YWCA Greater Newburyport
Homeless advocate Mitch Snyder once said “HOUSING! HOUSING! HOUSING!” because he believed it to be the single most important need in people’s lives. If you have a roof over your head, every challenge can be overcome. If you’re like the hundreds of thousands of Americans who do not, even the simplest challenges – attending school, getting a job, staying safe – become impossible to transcend. America’s rising numbers of homeless citizens exist as a direct result of a lack of affordable housing. It’s one of this country’s most pressing problems and one that disproportionately affects women and children.
YWCA Greater Newburyport believes that affordable housing is directly tied to our mission of women’s empowerment.
Children under the age of 18 represent almost 40% of the total homeless population in the country. The majority of these children are supported by single women.
Incomes have not kept pace with the rise in rents, especially among low-wage workers. Women are over-represented in the lowest wage occupations, comprising more than 60 percent of low-wage workers. Women of color make up half of those workers. Half of all households in the US with children under the age of 18 have a “breadwinner mother,” who provides at least 40% of a family’s earnings.
Because of these facts, delivering safe, decent affordable housing means YWCA is able to provide one of the foundations of women’s empowerment.
Currently, our housing focuses on the lowest-income households and households who have experienced homelessness. Forty percent of YWCA housing is reserved for homeless households. Fifty-four percent of our housing serves households whose income is below 30% of the area median.
What is Affordable Housing?
Housing is defined as affordable when the tenant or owner pays no more than 30% of household income toward housing. Housing in this case includes rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, and property taxes.
This is why affordable housing is usually tied to income levels. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses the Area Median Income (AMI) as its baseline to determine which households are “low” income and which households are not. HUD refines the income analysis according to region. YWCA is in the metropolitan Boston region. The following chart is based on HUD’s definitions in 2020:
Definition Income Range 1 2 3 4
Low Income 51% - 80% AMI $67,400 $77,000 $86,650 $96,250
Very Low Income 31% - 50% AMI $44,800 $51,200 $57,600 $63,950
Extremely Low Income at or below 30% AMI $26,850 $30,700 $34,550 $38,350
By definition, a single individual who earns just under $67,400 is considered low income. Compare that to a single woman who works 40 hours a week at $15.00 an hour. She would only early $31,200 and would be classified as Very Low Income. But a senior woman, on a fixed income, who earns less than $2,237 a month would be considered Extremely Low Income.
Based on the chart below, these households would be able to afford the following rents:
Definition Income Range 1 2 3 4
Low Income 51% - 80% AMI $1,685 $1,925 $2,166 $2,406
Very Low Income 31% - 50% AMI $1,120 $1,280 $1,440 $1,598
Extremely Low Income at or below 30% AMI $671 $767 $863 $958
YWCA Greater Newburyport has chosen to focus the majority of its affordable housing on households with incomes at or below 50% of the area median as these households have the most difficult time finding affordable housing.
The Residences at Salisbury Square
This 42-unit affordable housing project was completed in 2019. Located in Salisbury, MA, it is on a bus line that goes from Salisbury Beach to Newburyport’s downtown. It is located near a rail trail and public library. Unit sizes vary from studios to three-bedroom units.
All units are restricted to those with incomes at or below 60% of the area median. There is a preference for households experiencing homelessness, for those with a least one member who is disabled and qualify for Community Based Housing, and for those with a sensory disability. Income and preferences are all defined in our pre-application available here.
YWCA Market Street Apartments
This ten-unit affordable housing project was renovated in 2013. Within a short walk to downtown Newburyport, it is on the bus line that runs from downtown Newburyport to Salisbury Beach. Studio, one- and two-bedroom units are available. In addition to income qualifications, prospective tenants must either be experiencing homelessness or qualify for Community Based Housing. Eligibility requirements are all defined in our pre-application available here.
YWCA Women's Residence
The Women’s Residence is a single room occupancy program in a historic building. Women share bath and kitchen facilities. Common rooms include a living room with a TV and a quiet room with sofas and chairs. Heat and electricity are included in the weekly rent. Bedrooms are wired for cable, phone, and the internet, available at the tenant’s expense. Most women live in the residence between three and ten years. This is considered permanent housing and is not an emergency or transitional program.
Roof Over Head Collaborative
YWCA at Hillside
This ten-unit affordable housing project is expected to be completed in 2021. We are not accepting applications at this time. The building will be designed to meet Passive Housing United States standards, meaning that units will produce as much energy as they consume. Integrated into a larger Hillside Center for Sustainable Living community. Tenants will have access to a wide range of amenities including access to an organic farm located on-site. All units have income eligibility requirements and homeless households will have priority for three units.
How can you help?
We rely on donations to help support our existing housing. Donations help us preserve the integrity of our historic residence and provide amenities for tenants. Donations enable YWCA to pursue the development of new affordable housing opportunities. Donations help us advocate for more affordable housing at the local, state, and—in coordination with YWCA USA—national levels.
The YWCA is always looking for volunteers to help with painting, light carpentry, gardening, and beautification of our residential properties. Other needs include special event support and planning.
For more information, please email the YWCA Property Manager.