartments will transition from an older and obsolete subsidy program (known as "Rent Supp") to a replacement subsidy known as "Project-Based Vouchers."

The owners have committed to these Project-Based Vouchers for 15 years, meaning tenant rents will remain affordable and below-market for income-eligible residents. The RAD program also increases the income flowing into the properties from the federal subsidies, meaning that the owners will be better positioned to make needed repairs and improvements in the future.

Lincoln-Village

Lincoln Village in Worcester

"By assisting these property owners in accessing the RAD program, affordability is going to be extended for low-income residents living in nearly 1,700 affordable apartments," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "We will continue to work with the owners on providing additional loans in the future that will result in the significant renovation of these affordable housing communities."

MassHousing closed the following loans:

  • $11.5 million for the 1,213-unit Lincoln Village in Worcester, owned by Carabetta Enterprises of Connecticut. Lincoln Village was built between 1973 and 1975.
  • $2 million for the 168-unit Brookside Terrace in Southbridge, owned by Advanced Properties, Inc. of Newton. Brookside Terrace was built in 1974 and is located at 11 Village Drive in Southbridge.
  • $1.2 million for the 204-unit Spring Gate Apartments in Rockland, owned by Connolly and Partners, LLC of Boston. The Spring Gate Apartments were built in 1973 and are located on 10 acres behind the Rockland Plaza Shopping Center.
  • $490,000 for the 110-unit Highland Village in Ware, owned by Advanced Properties, Inc. Highland Village was built in 1972.
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