Town staff, board and committee members throughout the Cape as well as local advocates are invited to register for a free Housing Assistance workshop about revitalizing our village centers by encouraging more housing above retails shops and in underutilized commercial spaces.

The March 1 workshop, Revitalizing Village Centers through Housing, will be held on Zoom from 3:30 to 5:00 PM. To register click the button below.

Housing Assistance is hosting the workshop to highlight this kind of infill development as an important strategy for adding the rentals our workforce needs without chewing up open space. And there’s added benefits in that housing in these locations uses existing streets and sewers, and creates walkable neighborhoods that support local businesses. Multi-family housing, more homes built closer together, are more affordable and have less of an environmental impact than sprawling development.

“Our region is facing a dual crisis of lack of housing and a need to protect our waters and natural resources,” said Alisa Magnotta, CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation. “Towns need tools to encourage development of housing our workforce can afford, in locations that minimize our impact on the environment.”

2022 Cape Housing Institute graphic

One key tool for encouraging appropriate housing development is allowing multi-family housing in and near village centers and Main Streets, including conversion of previous commercial properties to housing. Additional strategies include technical assistance, building code updates and financial incentives to make smaller-scale, infill housing development financially feasible.

The Cape Cod Commission will open the workshop with an overview of how they defined village centers, main streets and existing commercial zones as a placetype called Community Activity Centers within its Regional Policy Plan. These places share attributes that make them good locations for increased housing because that development would fit within community context and help progress toward multiple RPP goals – economic development, lower environmental footprint, and increased housing. Jacqui Beebe, Town Administrator for Eastham, will share how housing development and economic development goals relate to each other and how the town plans to take a coordinated approach in moving toward those goals.

Featured speakers are Upstairs Downtown, a collaboration between an architect and a planner who have worked with many small towns across America to revitalize their downtowns by building out housing in the upper stories of their existing, mostly commercial buildings. These smaller housing developments add up to big improvements in housing availability and neighborhood vitality.

The Revitalizing Village Centers through Housing workshop is a part of Housing Assistance Corporation’s Cape Housing Institute series, designed to share best practices in housing development with advocates, town staff, board and committee members, and housing advocates throughout the region. This series is supported by the Cape and Islands Association of REALTORS® and Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District.