The Montague-based Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority is seeking Heath and Hawley residents to apply for zero-interest loans for home improvement projects.
Thanks to funding from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the housing authority offers zero-interest loans to qualifying homeowners for construction projects that bring their homes up to code. Brian McHugh, the housing authority’s director of community development, said the goal is to support 16 projects, but only eight have been funded so far — seven in Heath and one in Hawley.
The program started in March 2021 with $876,713 and $352,778 is left over from the CDBG grant. While this particular funding can only be used in Heath and Hawley, the housing authority provides a similar program to 24 towns throughout Franklin County.
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Kristen Tillona-Baker was presented with a problem this year when three separate families needed help finding housing they could afford in West County.
Tillona-Baker is the executive director of the Mary Lyon Foundation, a nonprofit that helps students, families and educators in the Mohawk Trail Regional School District through a variety of programs. Often when families have issues, the public schools come to the foundation for help. Tillona-Baker works individually with families to provide help with their problems.
For example, one family’s apartment flooded, resulting in the landlord having to renovate the apartment and displacing the family. While the family is now staying with relatives, they do not have a longterm plan for housing.
“West County is very difficult to find housing in general because the lack of production there has been extreme,” said Gina Govoni, executive director of Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, based in Turners Falls. “Overall, there is a real affordability challenge in Massachusetts.”
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The Selectboard voted to reallocate $106,909 in leftover federal grant money toward Franklin County’s Housing Rehabilitation Program during Monday’s meeting.
The funding came from a fiscal year 2020 Community Development Block Grant that primarily benefited the $288,000 sidewalk rehabilitation project outside the Shea Theater Arts Center and Colle Opera House building. In total, Montague received $675,519 as part of Massachusetts’ $34 million FY20 award round, which was announced by Gov. Charlie Baker in March 2021. The money was awarded to fund housing rehabilitation assistance, Avenue A streetscape improvements, a design for Hillcrest Elementary School’s playground improvements and improved social services.
Read the full article from The Recorder here.
On Wednesday, at the second day of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership’s (MHP) annual Housing Institute, MHP’s Executive Director Clark Ziegler announced the recipients of the inaugural funding round of the Complete Neighborhoods Initiative. According to MHP’s website, the program provides targeted, long-term assistance to selected communities to support efforts in creating human-centric and mobility-oriented neighborhoods. MHP staff and/or third-party consultants will work with communities to identify and implement strategies to accelerate public and private investments in affordable housing near mobility hubs.
“The Complete Neighborhoods Partnership is about more than just locating housing near transit stations,” said Christine Madore, senior development manager at MHP. “It’s about creating places where peoples’ daily needs are within their own neighborhoods.
Funds can be used for predevelopment, policy development, community engagement, or financial analyses. MHP Community Assistance staff will provide support throughout the program. In April, Greenfield applied as the lead community in a six-town regional application, including Deerfield, Erving, Montague, Orange, and Whately. MHP’s award announcement to the town’s states: “We are thrilled to share that the joint application submitted by Greenfield, Montague, Orange, Erving, Whately, and Deerfield has been selected for the inaugural funding round. Congratulations! The joint partnership will receive up to $250,000 in technical services from a pre-approved pool of consultants over the program period of 30 months.”
The program is funded by the state’s Economic Development Bond Bill through the Department of Housing and Community Development and Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. In addition to technical assistance, capital funds will also be available to support the creation of low- and moderate- income housing in designated Complete Neighborhoods. Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority staff helped coordinate the regional application and will participate in the six-town partnership. We congratulate these communities on being proactive in addressing housing needs that in turn, also support climate and transportation goals in our region.
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More than 40 people at the South County Senior Center were treated to a presentation from the Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority Friday morning as it kicked off the application process for Sanderson Place, the new affordable senior housing complex in Sunderland.
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On March 15, 2022, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) was awarded $25,000 in Chapter 206 grant program funds by the Baker-Polito Administration’s Division of Banks. The Chapter 206 grant program supports first-time homeownership education programs and foreclosure prevention counseling centers throughout the Commonwealth. HRA was one of 24 recipients, which included 9 regional foreclosure prevention centers and 15 consumer counseling organizations.
Read the full press release here.
Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority was featured in the February 26, 2022 edition of The Recorder, in an article highlighting the $4.8 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds that will be awarded to address the needs of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region. Read the full article here.
On January 27, Amanda Watson, Director of HRA’s Housing and Consumer Education Center led a discussion on recent changes in the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The webinar was hosted by Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region, in partnership with the North Quabbin Community Coalition. Read the full article from The Recorder here.
Condo for sale…………….
4-Bedroom, 2-bathroom, 2-story condominium located at Wisdom Way Solar Village in Greenfield, MA.
Living area: 1768 sq. ft. Year built: 2009 by Rural Development, Inc. (RDI)
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This is a deed-restricted property, which limits its future resale price to keep the property affordable to future eligible homebuyers.
Max price on this home is $221,024
Current Property taxes: $3996.45/year
Condo Association fees: $218/month
Estimated HO insurance: $300/year
A short ceremony last Saturday marked the restoration of the park and its statue.
By Mike Jackson
The Montague Reporter
TURNERS FALLS – After a nearly 16-month absence from its pedestal, the Spinner statue was reinstalled and unveiled last weekend in a park looking very different than the one it left in the
first months of the pandemic.
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