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Sudbury Housing Authority develops new affordable units

November 2, 2012

Sudbury_DuplexesSUDBURY, Nov. 2, 2012--- The grand opening of the Sudbury Duplexes provided an opportunity for state and local leaders to salute the Sudbury Housing Authority for its never-ending efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing in its community.

Speaker after speaker came to the podium to praise the SHA and its executive director, Jo-Ann Howe, for figuring how to develop 10 new affordable units of rental housing for families in a well-to-do town where many homes sell for over a million dollars.

"Congratulations to the Town of Sudbury and to the Sudbury Housing Authority and its board," said State Senator Jamie Eldridge at the Nov. 1 grand opening. "Under the leadership of Jo-Ann Howe, the Sudbury Housing Authority is a poster child for what housing authorities can do for the people of the Commonwealth."

A lifelong resident of Sudbury, Howe was successful in the 1980s helping the housing authority develop 12 units of affordable housing. Not satisfied, she spent the next 20 years trying to find land to develop more. After several setbacks trying to acquire land, she suggested that the SHA redevelop its own properties and her idea evolved into a plan in which four aging single-family housing authority homes were razed and five duplex homes were built, totaling 10 units of affordable housing. An existing unit was included in the financing, resulting in a total of 11 units of permanently affordable rental housing for families.

"I grew up in public housing in Amherst and I know how important that housing was to my mother, my sister and I," said Arthur Jemison, deputy director of the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). "It's great to see this type of housing in Sudbury and it's a credit to the Sudbury Housing Authority that they made the bold choice to redevelop their own properties and had the determination to see it through."

The Town of Sudbury supported the development by granting a Ch. 40B comprehensive zoning permit, allowing the SHA to develop the multi-family housing on multiple sites. The town also supported the housing financially with $600,000 in Community Preservation Act funds and $150,000 from its Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

The Massachusetts Housing Partnership supported the development with early technical assistance, a $1 million first mortgage from its bank-funded loan pool and $756,000 in second mortgage financing from its Neighborhood Rental Initiative Program, a $5 million program that supports the creation of affordable housing for families in high-opportunity communities characterized by good schools, proximity to jobs, high housing costs, and a shortage of affordable housing. First offered in 2009, the NRI program has also made funding commitments to developments in Acton, Barnstable, Chelmsford, Hopkinton, Mashpee, and Truro.

"This is one example of how public and private funds can be used to build more affordable rental homes for families, which is housing that the Commonwealth desperately needs," said Susan Connelly, MHP's Director of Community Housing Initiatives.

Sudbury Duplexes received its construction financing from Property Casualty Initiative. The Patrick Administration and DHCD supported the effort with $715,000 from its Housing Stabilization Fund, $375,000 from its Public Housing Modernization Fund and $285,000 from the state's Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is administered by MassHousing.

The grand opening was held at the new duplex on 19 Greenwood Road. Sherrill Cline from the Sudbury Housing Authority Board of Commissioners moderated the event. Additional speakers included selectmen Lawrence O'Brien and John Drobinski, Housing Authority Commissioner Steve Swanger and State Representative Tom Conroy.

The final speaker was Jo-Ann Howe, whothanked several contributors, including consultant Rebecca Plaut-Mautner, MHP's Rita Farrell, Taylor & Burns Architects, Eastern General Contractors of Springfield and KBS Building Systems of South Paris, Maine, the company that built and delivered the modular housing units.

For more information about this development and MHP financing, contact Rita Farrel, senior advisor to MHP's Community Housing Initiatives team, atrfarrell@mhp.net.

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