The Amherst area is, like most of the country, affected by the high cost of housing. There are people working to make more affordable housing available, and they need public support.
First up is a proposal to put affordable housing at the site of the East Street School in Amherst. This project has been in the works for years. The Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust has prepared a Request for Proposals (RFP) in order to select a developer to move forward with this project. The RFP is ready for review and approval by the Town Council. We need to encourage the Council to put this on their (very full!) agenda soon so it can move forward. This project was approved, in concept, by Town Meeting, and was endorsed by the candidates for the Town Council during the elections.
Please contact your Council members to urge them to support putting this on their agenda soon, and then voting to support the RFP so the project can move forward.
Some background information: While the details of what eventually actually gets built will depend on what the selected developer discovers is possible, the list of unit sizes in the RFP includes
- Mix of bedroom sizes from 1 - 3 bedrooms
- Minimum of 15 affordable units
- Minimum of 10% of the affordable units must be 3 bedrooms
- Minimum of 50% of affordable units must be 2 or more bedrooms
Another proposal that will need our support soon is the Valley Community Development Corporation's plan for apartments, most of which will be studio-sized SRO (single room occupancy) units for the lowest-income people, on land on Northampton Road, near the Amherst College playing fields. This project will need funds from the CPA (Community Preservation Act) and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).