Harwich Considering Affordable Housing Trust

HARWICH – Selectmen in Harwich are looking to create a town housing trust similar to the one Yarmouth to increase the number of affordable housing properties.

Former Yarmouth town Administrator Bob Lawton and Yarmouth Housing Director Mary Waygan highlighted the success of the town’s five-member trust recently at a Harwich selectmen’s meeting.

Lawton said Yarmouth has added many different types of affordable housing since establishing its trust including buydowns, new construction and six Habitat for Humanity homes.

Yarmouth also has plans for major projects at former Route 28 motels. One project would add 69 units at the site of the former Cavalier Motel. The other project aims to add 40 more units.

“The town has been able to become more flexible and act quicker on their affordable housing program and projects,” said Mary Waygan, the housing coordinator in Yarmouth.

Waygan said the trust has helped to increase the town’s percentage of affordable housing to 4.5 percent, which is still well below the state goal of 10 percent.

“We’ve brought in 53 units of housing through the trust and we have 153 planned,” Waygan said.

Harwich currently has 5.4 percent of its housing listed as affordable.

The town is also looking to hire a part-time housing coordinator.

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