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July 1, 2024

Worcester foundation teams with not-for-profit to launch $1M affordable housing fund

A two story white house Photo | Courtesy of Maple and Main Creative An effort to turn 7-69 Petersham Road into three rental units has received approximately $351,000 in credit from a new affordable housing initiative launched by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and Worcester Community Housing Resources.

Two prominent Worcester organizations have joined forces to launch a $1-million low-interest line-of-credit fund to support affordable housing initiatives in Worcester County.

Greater Worcester Community Foundation and Worcester Community Housing Resources have launched the initiative, with an affordable rental housing project in Hardwick being the first to receive funds, according to a press release issued by the organizations on Monday. This move is part of a new attempt by GWCF to focus on boosting affordable housing opportunities.

“Affordable housing is a big challenge in Worcester County,” Pete Dunn, president and CEO of Greater Worcester Community Foundation, said in the press release. "It requires creative solutions that go well beyond traditional foundation grantmaking. By providing WCHR with a low-interest line of credit, we can offer more resources and have a greater impact.”

The first use of the funds will be used to support the redevelopment of 67-69 Petersham Road in Hardwick into three rental units. The five-bedroom building was built in 1880 and purchased by Eagle Hill Foundation of East Brookfield in June 2022, according to Town of Hardwick property records.

The project will receive approximately $351,000 of the credit line, according to the press release. Construction is expected to be completed by September.

“Worcester Community Housing Resources has a proven track record of revitalizing previously blighted or rundown properties into affordable housing that serves the surrounding community,” Jennifer Schanck-Bolwell, executive director of WCHR, said in the press release. “When organizations like Greater Worcester Community Foundation partner with WCHR, we are able to take action and address critical housing needs efficiently and effectively.”
The organizations noted 29% of housing units in Hardwick are housing cost burdened, meaning that the residents spend more than 30% of their income on rental or ownership costs, according to data available on Worcester County insights, a data platform managed by GWCF and the Worcester Regional Research Bureau

Eric Casey is a staff writer at Worcester Business Journal, who primarily covers the manufacturing and real estate industries. 

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