A recent ribbon-cutting in Union Square was the latest example of Somerville’s continued success in affordable housing production.
The Union Square Apartments, a 35-apartment affordable housing community for lower- and moderate-income households, was developed by the Somerville Community Corporation in the former Boys and Girls Club. SCC bought the property in 2012 and redeveloped the four-story building into 9 one-bedroom units, 22 two-bedroom units and three four-bedroom units with first-floor commercial space.
All the apartments are occupied and are restricted to households earning at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI), which in Somerville is $58,000 for a family of four. Eight of the apartments are set aside for households earning at or below 30% AMI. Three of those units are for households with physical disabilities or impairments and two apartments are for formerly homeless families.
SCC received more than 3,000 applications for the 35 units.
"We’re facing a crisis in this region in when it comes to affordable housing," said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. "There were 3,400 applications for 35 units. People want to be part of this community and we need to give them that opportunity. It was great to meet people with joy on their face as they moved into their new home."
MassHousing provided $1 million in financing for the new housing from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Other financing sources included the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the City of Somerville, Somerville Affordable Housing Trust, HUD, Massachusetts Housing Partnership, MassDevelopment, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC), First Sterling Financial and Eastern Bank.
MassHousing Executive Director Tim Sullivan noted that MassHousing has been involved in the creation or preservation of more than 1,000 units of affordable rental housing in Somerville and helped more than 800 other families purchase a home in the city.
"Somerville is one of those places that realizes how important housing is for the community and its residents," he said. "We were very happy to partner once again with an organization like SCC and in a community like Somerville that places a high importance on creating housing opportunities for lower-income households and working families."
The Union Square Apartments also has a community room, on-site laundry, parking and bicycle parking. The new housing is transit-oriented with the planned expansion of the MBTA’s Green Line and the construction of a new T station.
MassHousing, which manages the AHTF on behalf of DHCD, has been involved in nine AHTF transaction (312 units, $8.1 million in financing) in Somerville. Seven of those transactions involved housing created by SCC for a total of 184 affordable units and $5.6 million in financing.
MassHousing has financed, refinanced or administers 12 rental communities in Somerville involving 1,086 apartments and provided home mortgage loans to 866 homebuyers in the city.