Amherst Affordable Housing Trust Fund

The Trust's mission, as an instrument of town government, is to promote the town's affordable housing priorities as determined through the most recent town housing plan, particularly to create safe, decent, and affordable housing for our most vulnerable populations. 


June 20, 2023 affordable housing listening session

The Town of Amherst’s Affordable Housing Trust, Human Rights Commission, the Board of Health, and The Community Safety and Social Justice Committee are holding a

Listening Session on Affordable Housing in Amherst
 Tuesday, June 20th 6:30 – 8:30pm
 Bang Community Center

70 Boltwood Walk 

For Translation and Childcare Services 

Please call 413-259-0360 by Friday, June 9th

Community Members are encouraged to complete an online form that asks three questions that will be discussed on June 20th.  All responses are anonymous.  

Click here for the form.


September 2, 2021 Forum by amherst neighbors

Please click on the following links to view and download:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

Current Initiatives

1) Initiating a combined RFP process for the development of affordable housing development at the East Street School and Belchertown Road properties.  

2) Developing a Town Housing Policy to set affordable housing as a common goal shared by the entire town government. 

3) Supporting a proposal for an Inclusionary Zoning Policy change that will allow more affordable units in future developments where a special permit is requested. 

4) Homelessness Prevention Program. The Housing Trust encouraged the development of this program. Family Outreach of Amherst successfully applied for CDBG funds to support it. 

Committee Member Year Appointed Term Expires
Paul Bockelman, Ex Officio    
Allegra Clark 2021 2024
Robert Crowner 2019 2025
Gastón de los Reyes 2023 2025
Ashley Gatongo 2023 2024
Aschleigh Jensen-Eldridge 2022 2024
Carol Lewis 2019 2025
Erica Piedade   2019 2025
Grover Wehman-Brown 2023 2024

Amherst Studio Apartments Project By Valley CDC at 132 Northampton Road

Dedicated Project Information Page | Subscribe To Receive Updates on this Project

Resources & Past Projects



The Amherst Affordable Housing Advocacy Coalition hosted a forum on Climate Change and Affordable Housing on May 25, 2021. 

Greater Springfield Regional Housing Report Discussion

Report Presentation by UMass Donahue Institute and Panel Discussion Facilitated by Keith Fairey, President and CEO of Way Finders, followed by Q&A on April 28, 2021. This discussion on the Greater Springfield Regional Housing Report included Mark Melnik and Carrie Bernstein from UMass Donahue Institute and panelists, Gerry McCafferty, Linda Dunlavy, and John Hornik shared their observations and insight into this important topic for the region.


The Amherst Affordable Housing Advocacy Coalition hosted a forum on Racial Equity and Housing on April 20, 2021. The speakers included:

  • Whitney Demetrius, CHAPA's Director of Fair Housing Engagement
  • Michele Miller and Matthew Andrews, Reparations for Amherst
  • Demetria Shabazz and Isolda Ortega, Racial Equity Task Force of Amherst
  • Keith Fairey, Way Finders
  • Jane Loechler, Valley Community Development
  • Kathleen Anderson, NCOBRA
  • Francine Rodriguez, Family Outreach of Amherst
  • John Hornik, Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust

The fundamental questions posed to the panel were 1) What is the history of housing discrimination in the US, Massachusetts, and Amherst? and 2) How can we move forward. The discussion included a history of fair housing in Massachusetts and the US, the exclusion of Black Persons from Amherst Housing show through both archival research and oral history, assuring access to affordable housing, beyond affordable housing: normalizing opportunities for access to Amherst housing for persons of color, and advocating for changes at the state level. 


The Amherst Affordable Housing Advocacy Coalition hosted "Creating A Path To Homeownership For Low-Income Households: An Interactive Forum" featuring Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity, Valley Community Development, Amherst Community Land Trust, and members of the public on March 30, 2021 at 6:30PM via Zoom. Attendees heard from organizations developing homeownership opportunities, the experience of homeowners, a discussion of the barriers to affordable homeownership and how to overcome them with effective advocacy. The event was co-sponsored by the Amherst League of Women Voters, the Town, the Trust, and the coalition. 



