Since its inception in 1974, Housing Assistance has developed over 550 units of affordable housing on Cape Cod and the Islands. In the next few years, that number will increase significantly as our agency works to construct three separate developments in Brewster, Mashpee, and Bourne that will add another 120 units to the Cape’s affordable housing inventory.
Our region has an extreme shortage of year-round rental inventory, estimated at less than 1% vacancy rate when most experts consider 7% vacancy to be healthy. If a person has limited income, they have an even more difficult time finding a place to rent.
Each of the three developments are being built in partnership with the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a national nonprofit developer with expertise financing and managing affordable housing projects across the country. “POAH has a lot of experience doing complicated housing projects that rely on tax credits and other funding sources,” David Quinn, Director of Housing Development and Planning, said. “We’re able to help them shape their housing to fit well here on the Cape.”
Thanks to a $1.68 million MassWorks grant the Town of Brewster received in late 2019, infrastructure work has started on Brewster Woods which will bring 30 units of affordable rentals to the Lower Cape community. All apartments are for households earning less than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Barnstable County.
Last fall, Governor Charlie Baker announced that Brewster Woods was one of 28 projects in 19 communities throughout the Commonwealth that were awarded a total of $53 million in state and federal tax credits necessary for construction on these developments to begin. Brewster Woods has also received $550,000 in Brewster Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds as well as $250,000 in Barnstable County HOME funds.
Quinn anticipated groundbreaking will occur in the spring, once financing has closed, with construction to last roughly a year.
950 Falmouth Road (Mashpee)
In 2017, Mashpee voters approved the transfer of a 13-acre parcel of town-owned land to develop for affordable housing. A year later, the Town approved a proposal submitted by POAH and Housing Assistance Corporation to build 39 rental units on the property. Similar to Brewster Woods, the apartments will be constructed for those earning 60% of the AMI.
Like many of our housing developments, the plan calls for the apartments to be constructed as separate buildings – a two-story, 12-unit building; a 23-unit, three-story building; and a 4-unit townhouse.
The project is currently in the middle of permitting and will require low-income housing tax credits from the state to move forward with construction.
Cape View Way (Bourne)
Housing Assistance and POAH will continue to add to the inventory of affordable housing they have constructed in Bourne with the 51-unit Cape View Way. From 2007 to 2018, the two nonprofits partnered to construct 117 affordable apartments on a 19-acre parcel off MacArthur Boulevard.
Cape View Way will be located on the other side of the bridge in Sagamore, behind the Bourne Fire Department headquarters. The Town awarded the project to Housing Assistance and POAH at the end of 2018.
The project is roughly a month or two behind the Mashpee development. Quinn anticipated applying for financing through the state this year and entering the local permitting phase in the spring.