Agency staff are meeting with officials in the state’s 26 Gateway Cities to help create housing opportunities, offer MassHousing’s expertise
MassHousing has embarked on a Gateway City Tour in an effort to help those communities create more housing opportunities for their residents and to offer the Agency’s expertise in rental and for-purchase housing.
Since October, MassHousing staff have met with city and state officials in Brockton, Everett, Quincy, Malden, Worcester and Chicopee.
As defined under the Massachusetts General Laws, Gateway Cities have a population between 35,000 and 250,000, with an average household income below the state average and an average educational attainment rate (Bachelor's Degree or above) below the state average.
The Gateway Cities include: Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.
"We want to hear first-hand about the housing challenges in the Gateway Cities so that MassHousing can serve as a resource for the communities in meeting those challenges," said MassHousing Executive Director Tim Sullivan.
MassHousing staff from the Agency’s HomeOwnership Division, Rental Business Development Division, Government Affairs Division and its Chief of Staff have gone out to listen to the concerns and needs of the Mayors and their Housing and Economic Development staff in the respective cities. The meetings were structured to help city officials understand the role MassHousing has played in their cities to-date, and to help identify how MassHousing can serve as a resource in a continuing partnership. MassHousing plans to have meetings in all the Gateway Cities.
Among some of the topics discussed during the meetings were:
- Creating more mixed-income and workforce rental housing;
- Properties with lead paint and how MassHousing’s "Get The Lead Out" lead paint abatement loan program can help address the problem;
- Rehabilitating abandoned and foreclosed properties and how MassHousing’s Mortgage with Rehabilitation loan program could help address the problem;
- Creating more opportunities for residents who want to purchase a home and making more homebuyer education classes available.
MassHousing has already followed up on some of the issues raised during the meeting, including:
In Malden, MassHousing staff attended an event with a group of local real estate brokers, the mayor, the director of the Malden Redevelopment Agency, the chief of police and other city officials for a presentation outlining the menu of MassHousing mortgage products and their features and benefits. Staff also was able to answer specific questions relative to MassHousing’s programs as well as provide general mortgage industry information.
Staff will also be meeting with Malden officials to discuss the issue of de-leading and to determine how MassHousing can assist the residents of Malden by offering the Agency’s Mortgage with Rehabilitation loan program along with Malden’s Community Development Block Grant funds.
In Everett, staff attended a follow up meeting regarding affordable homeownership opportunities and discussed MassHousing mortgage lending programs in more detail. MassHousing also helped include the city into a Get the Lead Out training program and future trainings are also planned for local lenders and realtors regarding Get the Lead Out as well as MassHousing’s Mortgage with Rehabilitation program. Future homebuyer workshops are also planned for the spring of 2017.
In Brockton, MassHousing will work cooperatively with the city to have potential developers of rental housing tour sites in Brockton which may be suitable for future housing development that contains an affordable component.
In Worcester, staff followed up on discussion to reinvigorate MassHousing’s “Buy Worcester Now” program to create more opportunities for MassHousing homeownership lending in Worcester.
In Chicopee, staff will be following up discussion relative to MassHousing’s Opportunity Fund and the money that is available for the production of workforce housing as well as other financing options that may be available for developers of mixed-income rental housing in Chicopee.