Affordable Housing Grants Awarded

Affordable Housing Grants Awarded BOSTON, MA - The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston (the Bank) has awarded $3.0 million in the form of grants, loans, and interest-rate subsidies through its Affordable Housing Program (AHP). These funds will be used to finance 79 units of affordable rental and ownership housing for households earning at or below 80 percent of area median income in three New England states. Of that amount, $2.6 million will be awarded as a grant or subsidy.

"This marks the twentieth consecutive year the Bank has awarded grants and subsidies under the AHP," said Edward A. Hjerpe III, the Bank's president and CEO. "The funds committed - more than $186 million - have led to more than 22,300 housing units for very low-, low-, and moderate-income households, and have helped stimulate economic development throughout New England."

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank added, "This welcome announcement by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston of the latest Affordable Housing Program underlines two important points. First, it shows the importance of public-private cooperation in meeting an important social need. Second, it is one more example of the constructive role that has been played by community banks."

In addition, Congressman Mike Michaud of Maine said, "With the overall decrease in housing construction, our country has experienced severe job loses in the building and trades sector. At the same time, we have seen the demand for affordable housing increase. This funding represents an important investment in our state and will help address both of these challenges."

AHP funds are used to create or preserve affordable housing and help pay construction, acquisition, or rehabilitation costs. Member financial institutions work with local developers to apply for AHP funding, which is awarded through a competitive scoring process. The application deadline for next year's AHP awards is October 1, 2010.

The mission of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston is to provide highly reliable wholesale funding and liquidity to member financial institutions in New England, which enables the Bank to deliver competitively priced financial products, services, and expertise that support housing finance and community economic growth, including programs targeted to lower-income households. Awards are as follows:

Amherst College Initiative - Phase 2. Two homes will be constructed on land donated by Amherst College to provide homeownership opportunities for two very low-income, first-time home buyers. The homes will be completed by students, staff, and faculty under the college's Civic Engagement Initiative. Both Phase 1 and 2 were awarded AHP funding. The initiative will also receive funds from the Amherst Community Preservation Act and other private and corporate fundraising sources. Easthampton Savings Bank is providing a construction line of credit.

Eagle Street. A foreclosed rental property will be acquired and rehabilitated to provide energy-efficient, permanent housing for 17 homeless and low-income families. Eleven units will be affordable to families earning less than 50 percent of the area median income and six will be affordable to families earning less than 80 percent of the area median income. A variety of supportive services will be provided to help stabilize the previously homeless families. Bridgewater Savings Bank is providing construction and permanent financing.

Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center. Twenty units of veterans family housing will be constructed on 10 acres of land donated by Mount Wachusett Community College. The initiative, which will be LEED Gold and Energy Star-rated, will target very low-income, disabled Iraq/Afghanistan veterans with traumatic injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Five units will be set aside for formerly homeless veterans. An on-site therapy center will be an integral part of the initiative. Veterans and their spouses can also take advantage of educational opportunities at Mount Wachusett Community College at no cost. Fidelity Co-operative Bank will provide a revolving line of credit for construction financing.

Grove Street Project. A four-bedroom home will be built by women as a means to teach construction skills. The home, which will incorporate many energy-efficient elements, will be affordable for a very low-income family and designed for two handicapped children. The family will participate in over 800 hours of sweat equity and will attend pre- and post-purchase home-buyer counseling classes. In addition to the AHP direct subsidy, RBS Citizens, National Association will provide a $10,000 grant. The land was donated by the town.

Veteran House. A two-family home will be acquired and rehabilitated to provide supportive housing for two families headed by very low-income, homeless veterans, with a special outreach to homeless women veterans. Boston Veterans Affairs Health Care for the Homeless will provide managed health care, counseling, and job placement assistance, and financial planning services will also be available. Residents will receive mobile HUD/Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing rental vouchers. In addition to the AHP direct subsidy, the Village Bank is providing the acquisition and permanent financing. Other funding includes a Community Development Block Grant and Community Preservation Act funding from the city.

266 Main Street. A property previously owned by the Grace Church will be acquired, preserved, and rehabilitated to provide 16 units of single-room occupancy for very low-income, formerly homeless individuals. The church, constructed in 1834, will undergo extensive rehabilitation and incorporate energy-saving improvements. Residents will be provided education, employment, and financial self-sufficiency training, as well as the opportunity to participate on a residents' council. Southbridge Savings will provide acquisition, construction, and permanent financing through an AHP subsidized advance.

Pendleton Avenue. Three single-family, energy-efficient homes for low- and very low-income first-time home buyers will be constructed in a neighborhood with high foreclosure rates. All families will be provided pre- and post-purchase homeownership counseling, including anti-predatory lending. Besides AHP funding, Bank of America will provide end-loan financing, and additional funding comes from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and Charlesbank Homes.

Cindy Cookson House. Eight rental units will be constructed on a vacant, previously land-locked and inaccessible lot for households with incomes at or below 50 percent of area median income, including homeless adults with serious and persistent mental illness. This initiative will be the first new affordable housing development in the area since 2002. The residents will take part in a residents' council and Coastal Enterprises will provide residents micro-business lending. The initiative will incorporate MaineHousing's Green Building Standards. Camden National Bank will provide construction financing.

Hillside Apartments. A former general store will undergo substantial renovation to create affordable housing for four very low-income and two moderate-income households. The rehabilitation will include green improvements to reduce operating expenses and improve resident quality of life. Residents will also participate in a residents' council and receive micro-business training and homeownership counseling. In addition to AHP funding in 2008 and 2009, the initiative will receive financing from Camden National Bank, MaineHousing, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, and grants from private foundations.

Mountain Street Transitional Housing. A three-family building will be acquired and rehabilitated to provide transitional and supportive housing for four very low-income, formerly homeless households. Residents will receive supportive services, including substance-abuse counseling, family self-sufficiency training, and daycare. Residents will develop leadership skills and engage in civic opportunities with local, state, and nationally elected officials. National Bank of Middlebury will provide a bridge loan for acquisition and an AHP subsidized advance for the permanent financing.
Source: Federal Home Loan Bank

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