Affordable Housing Trust Success part I
Updated: Sep 1
The Great Barrington Affordable Housing Trust Fund (The Trust) was established by a Town Meeting vote in May of 2017.
“The purpose of the Trust is to provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Great Barrington, for the benefit of low and moderate income households, and for the funding of community housing.”
The Trust has developed programs to assist income qualified people to purchase a home, to help them stay in their home, and to develop affordable housing through grants and loans. Affordable housing covers almost all housing options from single family home ownership to affordable rentals to accessory dwelling units (ADU.) Together with our non-profit partners, we have successfully
helped first time home buyers with down payment assistance loans, supported at risk renters with emergency grants, assisted with the purchase of historically affordable rental units to keep them permanently affordable, rehabbed an abandoned house to be sold to an income qualified buyer, and purchased land and are developing twenty new energy efficient houses at below market rates.
The Trust has been able to leverage town funds to bring in Massachusetts grants of $3.3 million for housing and to stimulate private non-profit funding of $8-10 million. For example, the purchase of seven acres of land with town funds for less than $200,000 will result in homes worth $7 million+/- to be built and added to the town inventory. The Trust and the town have been able to provide
purchase grants which enabled our non-profit partners to purchase rental units and to enter into a mortgage. In effect, the town funds provided part of the down payment so that the purchase of historically affordable housing could go forward.
The Trust will continue to operate programs to support home ownership and affordable rentals. In addition, we will be working with the community to support development of new housing. Great Barrington has revised the zoning code to allow ADU’s which may go a long way toward increasing the supply of affordable housing units and will have the added benefit of helping homeowners by
providing much needed income. The Trust is working on an educational and incentive program to stimulate the creation of ADU’s.
Fred Clark, RA emeritus
Chair, Great Barrington Affordable Housing Trust Fund.