City Announces Worcester Housing Now Initiative
For Immediate Release:
10/25/2019 2:19 pm
The City’s Executive Office of Economic Development, Housing Development Division, today announced a new initiative known as Worcester Housing Now.
The announcement was made by Mayor Joseph M. Petty and City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. at the Game Changers business conference and expo hosted by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce at Mechanics Hall.
Worcester Housing Now offers eight components to help both owner-occupied multi-family housing as well as provide responsible developers with streamlined access to capital for revitalizing troubled properties. The program will focus on the existing housing stock in all of Worcester’s neighborhoods, a majority of which is more than 100 years old. Deferred maintenance on many of these properties has led to resident health issues, blighted and vacant buildings and units and disinvestment in neighborhoods.
“While there is great excitement for all the new development happening in our downtown, we must ensure all residents have safe and healthy living conditions,” said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. “Triple deckers are the soul of Worcester and bringing back offline units will provide some immediate relief to the lack of affordable rental unit availability.”
“The creation, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing within our neighborhoods is something the City administration takes very seriously,” added City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “This new multi-layered funding and educational approach will allow for safe, affordable units for both individuals and families across our city.”
An informational meeting on the Worcester Housing Now program will be held on Tuesday, November 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at City Hall.
Worcester Housing Now Resources:
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funding – The City has prioritized federal funding through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), specifically the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. This funding will be available to developers looking to acquire or rehabilitate 2-4 unit properties.
- Lead Abatement Funding - The City through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) will have Lead Abatement funding available to additionally assist with the remediation of units that contain lead paint and other health related housing issues. Funding up to $10,000 per unit will be available for properties built before 1978.
- Affordable Housing Now Loan Fund - Establishment of a $10 million loan fund has been established through a partnership between a consortium of local banks/lending institutions and the City. This fund can be utilized for both acquisition, and or rehabilitation of 2-4 unit buildings.
- Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Funding – The City of Worcester, as a Gateway Community within the Commonwealth, will have access to funding through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Gateway Cities Rehabilitation Program. This program will be available to homeowners who own 2-4 unit structures that have building or sanitary code issues, or are at risk of losing insurance.
- Monthly Sanitary/Building Code classes for owners with violations - Classes will be targeted to owners who have received violation notices on their property. Class sessions will review owner responsibilities under various codes and ordinances, and offer guidance on available resources to resolve those issues.
- Release of the Multifamily Rehabilitation and Maintenance Guide – A City specific guide to preferred methods of rehabilitation and maintenance for 2-4 unit buildings. This guide has been developed in coordination with local, state and federal officials.
- Housing Development Advisory Committee - The Housing Development Advisory Committee will tackle various housing issues including affordable housing, market rate housing, fair housing, zoning and other relevant issues, and report out to the City Manager.
- Monthly Housing Topic videos posted on City website, cable channel, and YouTube channel. Allow owners to view various housing topics discussed by City and local officials.