MassHousing Update, November 2020
To our partners, customers and stakeholders
MassHousing remains open and will continue to provide mission-critical business during this unprecedented period of time. View COVID-19 information and resources for homeowners, renters and multifamily business partners.
Down Payment Assistance of up to $25,000 Now Available for Qualified Buyers in Gateway Cities and Boston
Up to $15,000 available for buyers in other communities
Saving for a down payment is one of the major barriers to homeownership. To help buyers get past that barrier, MassHousing has increased its maximum down payment assistance (DPA) to as much as $25,000 or 5% of the purchase price, whichever is less, for qualified buyers in Gateway Cities and Boston.

The new funds will allow many people to buy a home who otherwise might not get the chance.

MassHousing is working to increase access to affordable homeownership for Black home buyers and other persons of color, and the new aid will assist in that effort.

Homebuyers who qualify for the new down payment assistance will also receive job-loss protection insurance for their mortgage loan, at no additional cost. MassHousing will make the lump sum mortgage insurance premium payment on the borrower's behalf. As a result, if the borrower loses their job and is collecting unemployment benefits, MassHousing will cover the principal and interest payments on the first mortgage loan for up to six months (up to $2,000 per month). In the pandemic, job loss protection has helped hundreds of MassHousing borrowers stay current on their home loans.

MassHousing continues to offer DPA to qualified buyers in all Massachusetts communities. Buyers who do not qualify for the new higher amounts may still qualify for up to $15,000 in assistance or 5% of the purchase price, whichever is less. Learn more about down payment assistance from MassHousing.
53 Affordable Housing Owners Pledge to Keep 57,000+ Tenants Safely Housed
MassHousing joined the Baker-Polito Administration, CHAPA and MACDC in announcing a five-point Eviction Diversion Pledge, through which affordable housing owners and operators commit to work with tenants facing financial hardships due to the pandemic. Fifty-three owners/operators, representing 57,654 homes in Massachusetts, have already signed the pledge.

MassHousing FY21 Lending is off to a Strong Start
Four months into the 2021 fiscal year, and MassHousing has already closed more than $705 million in financing to ensure that more than 3,100 Massachusetts residents have an affordable place to call home.

Multifamily lending is leading the way, having closed 17 transactions for nearly $377.8 million. The financing will support improvements and an extension of affordability restrictions at 13 existing rental communities with 1,656 units (1,578 of which are affordable), and the construction of four new communities with 291 units, all of which are affordable.

On the HomeOwnership side, MassHousing provided a total of $327.9 million in financing. This includes $321.9 million in first mortgage loans to help 1,166 Massachusetts households purchase or refinance a home in the Commonwealth; 425 down payment assistance loans for $5.2 million; and $646,013 in financing to help 30 homeowners remove lead paint, replace a septic system or improve their properties.

Stay tuned for additional lending updates as the 2021 fiscal year progresses. 
Board Approves an Additional $10.9 Million for Opportunity Fund to Support a Variety of Special Housing Initiatives
At its monthly meeting in October, the MassHousing Board voted to deposit an additional $10.9 million in fiscal year 2020 earnings into the Agency's Opportunity Fund.

The Opportunity Fund is used to support several MassHousing programs, including the Workforce Housing Initiative; the preservation of rental housing built under the 13A program; the CommonWealth Builder Program; and down payment assistance for first-time home buyers.

The Opportunity Fund allows MassHousing to deploy funds that are derived from non-traditional sources and to foster a level of housing affordability that would otherwise not be available.
22 New Homeownership Developments in Eight Cities are in the Queue for Funding from New CommonWealth Builder Program
MassHousing's newest initiative to stimulate the new construction of for-sale homes and condos for middle-income buyers in communities of color has a pipeline of 22 proposed developments with 660 units.

MassHousing expects to award grants from the fund soon to help finance developments in Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lowell and Springfield.

The CommonWealth Builder Program (CWB) is a $60 million initiative funded by the Commonwealth and administered by MassHousing. The current pipeline of development projects is $41.5 million.

The CWB provides subsidies of up to $150,000 per unit, and up to $5 million per single project. It supports the production of homes affordable to households earning between 70% and 120% of area median income (AMI).

New units should begin to come online in 2021.

Developers or municipal officials seeking more information, including program guidelines and MassHousing staff contacts, should click here.
MassHousing Recognized at National Level for Efforts to Confront Racial Homeownership Gap
MassHousing took home a pair of awards at the National Council of State Housing Agencies' (NCSHA) annual conference in October, for programs aimed at increasing homeownership among people of color in Massachusetts.

MassHousing won in the Homeownership: Encouraging New Production category for the CommonWealth Builder Program, which works to spur the construction of single-family homes and condominiums that are affordable to households with moderate incomes, particularly in communities of color (see related story above).

In addition, the Agency was honored in the Legislative Advocacy: State Advocacy category for the Racial Equity Advisory Council for Homeownership (REACH) initiatives to address the racial homeownership gap.

