Harwich Housing Efforts Impacted by Lack of Rentals

HARWICH – Officials in Harwich discussed how a lack of affordable rental units is impacting the town’s work to address the ongoing housing crisis.

Executive Director of Harwich Housing Authority Tracy Cannon highlighted the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) at a meeting of the town’s board of selectmen on Monday, September 19.

The state voucher program is available to Harwich residents and helps to offset rent costs.

Cannon said her office had 21 of the vouchers and 18 are currently being used for market rentals.

She added the other three vouchers have been offered to individuals but that they cannot find any properties to rent.

Cannon highlighted how even though support is available through state and local initiatives, housing opportunities are limited.

“I can get more vouchers. If we can get some affordable housing, I can get money to help people move into that housing,” she said.

Cannon spoke about how the lack of inventory has also been a problem for the rental assistance program offered through the town.

“But again, people need the place to live where we can help them with their rent. That’s really the struggle,” she said.

Apart from the MRVP program, the housing authority oversees twelve family units in Harwich and a group home.  

Cannon said Harwich has one of the smallest housing authorities in the state and that it recently went six months without a quorum.

The board currently has one vacancy. Board member Donald Howell proposed a joint meeting between the board of selectmen and the housing authority to begin work to fill the vacancy.

Board member Julie Kavanagh said they understand the immediate need for housing and hopefully the town can start to make some progress.

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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