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Northampton effort includes 10 new apartments, rehab of 14 others

Posted on February 6, 2003

NORTHAMPTON --- MHP participated in a groundbreaking ceremony recently to signal the start of construction of 10 new affordable units, the first such effort to build new affordable housing in this city since 1989.

Known as Valley Millbank Apartments, the effort includes the rehabilitation of 14 existing units in two buildings abutting the construction site. The new building will consist of four three-bedroom units, three two-bedroom units and three one-bedroom units.

The new apartments will be affordable to households earning 50 to 60 percent of median income, or to a family of four earning approximately $30,000 for $525 per month.

“With all the dire news about the economy, the reduction in human service budgets and the increase in homelessness, this sheds a ray of hope in our community,” said Joanne Campbell, executive director of the Valley Community Development Corporation, the project’s co-sponsor.

Remarks made during the Feb. 1 event reflected a sense of teamwork to get this project done. First visualized in 1992 when Valley CDC bought the land off Michaelman Ave., it was delayed first by a court action by neighbors and then by money problems at Valley CDC.

“For those who don’t want affordable housing in their backyard and think delays will stop us, this shows that we’ll all come together to help get things done,” said Peter Gagliardi, executive director of HAP Inc., the Springfield-based CDC that is partnering with Valley CDC on this effort.

MHP’s Director of Intensive Community Support Rita Farrell, who is based in Amherst, provided early technical assistance to help Valley CDC plan the effort, especially during the years when Valley CDC had financial problems.  MHP is also providing $1.8 million in private funds for a long-term loan at a below-market interest rate. MHP is the only public agency in the U.S. that uses lines of credit from the banking industry for affordable housing.

Other essential funding came sources include the Department of Housing and Community Development’s HOME program, the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, a Community Development Block Grant from the City of Northampton, brownfield clean-up funds from MassDevelopment and a grant from the Florence Savings. Construction financing was provided by the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation. The Community Economic Development Assistance Corp provided funding for acquisition costs and pre-development.

For more information about MHP’s technical assistance and permanent rental financing programs, call 1-877-MHP-FUND.

(PHOTO INFORMATION: This view shows foundation work for the 10 new apartments. In the background is an eight-unit apartment, one of the two buildings that will undergo moderate rehabilitation).