Trust now accepting applications for CPA-eligible affordable housing projects and programs, contingent on Board of Aldermen approval
SOMERVILLE – Supporting the City’s
efforts to expand housing affordability in Somerville, the Community Preservation Committee has recommended and Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone has requested that the Board of Aldermen appropriate over $2.2 million in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund to acquire, create, preserve, support, and rehabilitate affordable housing in Somerville. The Trust is now accepting applications for affordable housing projects and programs that could be funded with CPA revenue.
The Community Preservation Committee voted in August to empower the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which has 25 years of experience preserving, creating, and supporting affordable housing in Somerville, to serve as the housing arm of the Committee. The Committee will recommend granting the Trust CPA funding annually, which the Trust will allocate to CPA-eligible affordable housing projects and programs. In August, the Committee voted to recommend granting the Trust 45% of FY14 and FY15 CPA revenue of $4.9 million and gave the Trust the option to apply for additional funding if needed. Appropriations of CPA funding to the Trust must be approved by the Board of Aldermen.
In anticipation of receiving CPA funding, the Affordable Housing Trust released a request for information (RFI) in November alerting the affordable housing community of the potential for a new funding source for the Trust and soliciting information on upcoming funding requests. The Trust is now officially accepting applications for CPA funds, contingent upon Board of Aldermen approval of the appropriation request. Applications are due no later than 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16. Failure to submit a response to the RFI does not preclude an organization from submitting a funding request application. The Trust will continue accepting applications for development projects requesting non-CPA Trust funds on a rolling basis and will hold its annual competitive process for housing programs and the Tenancy Stabilization Program in the spring of 2015.
“When the voters of Somerville passed the Community Preservation Act by a nearly unprecedented 76% in 2012, they sent a strong message of supporting investment in our community,” said Mayor Curtatone. “With unprecedented regional housing market pressures, an increased investment in housing affordability is vital. The Community Preservation Committee’s recommended appropriation of over $2.2 million to the Trust to support affordable housing is a key step to ensuring our community remains vibrant and accessible to all.”
“The Community Preservation Committee’s recommendation to the Board of Aldermen demonstrates our deep commitment to supporting housing affordability in Somerville,” said Michael A. Capuano, Chair of the Community Preservation Committee. “Our City is fortunate to have an Affordable Housing Trust Fund with such a breadth and depth of expertise and experience, and we look forward to collaborating with the Trust as they take on the role of the housing arm of the Committee.”
“The Trust is very grateful for the Community Preservation Committee’s strong support for meeting the affordable housing need in the City and for its recognition of the work of the Trust,” said Mary Cassesso, Managing Trustee of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. “We are eager to work with the Community Preservation Committee to further the mission of creating, expanding, preserving and rehabilitating the stock of affordable housing in the City.”
In November 2012, Somerville voters overwhelmingly approved a 1.5% CPA surcharge on net property taxes. In FY2014, the City collected $1.3 million in CPA revenue and appropriated an additional $1.35 million in free cash to the City’s CPA Fund. The City received over $900,000 in matching funds from the state in November and anticipates collecting an additional $1.3 million in surcharge revenue in FY2015, resulting in $4.9 million being available for open space, outdoor recreation, historic preservation, and affordable housing projects.
The Community Preservation Committee opened a competitive application process for the distribution of CPA funds for open space, outdoor recreation, and historic preservation projects in August. On Dec. 1, the Committee received 15 applications totaling $8.8 million in requests. The Committee anticipates making recommendations to the Board of Aldermen regarding which projects to fund in early March.
The Committee is seeking community input on which projects should receive CPA funding by holding two public meetings in the new year, one on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Board of Aldermen Chambers at City Hall, 93 Highland Ave., and one on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. in the community room at the Visiting Nurses Association, 259 Lowell St., during which applicants will give a brief presentation on their project proposals and residents will have the opportunity to offer comments. Residents may also submit written comments on the proposals, all of which are available on the CPA website, through Jan. 31, 2015 by email to email@example.com or by mail to Emily Monea, SomerStat, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143.
For more information on the CPA, sign up for the CPA Email Newsletter by visiting the City’s website at http://www.somervillema.gov/CPA and clicking “Sign Up Now for CPA News.” Please contact Emily Monea at 617-625-6600 x2118 or firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.
To access the Trust application, please visit http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/affordable-housing-trust-fund and click on CPA/Trust Application or contact Kelly Donato at 617-625-6600 x2560 or email@example.com.