NCSHA is a nonprofit organization that supports the efforts of the nation's housing finance agencies, like MassHousing.
Recent Rental Transactions
Anne M. Lynch Homes at Old Colony, South Boston: Beacon Communities, in partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, will use $78.8 million in financing to demolish 135 older public housing units and construct 170 new homes for low-income families and senior citizens. This is the third phase of the ongoing redevelopment of Old Colony, which was built in 1940 and is one of the oldest federal public housing developments in the country. Read more...
Blue Mountain Apartments, Boston (Roxbury): $64.7 million in affordable housing financing will support the non-profit NHP Foundation's efforts to acquire, rehabilitate and preserve affordability at this historic, 217-unit development, which was originally built in the 1900s. Read more...
The Loop at Mattapan Station: A total of $36.5 million in financing from MassHousing will support Preservation of Affordable Housing's (POAH) efforts to construct a new, 135-unit, mixed-income community on an underutilized MBTA parking lot adjacent to the Mattapan trolley line station. The development will be constructed using the latest passive house energy efficiency standards. Read more...
Town Brook House, Quincy: MassHousing closed $29 million in affordable housing financing to the non-profit Wollaston Lutheran Housing, Inc., for the refinancing and extension of affordability for at least 20 years for lower-income senior citizens and residents with disabilities at the 151-unit Town Brook House in Quincy. The refinancing also provides the property's nonprofit owner with new capital to advance its affordable housing and social service work. Read more...
Mercantile Wharf, Boston (North End): MassHousing provided a $1.3 million grant to preserve affordability protections for 60 homes on the historic North End Waterfront. This is the culmination of a multi-year effort to preserve affordability at Mercantile Wharf, which was originally built under the state's 13A program, serves a number of very low income tenants, and was at risk of converting to market rents. Read more...
Flat 9 at Whittier
The ribbon was cut (virtually) at the award-winning Flat 9 at Whittier, Phase One of the redevelopment of the Whittier Street Apartments in Roxbury, and an online groundbreaking was held to commence work on Phase Two. MassHousing has provided a total of $49.3 million in financing to Madison Park Development Corp. and POAH for the multi-phase redevelopment of the Whittier Street Apartments in Roxbury, which will replace 200 existing public housing rental apartments with 210 deeply affordable units, and create 262 additional units of mixed-income rental housing.

3 Questions for Andrea Laing, MassHousing's Director of Diversity & Inclusion
Q: For those who may not know, can you remind readers what your team in Diversity & Inclusion strive to do to help diverse businesses?

Andrea Laing: We strive to provide strong professional relationships with all businesses and business partners that work with MassHousing. We create opportunities and an environment for various businesses to have time to network and get to know each other. Our goal is to help foster long lasting, positive business relationships that will bring capacity and economic growth all across the Commonwealth.

Q: During the pandemic, since you have not been able to hold many of your in-person trade fairs, workshops and networking events, how have you been working to help businesses?

AL: Like so many businesses and agencies, we have moved into the world of virtual technology. On any given day, we are on Zoom meetings promoting or participating in various workshops being held across the Commonwealth and providing in-depth technical assistance. Soon we will be offering a wonderful opportunity in collaboration with the State's Supplier Diversity Office, providing informational sessions and workshops on the certification program. We will expand this collaboration with private sector third party certifying agencies as well. We are highlighting many of the diverse businesses from different trades and professions that we work with on our website. On the site as well, we publish business opportunities within the rental development sector and we update that list frequently.

Q: What do you and your team hear most often from diverse businesses about what their greatest challenges are?

AL: Many MBEs/WBEs run into difficulties completing jobs, because of the rush to secure a job and begin working. MBEs/WBEs often fail to obtain a written contract or to review carefully the contract provisions or negotiate revisions to their benefit. Consequently, they may not understand contract terms related to tenant interaction, billing arrangements, payments and termination.

Other challenges include:
  • Getting educated on the expectations and requirements of the property management companies and general contractors
  • Being given ample time to respond to RFPs or bidding opportunities
  • Insurance 
  • Access to capital 
  • Limited networks 
  • Locating and hiring skilled employees 
  • A credibility gap when entering new relationships and taking on new opportunities
Diverse Business Profiles
Throughout November, which is National Veterans and Military Families Month, MassHousing is glad to highlight a few of the veteran-owned businesses whose work is essential to the success of Agency-financed multifamily developments across Massachusetts.

An SDO-certified veteran-owned and operated full-service environmental remediation company based in Auburn, Mass. and founded in 2014. Read more...

West Insurance Agency
An SDO-certified minority and veteran-owned and operated full-service insurance company located in Dorchester and founded in 1991. Read more...

OSD Engineering Consultants
A minority and veteran-owned business founded in 2012 that specializes in civil engineering consulting, emergency response and disaster mitigation planning, and safety training. Read more...
Homebuyer Success Story
Jennifer was about to turn 30 and her dream of homeownership was almost a reality. She was days away from closing on a condominium in Chelmsford, when an unexpected change threw the sale into limbo.

See how Jennifer's determination, along with the commitment of her homebuying team helped deliver an extra special birthday gift. Read more...