Builder Money Begins New Affordable Housing Fund

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

Haverhill city councilors agreed Tuesday night to take $57,000 from a housing developer in lieu of a requirement the builder sell two homes to low-income families.

Attorney Michael J. Migliori said Hale’s Landing received permission to build 26 single-family homes in 2005 on the condition two homes be sold at reduced prices to qualified families. However, current banking rules make it difficult to finance eligible, low-income families, he said.

“The policy doesn’t make sense any longer. It just doesn’t work,” Migliori said. Selling the two remaining homes at market prices will allow the developer to complete the project and allow the city to accept the street off Groveland Road. Lacking acceptance of the street, current residents must pay for their own snowplowing and trash disposal.

“The economy turned terribly downward,” Migliori said, after the 2005 permitting of the project. It took 11 years to sell 24 units, he added. He said other developers have received waivers without giving the city in exchange. He said his client also donated land to the city’s trail network and has pledged to make further open space improvements.

Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan, who is also a real estate attorney, agreed there is no longer a market for this kind of reduced price home programs.

“They couldn’t find people who qualify,” Sullivan said. Programs that work today use grants and tax credits, he explained. He proposed, and his colleagues accepted, the creation of a new affordable housing fund paid by developers. Sullivan called the fund “seed money for a new account.”

Councilor William J. Macek hailed the solution as “a new way to pay for affordable housing.”

2 thoughts on “Builder Money Begins New Affordable Housing Fund

  1. “They couldn’t find people who qualify” –

    That’s because The People are broke as real median incomes continue on their 15-year crash into the abyss.

    Of course not mentioned is the crashing home ownership both nationally and even worse here in Massachusetts. Pricing (see below) is the only thing artificially supporting housing as those wealthy enough to do so, and/or possibly corrupt, use real estate as a wealth preserver of first resort, distorting the entire market. The activity levels show this, as real estate never recovered form the crash. I don’t know if it’s cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, or really bad analysts crunching the numbers, but it will be interesting what they call “market rates” in Haverhill.

    Then again, crony capitalism/politics is no stranger to Massachusetts…or Haverhill.