The draft overlay district, bylaw amendment, and design standards were revised in response to public feedback at the fourth community forum. From there, the 40R proposal was vetted by the Planning Board and the Community Resources Committee (CRC) of the Town Council. In response to their comments, the consultants presented a revised bylaw and design standards to the Planning Board. The 40R district was not adopted at this time. For the most up-to-date information and documents on the development of a smart growth district in Amherst go here.

A fourth community meeting was held on October 14, 2020.



The objective of the third meeting was to gather feedback on a Downtown 40R district and begin to develop design guidelines that preserve the character of the community. Community members asked questions and evaluated the location of the proposed 40R district, the design guidelines.


Presentations by Town Manager Paul Bockelman, Housing Trust Chair John Hornik, State Representative Mindy Domb, and State Senator Jo Comerford.

Orientation to the Role and Responsibilities of Municipal Affordable Housing Trusts

Presentation compiled by Chair John Hornik. In July 2019 several new members were appointed to the Trust. Chair John Hornik provided all members an orientation to the Trust, its functions, responsibilities, current, and past projects.

CHAPA Contract with Whitney Demetrius

Contract outlining the creation of a housing advocacy coalition through the Citizen's Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) municipal engagement initiative.  

The goal of the Municipal Engagement Initiative is to help communities build support for affordable housing production. CHAPA will provide technical assistance to the Trust toward the following collaborative goals:

  • Create a broad-based Housing Coalition in Amherst. 
  • Present to and build support for the Trust Housing Policy from the following Town entities: Town Council, Planning Board, Community Preservation Act Committee, Planning Department, and other relevant Town Boards and Committees. 
  • Build support for the Trust Housing Policy amongst other civic, non-profit, and educational organizations in Amherst. 
  • Develop strategies identified by the Trust and the newly formed Housing Coalition to advance specific proposals that will lead to housing development. This may include zoning changes or using municipally owned property for housing development. Additional goals, as mutually agreed upon by the Trust and CHAPA.  


At the second meeting on June 4, 2019, consultants Karan Sunnarborg and David Eisen identified three possible sites for 40R districts in the Town of Amherst. Community members evaluated each location with site selection criteria. Community members also identified other sites to explore.

40R Smart Growth First Community Forum

Representatives from MassHousing, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, and Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) attended the first community meeting on April 4, 2019 to provide information and answer questions on such issues as what is Chapter 40R smart growth zoning, how has this zoning tool been used in other comparable communities, and how could it potentially benefit Amherst.

Kuhn Riddle Final Report on East Street School Site
Site Study, Conceptual Designs, and Cost Analysis by Kuhn Riddle Architects for the East Street School project. Summary report of November 1, 2018 Housing Forum included.


MassHousing Contract with Karen Sunnarborg for Development of 40R Smart Growth Overlay District
In 2019, The Town of Amherst received a Planning for Housing Production grant from MassHousing for and contracted consultant Karen Sunnarborg and Abacus Architects + Planners to analyze new zoning and affordable housing development opportunities to better promote a greater diversity of housing choices under smart growth principles through the creation of a 40R overlay district.

MassHousing Planning for Housing Production (HPP) Application
A grant application to MassHousing to support Trust initiatives such as feasibility analysis for parcels that could be acquired by the Trust, a public education and discussion forum, and to bring on a 40R consultant to work with the Town. 

Fall Housing Forum Presentation 

Presentation prepared for the November 1, 2018, Housing Forum by Dave Ziomek, John Hornik, Rita Farrel. Community members gathered to hear about the Trusts and specifically the East Street School project and participated in a brainstorming session facilitated by Trust and League of Women Voters (LWV).


