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March 21, 2024

Worcester Housing Authority says state funding needed to complete apartments renovations

A brick public housing building Image | Courtesy of Google Maps The Lakeside Apartments, built in 1949, represent the oldest housing stock under the control of the Worcester Housing Authority.

The Worcester Housing Authority is urging the state to draw up funding for the redevelopment of two apartment projects in the city, warning that they may face delays if the funding isn’t secured. 

The two projects under works, the redevelopment of the Curtis Apartments on Great Brook Valley Avenue and the Lakeside Apartments on Lakeside Avenue, are dependent on state funding yet to be secured, according to a Wednesday press release issued by the WHA.

[Related: The Worcester Housing Authority’s next chapter: How a housing crisis awoke a sleeping giant]

WHA said the waiting time for public housing and Section 8 vouchers can be anywhere from three to 10 years, highlighting the need for more units.

“Worcester is dealing with an affordable housing crisis, and these two vital projects provide an opportunity to help ameliorate this untenable situation,” Alex Corrales, CEO of the WHA, said in the release. “Being the largest landlord in Worcester and having the opportunity to not only redevelop these existing properties but add affordable housing units at a time when they are critically needed, I truly believe the city is positioned perfectly for funding these projects.”

Renovations of the Curtis Apartments, built in 1950, would replace the 372 existing units with 527 modern apartments, including 50 wheelchair accessible units. The first phase of this renovation is already underway, and will see the demolition of 90 units that will be replaced with 129 units when construction is completed. A second phase of the renovations has already received planning and zoning board approvals but is in need of state funding in order to be completed.

State funding is needed for the Lakeside Apartment renovations, according to WHA. Built in 1949, the Lakeside Apartments are the oldest property operated by the WHA. This renovation would see the existing 202 units replaced with 350 units, including 30 wheelchair accessible apartments and 20 units to be sold as an attempt to provide affordable home ownership opportunities. Relocation of residents is expected to begin in June, with demolition beginning in the first quarter of 2025, assuming funding is secured.

“These projects are a vital piece of helping to meet the need of affordable housing,” Corrales said. “In Worcester and throughout Massachusetts, we know we have an aging housing stock and I commend the Healey Administration, along with the EOHLC and Secretary Edward Augustus, for the attention they are giving to this urgent matter.”

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