EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 14, 2013

Lawrence gets nearly $10M from housing bill

By Mark E. Vogler
mvogler@eagletribune.com

---- — BOSTON — Lawrence will receive close to $10 million in affordable housing resources and tax credits for the completion of two projects, under a $73.6 million housing bond bill signed by Gov. Duval Patrick.

The finance package announced yesterday by the governor also includes $1.3 million for a Haverhill project.

“This type of urban renewal is great for the city of Lawrence,” state Rep. Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence) said in an interview yesterday.

“These projects will create 135 affordable units for families in need and will serve as models for future projects,” Moran said.

“I am proud to have voted for the housing bond bill that will bring state funds to help renovate the Duck Mill/Union crossing area and the Malden Mills of Lawrence. This is a significant and much-needed investment for the city of Lawrence,” he said.

Funds provided by the state Department of Housing and Community Development will support the following projects:

The Duck Mill/Union Crossing Phase II, a historic re-use project located in Lawrence and sponsored by the non-profit Lawrence CommunityWorks. The state will support the project with low-income housing tax credits, federal HOME funds, and state subsidy funds. The city of Lawrence will also contribute support. When completed, it will feature 73 affordable units for families, including 15 units reserved for families earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

Malden Mills II, is a historic re-use project located in Lawrence and sponsored by Winn Development. The state will support this project with low-income housing tax credits, federal HOME funds and state bond subsidies. The city of Lawrence also has committed funds. When completed, Malden Mills II will offer 62 affordable units for families, including seven units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income. Winn Development already has completed a highly successful earlier phase of this large-scale redevelopment project.

Winter Street School Apartments is a historic re-use project located in Haverhill and sponsored by the Planning Office for Urban Affairs (Archdiocese of Boston). The state will support the project with low-income housing tax credits and state bond subsidies, and the city of Haverhill also will support the project. When completed, it will include 12 affordable units for families, with three units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.

“The whole Merrimack Valley delegation worked hard on this housing bond bill,” Moran said.

“State Rep.Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) was a big influence on this as well. We’re fighting at the state house for every penny we can get for Lawrence so we can turn this city around. So, this really helps,” he said.

Lawrence and Haverhill were among 17 communities that benefited under the housing finance plan announced yesterday by the governor. Patrick signed H.3492, “An Act Financing the Production and Preservation of Housing for the Low and Moderate Income Residents.”

The bill provides $1.4 billion over five years for 11 capital funding programs “that rehabilitate and modernize state-assisted public housing; preserve the affordability and income mix of state-assisted multifamily developments; and support home ownership and production of rental housing opportunities for low and moderate income residents, elderly, persons experiencing homelessness, persons with disabilities and veterans,” according to a statement by the governor’s office.

“Creating or preserving affordable housing helps to generate jobs, grow local businesses and strengthen our communities” Patrick said.

“Government’s role is to help people help themselves, and sustainable affordable housing will create growth and opportunity in our communities that will last for generations to come.”

Of the 1,145 units preserved or created, 1,084 will be affordable to low- and moderate-income individuals and households, with 228 units reserved for extremely low-income families, including those making the transition from homelessness, according to the governor.