MassHousing has been named a finalist for two Rosoff Awards for the Agency's programs that foster the use of minority and women-owned businesses and for a school mentoring program in Boston.
The awards—which are presented by The Ad Club to companies with meaningful diversity, mentoring and inclusion programs—are named after Arnold Worldwide founder Arnold Z. Rosoff, who made it his mission to increase the focus on workplace diversity after he founded his company in 1946.
MassHousing was a finalist—along with Google and Babson College—in the External Diversity Initiative award category for the Agency's Minority-owned Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) utilization program, which gives minority and women-owned firms the opportunity to benefit from MassHousing-generated business opportunities. Babson College was named the winner in this category.
MassHousing works with real estate developers, general contractors and property managers to establish goals for MBE/WBE participation. In fiscal year 2012, MassHousing had 18 projects under construction, representing $250 million in total awards. Of this, $53.6 million (21.4%) were awarded to MBEs and $37 million (14.8%) were awarded to WBEs. The more than 500 developments in MassHousing’s rental housing portfolio expended a total of $187 million for supplies, equipment and services. Of this amount, $37 million (19.6%) were attributed to MBE expenditures and $23 million (12%) to WBE expenditures.
MassHousing was also a finalist for a Rosoff Mentor Award for the Agency's Striving Toward Academic Recognition and Respect (S.T.A.R.R.) Mentor Program, a unique 23-year-old partnership between MassHousing and the Quincy Dickerman Elementary School in Dorchester. The program originated in response to a school administrator's call for role models and volunteers for the students, many of whom live in or near MassHousing-financed developments in the neighborhood. In 2009, the S.T.A.R.R. Mentor Program moved to the Martin Luther King Middle School, which merged with the Dickerman School. MassHousing staff mentor students beginning in the third grade until they reach the fifth grade.
Since its inception, more than 300 students have participated in the S.T.A.R.R. Mentor Program and MassHousing mentors come from all levels and departments in the Agency’s organization. Each school year, eight to 10 mentors volunteer to work one day a week with students in the classroom to raise their levels of aspiration and academic achievement. An additional eight to 10 MassHousing mentors also volunteer on weekends to take students on field trips and provide special learning projects to augment students’ learning and social skills.
More than 400 people attended MassHousing's 23rd Annual Greater Boston Minority and Women Business Enterprise Trade Fair, which was held April 25 in Randolph. This year, 122 minority- and women-owned businesses showcased their goods and services to the more than 300 representatives from property management companies, general contractors and state and local government offices.
From left, Supplier Diversity Office Executive Director Reginald Nunnally; MassHousing Compliance & Diversity Department Manager Bernard Brown; and MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason at the 2013 Greater Boston MBE/WBE Trade Fair
MassHousing is committed to providing minority and women-owned businesses with equal access to the economic opportunities created by our work, and the trade fair is one way in which we pursue that goal. We work closely with property management companies and general contractors at MassHousing-financed rental developments to set and achieve goals for utilizing minority- and women-owned businesses. And we host workshops to help MBEs and WBEs improve their marketing, business development and operations.
The results speak for themselves. Thus far in the 2013 fiscal year (which ends June 30), $227.3 million in construction contracts have been awarded at 16 MassHousing-financed-projects; $34.9 million (15.4%) has gone to MBEs and $22.7 million (10%) to WBEs. Of the $187.5 million in maintenance/operational expenditures at MassHousing rental communities in FY 2012, $36.7 million (19.6%) went to MBEs and $22.6 million (12%) to WBEs.
Learn more about our programs to provide equal opportunities for minority and women businesses.
Congratulations to Linwood Mill in Northbridge, which was recently honored with a 2013 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award.
The 75-unit Linwood Mill was the result of the preservation and adaptive reuse of a 19th Century textile mill on the Mumford River in Northbridge. MassHousing provided $2 million for the project (with an additional $1 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund), which was developed by EA Fish and is managed by Peabody Properties. We should also mention the great care taken by The Architectural Team, Dellbrook Construction and Western Builders to preserve many features of the 134-year-old property.
In his letter announcing the award, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin wrote, "The careful rehabilitation of Linwood Mill demonstrates a strong commitment to historic preservation that goes well beyond what is normally expected."
MassHousing has already surpassed the $1 billion mark and set a record for Home Ownership lending in FY'13. And the fiscal year doesn't end until June 30.
As of April 30, the Agency has provided 4,568 loans for $1.053 billion to help Massachusetts families buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage. That total far surpasses the previous record for Home Ownership lending in a fiscal year, set in FY'12, of 2,599 loans for $569.9 million. In fact, it even bests our record for overall FY lending by the Agency (Home Ownership + Rental Housing) of $967.8 million (also set in FY'12).
The bulk of our Home Ownership lending has come in the form of the MassHousing Mortgage with No MI. Like all MassHousing loans, the No MI Mortgage requires a downpayment of only 3% and features affordable, fixed interest rates and no hidden fees. But unlike the traditional MassHousing Mortgage, borrowers making downpayments of less than 20% are not required to pay mortgage insurance premiums. This considerable savings helps increase a consumer's buying power and makes homeownership more affordable over the long term.
While the MassHousing with No MI garners the most attention, we continue to offer our standard MassHousing Mortgage, which requires mortgage insurance if a borrower puts less than 20% down. However, unlike traditional mortgage insurance, loans insured by MassHousing include MI Plus, a unique borrower protection that helps pay the mortgage in case of job loss.
We've written previously about our financing for rental housing, as well as the impact our Home Ownership lending has on the Massachusetts economy. We're both proud of and excited by what these lending numbers mean, and we can't wait to see the final tallies.