Housing Trust Strategic Plan FY18-22 
Produced with the assistance of consultant Jennifer Goldson this plan outlines 5-year goals for the Trust to pursue including: to foster the development of affordable housing, support homelessness prevention initiatives, and to expand the availability of direct housing assistance.

Working the Amherst Housing Puzzle: A Community Problem Solving Forum 
About 60 people attended this forum to discuss the challenges faced by the Town in trying to increase its stock and diversity of affordable housing.


Comprehensive Housing Market Study 

This study had 3 overarching goals:

  • To identify populations excluded from Amherst because of housing affordability
  • To understand the impacts on the housing market from student housing needs
  • To review existing land-use regulations that hinder the development of market-rate housing
UMass/Town of Amherst Housing and Economic Development Plan 
The Town-Gown Steering Committee engaged consultants to prepare a housing and economic development plan. The scope of the work was to recommend interventions for UMass and Amherst to pursue in order to create a stable balance in housing and economic growth, allowing both the University and Town to prosper.

Amherst Housing Production Plan (HPP) 
The HPP is a study which examines the specific impacts of demographic changes, particularly shifts in student population, relative to the dynamics of the housing market conditions in order to determine the current and future housing needs of the community.


Chapter 4 (Housing and Demographics) of the Town’s Master Plan 

Prepared by the Town, this Master Plan provides a blueprint for the future, guiding the community's long-term development. The Housing Plan offers an overarching goal to increase access to housing that is affordable to and meets the physical needs of the broadest spectrum of the community, and minimizes environmental impact.


Craig's Doors

Craig’s Doors – A Home Association, Inc. was founded in the summer of 2011 to assist those who do not have a home, with a primary mission of developing affordable housing. Our goal is to create and develop a model of supportive single room occupancy housing for those in our community who are the most vulnerable. In the fall of 2011, Craig’s Doors took over the running of the Amherst Emergency Shelter and renamed it Craig’s Place.

MassHousing Partnership

Housing Toolbox Strategies and best practices for the creation and preservation of affordable housing, with guides, tools, and resources for local boards & committees, planners, municipal staff, developers, and volunteers.

ONE Mortgage - If you are a first-time homebuyer, the ONE Mortgage Program is for you. ONE Mortgage offers you the comfort of knowing your mortgage is financially sustainable.

Glossary of Affordable Housing Terms

CHAPA - Citizen's Housing and Planning Association

Chapter 40B Resources - Chapter 40B, also known as the Comprehensive Permit Law, was enacted in 1969 to help expand the number of communities and neighborhoods where households with low and moderate incomes could secure a safe and affordable home. 

Accessible Housing Registry -The MassAccess Housing Registry helps people to find affordable rental and homeownership opportunities in Massachusetts. A key feature of the Registry is to highlight homes for people with disabilities who need accessible or barrier-free housing.

DHCD - MA Department of Housing and Community Development

A Guide to Obtaining Housing Assistance - This reference guide is for Massachusetts residents seeking information on housing for low and moderate-income families and individuals. 


Mortgage Calculator - By providing financial information, you can calculate how much you can afford to spend on a home. Keep in mind that many additional factors play a part in the loan qualification process. We recommend that you use the worksheets provided to assess your financial situation prior to using the affordability calculator.

First Time Homebuyer Guide - The homebuying process might seem complicated or unmanageable. But knowing all the key parts to buying a home will help you plan for challenges and avoid mistake This step-by-step guide will help you navigate the winding path towards homeownership.  

Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity

Big Enough: Pioneering the Small Home Revolution

Valley Community Development

Home Ownership Services


Housing Resource Center

Community Action Pioneer Valley

Look4Help Public Resource Directory was created in response to a community need for a centralized online tool to facilitate communication of available resources, service information, referrals, and a coordination of services.

The Look4Help website provides a free on-line searchable listing of supportive local resources, and includes detailed, up-to-date information about organizations and their programs. Look4Help lists the services of non-profit organizations, government agencies, health and human services, medical and mental health providers, and others.