In recent years, the AHTF has helped create 695 apartments for Veterans, many who were formerly homeless
When the ribbon was recently cut for Bedford Green, a 69-unit housing community for formerly homeless veterans on the campus of the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, the new housing was the latest to receive financing from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF).
MassHousing provided $1.3 million for the project through the AHTF, which the Agency manages on behalf of the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
The one-bedroom apartments are reserved for homeless or at-risk veterans age 55 and over. The building also features support services for the residents, community space, a fitness room and computer room.
The AHTF provides resources to create or preserve affordable housing throughout the state for households whose incomes are not more than 110% of the area median income. Funds are available for rental, homeownership and mixed-use projects as well as housing for the disabled and homeless, but may be applied only to the affordable units. AHTF funds are used primarily to support private housing projects that provide for the acquisition, construction or preservation of affordable housing.
Since its creation in 2001, the AHTF has provided $455.1 million in financing for 523 affordable housing communities with 26,525 housing units.
"The Affordable Housing Trust Fund is a versatile financing source in creating affordable housing around the Commonwealth, particularly in the construction of new housing," said MassHousing Executive Director Tim Sullivan. "The flexibility of the Trust allows many projects to go forward because it fills funding gaps in many types of projects, like the housing specific to Veterans we are talking about here."
MassHousing through the AHTF has provided financing for 12 housing communities specifically for Veterans.
In addition to Bedford Green, the AHTF has helped fund the 60-unit Bedford Veterans Quarters for formerly homeless veterans, also on the campus of the Edith Nourse Memorial Veterans Hospital, which was developed by Caritas Communities.
MassHousing partnered with Soldier On to help create four affordable housing communities in western Massachusetts, including the 39-unit Berkshire Veterans Village in Pittsfield, the 51-unit Gordon Mansfield Veterans Village in Agawam, the 44-unit Gordon Mansfield Veterans Coop in Northampton, and the 16-unit Leeds Transitional Veterans Housing, with special services for women Veterans and their children in Northampton. All of the Soldier On housing communities are for formerly homeless veterans. MassHousing additionally provided Soldier On with $2,500 to help with the purchase of furniture for the Gordon Mansfield Veterans Village.
Father Bills and Mainspring used AHTF financing to build two housing communities for formerly homeless veterans in Brockton – the 22-unit Montello Welcome Home and 32-unit Work Express Housing.
The 287-unit New England Center and Home for Veterans (NECHV) in Boston is undergoing a major renovation and expansion of units with AHTF financing; MassHousing additionally provided the NECHV with $2,500 as part of its Leave No One Behind effort to support veterans. Volunteers of America completed 29-unit VOA Veterans Supportive and Permanent Housing in Somerville.
The 33-unit Pleasant Street Apartments in Beverly was developed by Peabody Properties and Windover Development and Affordable Housing Services Collaborative, Inc. in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The 13-unit CHOICE Veterans Housing was developed in Westford and Chelmsford by CHOICE, an affiliate of the Chelmsford Housing Authority.
Much of the veterans housing supported by the AHTF has also received financing from the VA, particularly through the VA Supportive Housing program, which was boosted by Congress in 2008 from a small pilot program to one funded annually with $75 million.
According to HUD's 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, veteran homelessness has dropped 47% nationally since 2010.