Falmouth Exploring Two Plans to Address Housing Crisis

FALMOUTH – A representative from Falmouth’s Affordable Housing Committee recently presented information about two programs the town could potentially use to address its workforce housing crisis. 

Laura Moynihan, an attorney who volunteers for a working group formed by the Committee, spoke at a recent joint meeting of the committee and the Falmouth Select Board about housing plans the town could research more and possibly pursue. 

“A large part of the drive behind these programs was to address that workforce housing problem,” Moynihan said. 

The first program Moynihan highlighted was a Home Ownership Opportunity Program that awards a grant to a first-time homebuyer to help fund the gap between the affordable price and the selling price of an existing home. 

The grant would be up to $250,000 for a 2, 3, or 4 bedroom home. It would be up to the Select Board to decide how many grants a year to award if the town goes ahead with the program.

Moynihan and the committee recommended potentially starting with three. 

There would be income limits for the grant recipient and the winner would be chosen by a lottery process. The deed to the house would be restricted in the event of a resale. 

Moynihan also added the unit would potentially be included in Falmouth’s Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI). 

The attorney said the program was a quicker way to get more units in the SHI because the town would not have to go through the process of acquiring land and construction with this program. 

She added although $250,000 seems like a high amount for one grant, that the town having to build a unit would cost the same or more.

Board member Douglas Brown expressed some hesitation because there was a limited number of beneficiaries for a program funded by the town.

Moynihan said that although the initial grant winner would benefit, adding a house to the town’s SHI was the true focus of the program, and the additional inventory would benefit the community.

The second program was a Down Payment and Closing Costs Program. Moynihan said some of the program elements were modeled after a similar initiative in Bourne. 

The program would help first-time homebuyer applicants buying properties with down payments or fees associated with closing a house.

Moynihan said the committee envisioned both programs being funded from the Affordable Housing Trust.

The board expressed support for looking into both programs and told the Acting Town Manager Peter Johnson-Staub to move forward with researching the initiatives.

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter 

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

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