Affordable Housing Trust Success part II
The town of Great Barrington, with help from several non-profit partners, has worked hard to ensure that there are affordable housing options. Ten years ago Great Barrington laid out a vision in the Master Plan for a healthy downtown, a thriving Housatonic village, protection of natural resources and agriculture, and a focus on increasing housing for all, but particularly affordable housing options. Many of the specific goals and tasks laid out in the Master Plan have been fulfilled and have helped to make Great Barrington a vibrant and dynamic town. The Planning Board has revised zoning to encourage development and streamlined the process wherever practical. The recently dedicated Windrush Commons developed by CDC with forty-nine affordable units was rezoned and received financial support from the town. Through various funding sources such as the Community Preservation Act (CPA), American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and the town’s Affordable Housing Trust, Great Barrington has also:
· Awarded CDC $450,000 for the forty-five unit Bentley Apartments and $200,000 for maintenance at the Hillside Apartments developed a generation ago.
· Committed $600,000 to CDC for the purchase of a six-unit existing block that has historically offered affordable rents.
· Supported Construct, Inc’s. mission of providing emergency and transitional housing with grants of $200,000 and partnered with Construct to provide emergency rental assistance to keep people in their homes, particularly those effected by the pandemic economy.
· Awarded $650,000 to Construct Inc. to purchase the former Windflower Inn, a model for work-force housing with nineteen en-suite rooms.
· Awarded $220,000 in CPA funding to Construct Inc. for renovations to the Forest Springs development.
· Awarded $200,000 in CPA funding toward the addition of thirty-one units at Bostwick Gardens.
· Awarded a derelict house to Habitat for Humanity. The renovated house will be sold as an affordable home.
· Habitat is also developing twenty homes on land that the town purchased for $185,000 and subsequently received a $3.3 million grant from the state to assist with development.
The town of Great Barrington and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund will continue to seek ways to support our community with affordable rentals, assistance with first-time home purchases, and help for transitional housing. As much as has been accomplished it hasn’t come close to meeting the need.
Chair, Great Barrington Affordable Housing Trust Fund