Affordable Housing Project to Break Ground on Nantucket

sachemspath_g1NANTUCKET – More than 40 years ago Nantucket set aside 9.2 acres of land off Surfside Road with the sole intent of developing it into affordable housing for the island’s workforce.

This month that project is scheduled to begin, eventually adding 40 homes meant for those supporting Nantucket’s infrastructure – teachers, police officers, firefighters, nurses, waiters, bartenders, chefs, tour guides, fishermen and shopkeepers – so thaty they can afford to live year-round on the popular tourist destination.

The project, Sachem’s Path, is a collaboration between Housing Assistance Corporation, Habitat for Humanity of Nantucket, the town of Nantucket and the Nantucket Housing Authority.

In 2011 the housing authority selected HAC to serve as the developer of the land. HAC will be responsible for constructing 36 of the 40 units with the remainder being built by Habitat for Humanity of Nantucket.

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That same year Nantucket committed $1.8 million in Community Preservation Act funds towards the project. Sachem’s Path got an additional boost from the state this past June during Massachusetts 2nd Annual Housing Week when Governor Deval L. Patrick announced funding for the first phase (16 units) of the housing development.

sachemspath2At that press conference, held at the Citizens Bank branch in Dorchester, Governor Patrick stressed that improving the state’s housing stock “at all levels is a priority for our administration and for me… by giving young families and working families the opportunity to own a home we’ve retained our talent pool and created long-term sustainable economic growth.”

The state’s commitment to housing was manifested in roughly $9 million of state funds used to create 164 new units of affordable homes throughout the Commonwealth. Of that state money $1.485 million will be used to fund the initial phase of Sachem’s Path, helping to make Nantucket more affordable for those struggling to make ends meet.

HAC CEO Rick B. Presbrey said the state funding is vital because it makes the first phase of the project a reality.

Sachem’s Path will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units sold to those making between 80 percent (~$58,750 for a one-person household) to 150 percent (~$110,250) of the Area Median Income (AMI) on Nantucket.

Preference for the 40 units will be given to those either living or working on Nantucket.

“I am excited about starting this project and have been pleased with how supportive the town, the community preservation committee and the Nantucket Housing Authority have been through this entire process,” said Adrienne Danner, the project manager in HAC’s Housing Development Department.

“Obviously house prices on Nantucket are the most expensive, certainly in Massachusetts with house prices being over $700,000 and up,” Presbrey added. “So selling homes under $500,000 makes it possible for a lot of people who never thought they could buy a house on Nantucket the opportunity to buy one now.”