Preservation of Deteriorating Affordable Housing Stock
Location: Multiple Locations Throughout Falmouth
Applicant: Falmouth Housing Authority
Year/Article: April 2015, A34
In the spring of 2015, Town Meeting appropriated $168,280 from the CPFund to the Falmouth Housing Authority (FHA) for the preservation of affordable FHA owned family homes identified as at highest risk from deterioration. Under the state’s High Leverage Asset Preservation Program (HILAPP), these funds would leverage $1.00 for each $0.30 of local funds to be expended on the preservation of properties with a Facility Condition Index (FCI) of 15 percent or higher.
The FHA owns twenty-five single-family homes originally purchased with State funds. Massachusetts is one of only four states that have state-funded public housing. Funding for ongoing capital needs of these state properties has fallen woefully short for decades. As a result, many of these homes are in various stages of disrepair, some at risk of being uninhabitable due to failed septic systems, leaky roofs, and other problems. One has been vacant for over two years because of its condition. The CPFund grant bridged the gap between state and local funding available for preservation of these homes and allowed the FHA to allocate some of the State funding for other capital needs in the homes, including rehabilitation of kitchens and baths.
Preservation work includes repairing or rehabilitating the roof or septic system, or both, at houses with the most significant need, and will bring the vacant house back online as an affordable rental. Work is scheduled to begin in 2016.
Falmouth faces significant economic and demographic challenges, including retaining young families and providing affordable family and workforce housing. Many are rent burdened, homeless, or at risk of homelessness. The FHA has owned, managed and subsidized affordable homes for over sixty years. All of those assisted as tenants in FHA-managed homes are earning income at 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) or less ($65,500 for a family of four). Many earn incomes substantially lower than the AMI. Their rent is no more than 27 percent of their income, making the homes affordable. All assisted are Falmouth residents.
FHA was founded in 1948. It has a staff of 19 and over 900 units among its properties, vouchers, and managed units. Staff provide necessary supervision and client support for its programs.