Rep. Vargas Reports 32 Haverhill Residents Shared in $1 Million in State First-Time Homebuyer Grants

MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay during a 2021 Haverhill visit opening the first new homes under the Commonwealth Builder Program. (WHAV News photograph.)

State Rep. Andy X. Vargas said 32 Haverhill residents shared in more than $1 million in state grants to buy their first homes through the state’s MassDreams program.

Vargas called attention to the statistics following a legislative briefing last week by MassHousing. He said the program awarded $1,049,631 in total to 32 Haverhill residents, with an average $32,800 grant to each. There were 42 homes purchased in Haverhill under the program—some of them presumably the 32 Haverhill residents. While grant recipients must reside in an eligible city, he explained, they may purchase a home anywhere in the state.

“I’m thrilled to see the remarkable success that MassDreams has had in Haverhill and statewide. Homeownership is a critical tool towards breaking the cycle of poverty and building intergenerational wealth. This funding has made it possible for families that otherwise could not afford or compete in this housing market to realize their dream of homeownership,” said Vargas.

Statewide, the program provided 1,038 individuals with grants to purchase their first homes.

Vargas, along with other members of the with the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, advocated for the first-time homebuyer assistance program, which received $65 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act money allocated by the state legislature.

MassHousing’s stated goal for the program is to “empower low-and moderate-income first-time homebuyers in 29 communities that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” The funding is used to provide grants for first-time homebuyers in Gateway Cities, such as Haverhill, and other designated communities.

Grants of up to $50,000 are available to individuals earning at 100% or less of area median income and $35,000 to individuals earning between 101% and135% of AMI.

The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus also partnered with the previous administration to create the Commonwealth Builder Program, which provides incentives to developers to build and sell homes to first-time homebuyers at subsidized rates. The first Commonwealth Builder home was built in Haverhill.

All of the original grants have been awarded, but Vargas said he and the Coalition will seek additional allocations during the current legislative session.

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