Housing Trust Past Work

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2021

SEPTEMBER FORUM BY AMHERST NEIGHBORS

Please click on the following links to view and download:

MAY FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE & AFFORDABLE HOUSING

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.

FORUM ON RACIAL EQUITY AND HOUSING

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. 

FORUM ON CREATING A PATH TO HOMEOWNERSHIP FOR LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS

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. 

2020

DEVELOPMENT OF A 40R SMART GROWTH OVERLAY DISTRICT

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.

40R SMART GROWTH FOURTH COMMUNITY FORUM
A fourth community meeting was held on October 14, 2020.

2019

40R SMART GROWTH THIRD COMMUNITY FORUM

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.

FALL HOUSING FORUM

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.  

40R SMART GROWTH SECOND COMMUNITY FORUM

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.

2018

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).

2017

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.

2015

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
2014
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.

2013
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.

2010

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.