5/28/2021: Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Division of Banks
BOSTON — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration’s Division of Banks (Division) awarded over $2.5 million in grants to fund first-time homeownership education programs and foreclosure prevention counseling centers throughout the Commonwealth. The funds awarded through the Chapter 206 grant program went to a total of 21 organizations including 10 foreclosure prevention regional centers and 11 consumer counseling organizations.
Chapter 206 grants assist homeowners who are often experiencing some type of financial hardship caused by either a loss of or reduction in income or a medical issue as well as prospective homebuyers who are determining if homeownership is right for them. The Division administers funding of these grants with fees associated with the licensing of mortgage loan originators. Funded organizations served over 9,000 Massachusetts consumers and homeowners in 2020.
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On May 10th, HRA was awarded 15 Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV) from HUD. These vouchers are for individuals or families that are homeless, at risk of homelessness, recently homeless, or fleeing or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking. These vouchers will be issued based on direct referrals from the Continuum of Care’s Coordinated Entry list. HUD is providing a one-time service fee per voucher to provide assistance with services such as housing search, security and utility deposit, rental application or holding fees, landlord incentives, moving expenses or essential household items. HUD has acknowledged many of the obstacles of getting vouchers issued quickly and has provided waivers to overcome these obstacles. Some of these include having a separate waitlist specifically for EHV, having separate preferences for EHV than our regular Section 8 waitlist, allowing income and identity verification to be self-certified until formal documentation can be received, and reducing eligibility requirements. These vouchers will begin July 1st, 2021. Please reach out to Katelyn Reardon for more information at KReardon@fcrhra.org.
By ANITA FRITZ
Staff Writer for the Greenfield Recorder
Greening Greenfield and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) continued to emphasize that too many people can’t find high-quality, affordable housing locally during sessions two and three of their nine-session virtual series, “Housing is a Human Right: We Can Make It Happen.”
On Wednesday and Thursday, the groups invited people to speak about topics like incarceration, homelessness, addiction and affordable housing versus public housing.
Gina Govoni, executive director of Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, said while there are housing units throughout the county, and there are federal and state housing vouchers available to prevent homelessness, there aren’t enough.
“Housing is out of control,” she said. “We are doing all that we can, but some properties need an overhaul. We need more housing, but developments take time to build. We need to keep finding creative solutions to affordable housing.”
Govoni said, at this point, Franklin County needs about 1,200 units to satisfy demand.
“It’s even worse in other counties,” she said. “I see a 2,300 housing deficit over the next two to three years.”
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More than 100 residents from across the county came together virtually on Saturday [March 27, 2021] for the first of nine forums aimed at addressing the issue of affordable housing and development in Franklin County.
“A team of Greening Greenfield and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) members have been working to develop this program for over two years,” Forum Organizing Committee Chair Susan Worgaftik said. “It’s been a journey.”
The program, a nine-session virtual forum on the issues of affordable housing and development, kicked off Saturday morning with “Housing is a Human Right: We Can Make It Happen,” which included presentations from three key-note speakers: Brian Sargent, assistant professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; Gina Govoni, executive director of Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority; and state Sen. Jo Comerford, D Northampton. . .
This is the opening of an article from the Greenfield Recorder: “Groups team up for series on housing” by Mary Byrne, Staff Writer
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We are pleased to announce the availability of funds for housing rehabilitation projects for residents in the towns of Heath, Hawley, Orange, and Montague.
The Housing Rehabilitation Program Loan is a 0% interest, 15-year forgivable loan program made possible by HUD’s Community Development Block Grant, awarded by The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Housing and Community Development to residents in these Franklin County Towns. Loans are payable upon sale or transfer of the property.
Funds are available to residents in the towns of Heath, Hawley, Orange, and Montague
The program provides loan funds to assist moderate and low income property owners in need of eligible repairs including, but not limited to, handicapped barrier removal, roof and furnace repair/replacement, water heater replacement, chimney repair, energy efficient window replacement, wells, septic repair and replacement, and upgrades to wiring and electrical service.
To request an application or to receive additional information about the program, interested property owners should contact Jennifer Morrow, FCRHRA’s Community Development Program Admin Assistant at email@example.com or 413-863-9781 x 137.
Potential applicants are urged to inquire soon, as funding for this program has an expiration date.