More than 100 new housing units in or near downtown Haverhill are closer to reality with Gov. Charlie Baker’s endorsement of $72 million in housing subsidy funds across the state.
One advancing project would convert a former industrial building at 98-112 Essex St. into a mix of 62 affordable and mixed income housing and first floor commercial space. Another is the conversion of the former Gerson Furniture Co., 181 Washington St., into 44 affordable apartments with a preference for veterans. In 2015, Councilor William J. Macek acknowledged the more than decade effort to rehabilitate the Essex Street building.
“We’re actually replacing that center tooth that has been missing for so long. It will give us the better look that we need for completion,” Macek said.
Both projects, according to the governor’s office, will receive city money.
The boarded-up Chen building on Essex Street has been on the drawing board for more than two years. Haverhill city councilors unanimously voted more than two years ago to grant permits to Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative of Braintree. Seven units will be reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income.
The Gerson Building in Haverhill is sponsored by the nonprofit Coalition for a Better Acre. Eight of the 44 units will also be reserved for very low-income households.
Baker said 25 projects in 17 communities will receive $72 million in subsidies as well as other state and federal tax credits.
“Safe and affordable housing is a cornerstone to the success of our Commonwealth’s families, including access to job opportunities for many of our most vulnerable populations,” said Baker. “Through our combined efforts and investments to date, over 5,200 affordable housing units are being created, preserved or rehabilitated to support the growth of Massachusetts, our workforce, communities and families,” he added.
Besides subsidies, the state Department of Housing and Community Development is giving more than $28 million in state and federal low-income housing tax credits, which will generate more than $180 million in equity for these projects.