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affordable housing expansion | 11 Market Street

The YWCA Greater Newburyport learned in April 2012, that the state was awarding us just over 1.2 million dollars to expand its affordable housing program at 11 Market Street.  This represents the culmination of dreams for many board members and community activists. 

On January 7th, construction crews arrived to begin the demolition of the rear stairway and some of the internal walls.  If all goes well, beginning sometime the week of January 14th, construction of the new foundation will begin. 

The YWCA Greater Newburyport began providing affordable housing to women in 1885.  In 1890, we acquired 13 Market Street in order to expand affordable housing for young women. The industrial revolution saw a great change in society with young women leaving the farms and arriving in cities seeking employment opportunities.  These women needed an affordable, safe and decent place to live.

In 1998, the YWCA Greater Newburyport had the opportunity to acquire 11 Market Street and use it for affordable housing for homeless households. 

Unlike large urban areas, homelessness is virtually hidden in the Seacoast communities.  Homeless individuals and families are not visible on the streets and there are no homeless shelters in the area to draw attention.  This does not mean that homelessness does not exist.

Homelessness, is the lack of permanent dwelling meant for human habitation.  While living in a hotel provides shelter, it is not permanent.  Households who illegally double up in an apartment are considered homeless because the apartment cannot be considered permanent (such families are at risk of eviction if discovered).  Other individuals or families displaced by divorce or domestic violence who do not have a permanent dwelling are also homeless. 

The Marjorie Lynn House (11 Market Street) will continue to serve 8 homeless households when it re-opens in the fall of 2013.  In addition, the house will serve 2 households in which at least one member is disabled (Newburyport currently only has 6 such units for low income households).

Many people have worked very hard to ensure that this project is a success.  YWCA Greater Newburyport would like to thank the following people for their help over the years.

Over the past several years, many volunteers have worked on this project through the YWCA Affordable Housing Committee.  Foremost amongst these volunteers has been Judy Tymon.  Judy is currently the President of the YWCA Greater Newburyport and is also a member of the Newburyport Affordable Housing Trust.  The committee was also staffed by Anne Gardner, Kellie Gentile, Kim Foulkes, and Kim Williams.

The Newburyport Community Preservation Act Committee, through the Newburyport City Council provided the development funds needed to get this project moving.  Without their generous and patient support, we would not have been able to secure regional or state funding. 

Mayor Donna Holaday has been a consistent champion of affordable housing in Newburyport.  Her leadership has provided us with a clear path when navigating local rules and regulations.  Representative Michael Costello’s behind the scenes work with the state was critical in obtaining state funding in the second round.  Most proposals take several rounds before being approved.

Private donations from the HRH Foundation and Charlesbank Homes gave us a competitive advantage as it demonstrated that state funds would leverage private support.

The Institution for Savings had the faith in us to provide construction and permanent financing for the project.  Karen MacCormack and Pam Bishop did a great job in helping us gather the necessary information to demonstrate the value of this project.

Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston helped make the financing of this project affordable.  Their subsidized advance resulted in a permanent loan at 2.5%!  Tobi Goldberg was of tremendous assistance throughout this complicated process.

The YWCA Greater Newburyport would not have been able to develop this project on its own.  It was not until LD Russo stepped in and provided financial support as well as technical assistance to make it happen.  Nat Coughlin, Cindy Russo and Lou Russo did a tremendous amount of work preparing the application for the Department of Housing and Community Development.  Without their help, we would not have been able to move the project forward!

In order to expand this project in a timely and cost effective manner, we had to temporarily relocate all of our tenants.  The state and federal regulations surrounding relocation are simply indecipherable.  Fortunately, we were able to work with the cipher, Ashley Emerson.  Ashley not only took all of our phone calls, but she called us back with a calming voice and clear direction.

Many other state workers helped to bring the funding for this project together.  And here, I will probably get in trouble by missing a name or two.  We would like to thank Jeff Geller, Bree Horwitz, Paul Nixon, and Sharon Riley.  We appreciate their patience with us and their expertise needed to put all of this funding together.  Andy Port in the Newburyport planning department, Kevin Hurley and Lisa Greene were extremely helpful in obtaining a number of needed approvals.  We are also grateful to Ed Cameron and Eileen Healy at Community Teamwork Inc for their assistance with the section 8 program.

When complete, the project will serve 8 homeless households and 2 households in which at least one member is disabled.  All households will have incomes below 50% of area median income with 6 of the units reserved for households with incomes below 30% area median income.

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affordable housing expansionywca affordable housing - ways to help

1) The YWCA Affordable Housing Committee is always looking for volunteers to serve.  The committee meets monthly to raise public awareness about the need for affordable housing, recommend policies to the Board and assist with the expansion of affordable housing.

2) The Women’s Residence at 13 Market Street is undergoing some renovations as well.  A new roof, new carpet and mattresses are some of the proposed projects.  We are seeking funding for these renovations and donations are gratefully accepted.

To learn more please contact Ellie Davis at 978-225-6210.


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