Trust Funded Activities
Now with over 100 housing trust funds in the state, we have many examples of activities being funded by trusts. Below is just a sampling:
Buy Down Programs: A variety of housing trust funds run “buy down programs.” While they all vary in their structure, the underlying goal is to help income qualified households purchase an existing home in the community.
In Sudbury, the trust facilitates a purchase by negotiating a sale price with a seller, running a lottery to find a qualified buyer and then contributing the subsidy necessary to make the home affordable to a household earning up to 80 percent of the area median income (AMI).
Norfolk’s trust actually purchases the homes, makes any renovations, adds an affordability restriction and then runs a lottery to sell the homes.
Leverett accommodates households earning up to 100% AMI so the units are not added to the state Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI).
Housing Development: A growing number of housing trust funds are participating in funding the development of affordable housing on private land, as well as supporting the disposition of municipal land for affordable housing development.
Noquochoke Village in Westport adds 50 units of rental housing on municipal land for households earning up to 60% AMI, including five units for households earning up to 100% AMI. The trust contributed up to $1 million which included predevelopment work, acquisition of an access parcel and construction.
Yarmouth Commons in Yarmouth replaces an old motor lodge with 69 units of rental housing for households earning up to 60% AMI. The trust contributed $2.07 million (or $30,000 per unit) and the town rezoned the site to allow multi-family housing by right.
Herring Brook Hill in Norwell is the redevelopment of a surplus police station into 18 units of senior rental housing for households earning up to 100% AMI. The trust oversaw the disposition process and contributed $1.2 million.
Housing Preservation: Many affordable units have expiring affordability restrictions. Some communities are monitoring these expirations and working to extend them.
In Cambridge, Bishop Allen apartments were set to have their affordability restrictions expire. A non-profit organization stepped in to purchase the four buildings comprising 32 units of rental housing. But it was the significant allocation from the housing trust fund of over $4.6 million that made the deal happen in an extremely expensive housing market.
A number of housing trusts have exercised a “right of first refusal” and purchased a deed-restricted single family home or condominium to protect it from becoming market rate. After purchasing the unit, the trust makes any necessary improvements, adds the “universal deed rider” developed by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and then sells the unit to an income qualified household