Housing Trust gets nod of support for spending on affordable housing 

By Betsy Levinson  Betsy@theconcordbridge.org
September 7, 2023

The Select Board unanimously approved three policy priorities of the Concord Municipal Affordable Housing Trust at a recent meeting. 

The vote comes as the CMAFT finalizes its goals around the acquisition and development of affordable housing units. The Housing Trust started in 2021 and currently has approximately $3 million in deposits. 

The three policies include allocating funds for projects ready to proceed in Fiscal Year 2024; supporting a reserve fund for projects that will come before the Trust in future cycles; and encouraging the Trust to apply for additional funding both from the Community Preservation Committee and the pandemic-related American Rescue Plan funds administered by Town Manager Kerry Lafleur. 

“We are grateful for the Select Board’s support,” said CMAFT Chair Keith Bergman. “We will go ahead on the three fronts in determining what funds we will allocate to advance our goals for FY24.” 

The Community Preservation Committee supports programs for historical preservation, recreation, affordable housing and land acquisition. The Select Board vote comes just before the CPC convenes on September 8 to review applications for funding.  

Bergman said he plans to apply to both entities.  

“We are applying for up to $500,000 from both sources and know that in both cases, it’s not just what we’re applying for that is important, but also who else is applying for the limited funds,” he told the Select Board. 

Bergman said he hopes to get close to $500,000 combined from the two sources. 

High on the list of projects is the Assabet River Bluff Housing, with three affordable units. The Concord Housing Development Corporation acquired the one-acre property in 2022 with funds from the CPC and the Housing Trust. 

Other projects down the road are the 12-acre Junction Village parcel that is also owned by the CHDC, and land declared surplus by the Commonwealth on Main Street near Route 2.  

There are six housing-related groups, in addition to the Select Board and Planning Board, that make up the Concord Housing Roundtable. They are as follows: 

  • Concord Housing Authority, established in 1961. The state agency operates 228 subsidized units and serves more than 375 people; 
  • Concord Housing Foundation, established in 2001. The private nonprofit has $1 million in private donations for affordable housing. It is a co-funder of Assabet River Bluff with the Concord Housing Development Corporation; 
  • Community Preservation Committee, established in 2004. The town board appointed by the Select Board, allocates 21.5 percent of its annual budget for community housing and is a co-funder of Assabet River Bluff; 
  • Concord Housing Development Corporation, established in 2007. It is a nonprofit established by state statute with members appointed by the Select Board. It owns five units at Assabet River Bluff and the 12-acre Junction Village property acquired from the state; 
  • Regional Housing Services Office, established in 2011 via an intermunicipal agreement to serve member towns. It monitors project development and program administration. 
  • Concord Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, established in 2021, with members appointed by the Select Board. It has approximately $3 million in the bank and is seeking home rule petitions for a real estate transfer fee and a building permit surcharge, measures both passed at the 2023 Town Meeting.