There has been a lot of activity around affordable housing in Western Massachusetts recently. On September 25, the community came together to celebrate the completion of the Parsons Village
project, a housing development serving 39 low and moderate income families. The many dignitaries that joined us included Easthampton Mayor Cadieux, Massachusetts Senator Don Humason and supporters from NeighborWorks America, MassHousing, the Department of Housing and Community Development, Easthampton Savings Bank , CEDAC and many, many others. It was wonderful to be able to celebrate after so many years of hard work and it is very rewarding to see the beautiful housing that has been created to serve working families in Easthampton. Congratulations in particular are due to Joanne Campbell of Valley CDC (www.valleycdc.com) and Peter Gagliardi of HAPHousing (http://www.haphousing.org/default/) for their persistence through the many obstacles and hurdles that this special project presented.
Joanne, Peter, Tom Kegelman, Rita Farrell, Steve Connor and Peter Jessup and others also spoke at a forum on affordable housing facilitated by the Amherst Housing and Sheltering Committee. Nancy Gregg of the housing and sheltering committee asked the panelists to identify the challenges to developing affordable housing and the answers were more varied than I expected:
- Tom: the price of land
- Rita: the high costs of doing these projects
- Joanne: resistance from neighbors and abutters.
- Steve Connor: high demand from student renters.
Lots to think about with all of these points. Thanks to everyone who participated in the forum.
There’s still time to participate in Valley CDC’s Pedal this Sunday October 4. It should be a lot of fun! Find out more at www.pedalpokerrun.com.