Short Takes from the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust

At its May meeting, the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust reopened its Small Grant Application program and discussed the Carlisle Road residential development proposed by Brian DeVellis and his team.

Small Grant Applications Now Open for Home Improvements

At their May 2 meeting, members of the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust (MAHT or The Trust) voted to reopen their Small Grants Program which makes small awards—up to $4000—to eligible renters and homeowners for improvements that are necessary for the health and safety of the household.

A new grant cycle is now open, with August 15, 2022, as the deadline for applications for awards that will be announced in October.  Liz Rust, Regional Housing Services Office (RHSO), who oversees the process, said the August deadline will give applicants several months’ time to secure the necessary estimates from two professional contractors for the proposed home improvement work.  Trust members agreed that the shortage of contractors can make it time-consuming and difficult for homeowners to get these estimates.

The idea behind the grants is to correct serious substandard conditions that affect health and safety in the home.  Some examples are plumbing or electrical work, light carpentry, doorbell switch, window repairs, broken gutters or downspouts, door repairs or replacements, step or porch repairs, lock repair or replacement, smoke/CO2 detectors, and bathroom grab bars.

A flyer describing the program is now online and interested residents can review the details here
https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6866/f/uploads/small_grant_flyer_update_2022.pdf.

To download the application, please click here: https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6866/f/uploads/small_grant_application_2022_spring_5.2.22.pdf

MAHT Reaches out to the DeVellis Development Team

The purpose of the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust (MAHT)  is to work toward the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Bedford for the benefit of low and moderate-income householders. To that end, members of the Trust follow housing proposals in town with great interest. At their Monday night meeting, Trust members devoted much of their time to consideration of the Brian DeVellis plan to place some 153 housing units on Carlisle Road. Chair Christina Wilgren, a long-time proponent of affordable housing, said she hopes to see opportunities for affordable homeownership in the proposal.  Member Alice Sun advocated for affordable rental units, given the shortage of rental housing in town today that is effectively driving up apartment rents.

Town Manager Sarah Stanton, a voting member of the Trust, affirmed that it is “very early in the process” and there is still time for the Trust to weigh in on the DeVellis project before decisions are set in stone. A motion was made to send a letter to DeVellis and his development team stating that “the MAHT would like the group “to look comprehensively at affordable opportunities for both rental and homeownership” and come to the MAHT to have a conversation around future plans. The letter will be signed by Stanton, Housing and Economic Development Director Jeff King,  and MAHT chair Wilgren.  The motion passed unanimously.

An Opportunity to Participate in MAHT

The Trust currently has a vacancy for an at-large member. Residents with an interest in affordable housing issues are urged to volunteer for a seat on the board.  Voting members are Town Manager Stanton, Select Board members Shawn Hanegan and Ed Pierce, Christina Wilgren and Alice Sun (who are also members of the Bedford Housing Partnership), and Kylie Butler.  Meetings take place monthly and usually last about an hour.  For more information about becoming a member, contact the Volunteer Coordinating Committee, 781-275-1111.


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