Brewster Considers Affordable Housing Trust

BREWSTER – More than 100 Massachusetts towns have a Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, and Brewster may be next.

Shelly Goehring of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, recently spoke to the town’s select board, giving an overview of this option.

“A Municipal Affordable Housing Trust is an option that a lot of communities have looked at as a tool to help address some of the local housing challenges,” she said.

Even though Brewster has a Community Preservation Committee, Goehring was quick to point out a major drawback of real estate purchases they recommend.

“The real estate market can move very quickly, and with the CPA funds it has to go before town meeting. The trust was set up as an entity that could move a little bit more quickly if it has the funds”.

With a funding source, along with some capital at hand, the fund can act on a variety of priorities almost immediately. These include buying properties that can be used as housing after rehabilitation or conversion, purchasing land for a private entity to build affordable housing, the preservation of existing housing and helping those in need of rent assistance.

The availability of housing in Massachusetts is almost non-existent, with the vacancy rates for rentals and housing at 4% and 1.3% respectively. It is ranked fourth in the country for the most expensive homes.

The town seems to be moving towards initiating an affordable housing trust, but a decision has yet to be made.

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