Posted on October 22, 2020
MHP’s Western Mass. Conference continued this past week with a session on how to create affordable senior housing in small and rural communities.
Held on Wednesday, Oct. 21, the session was led by Laura Baker, real state project manager at the Valley Community Development Corp. The session also featured Lorin Starr of the 120 North Main Street Committee in Sunderland and Paul Lischetti, real estate development director at the Hilltown Community Development Corp.
All three spoke about the challenges and opportunities for building affordable housing for seniors in Western Mass. Baker led the discussion, using a comprehensive power point to walk through the 40-plus attendees through the development process.
Starr talked about the importance of local support as her committee's advocacy for senior affordable housing has resulted in the town accepting a proposal for 34 units on a town-owned site. "You have to be extremely tenacious," she said, alluding to the time it takes to bring a project to fruition. "In many ways, the committee you're a part of is aging in place."
Lischetti spoke about senior projects Hilltown has developed in Westhampton and Goshen, both of which received MHP financing. For background on this project, read this essay on Goshen from the 2018 MHP annual report. MHP also helped Hilltown develop affordable housing for seniors in Westhampton.
The seven-week virtual series is a reimagined version of a conference MHP postponed in the spring due to COVID-19. The sessions are geared towards officials, volunteers and employees in small and rural towns in Western Mass. and are designed to engage participants in discussion and problem solving around the development of affordable housing in the region.
Information on remaining sessions is below or on the MHP events page. Registration is free but you must register in advance. All sessions will be recorded and posted. Links to recordings for the first two sessions are below.
For more information about the conference series, contact MHP’s Katie Bosse at email@example.com or 857-317-8517
Week 1 -- Zoning for Diversity in Small Towns
When: Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, 12 to 1:15 p.m.
Presenters: Alyssa LaRose, Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG); Walter Ramsey, AICP, Town of Montague; Andrew Groff, Town of Williamstown
Week 2 -- Playbook for Building Community Support
When: Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, 12 to 1:15 p.m.
Presenters: Whitney Demetrius, Citizens' Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) and Courtney Porcella, coUrbanize
Week 3 -- Pathways to Homeownership in Western Mass
When: Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, 11 to 12:15 p.m.
Presenters: Isabel Cruz, Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) and Brendan Bailey, Realtor® Association of Pioneer Valley
Week 4 -- Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless
When: Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, 12 to 1 p.m.
Presenter: Andrew Winter, Twin Pines Housing Trust
Week 5 -- Bringing Affordable Senior Housing to Small Towns
When: Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, 11 to 12:15 p.m.
Presenters: Laura Baker, Valley Community Development; Lorin Starr, 120 North Main Street Committee in Sunderland; Paul Lischetti, Hilltown CDC
Week 6 -- Distressed and Abandoned Properties
When: Thursday, Nov. 5 2020, 12 to 1:15 p.m.
Presenters: Don Bianchi, MACDC; Maja Kazmierczak, Massachusetts Attorney General's Office; Michael Moriarty, OneHolyoke CDC
Week 7 -- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Housing Rehab 101
When: Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 12:00 to 1:15 p.m.
Presenters: Patricia Mullen, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC); Doug Desmarais, Hilltown CDC; Brian McHugh, Franklin Country Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority; Christopher Dunphy, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC)
Special thanks to Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC), Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG), Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), Central Mass Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) for help with planning and organizing the workshops.