In 1983, Berkshire Housing began providing community development consulting services to small towns in Berkshire County and over the years has secured more than $18 million in grants from the Small Cities and USDA Rural Development programs. It has administered these programs for the towns and served as project manager for the many community development activities they funded. These activities have included the revitalization of town centers in Lee, Sheffield and Otis with new sidewalks, curbs, and lighting, the construction of new sewer systems in Otis and in a trailer park in Lanesborough, the installation new water lines and roads, ADA handicapped accessibility improvements in town halls and schools and the operation of housing rehabilitation programs through which more than 1100 housing units in 26 towns have been upgraded.
Current Community Development Projects:
Town of Becket Housing Rehabilitation Program - Berkshire Housing is administering a CDBG and Town funded program to assist private income eligible homeowners with needed repairs to their homes. The program provides funding and technical assistance to the homeowners. Repairs include correction of building code violations, energy efficiency improvements and upgrades to wells and septic systems. Applications are no longer being accepted but contractors interested in bidding on projects should contact Berkshire Housing 413-499-1630 , extension 100.
Affordable Housing Development
Berkshire Housing has developed 17 rental apartment complexes including the conversion of three former school buildings, two hotels, a former nursing home and a YMCA building. The projects have been designed to meet the needs of a broad range of residents and have involved a variety of federal, state and private financing. Utilizing the HUD 202 program Berkshire Housing has constructed 5 low-income elderly projects. The Redfield House, a supportive housing project for young mothers and Keenan House, a treatment facility and apartments for a local substance abuse agency were funded with state, federal and private funding. Others include the creation of 44 studio apartments on the upper floors of the Pittsfield YMCA for low-income single adults and the development of 70 congregate beds and studio apartments for homeless veterans. The organization has also developed the Pines, a 41 unit condominium where one-third of the units were reserved for first time homebuyers, a subdivision of single-family homes and the purchase of 30 HUD-foreclosed properties that were renovated and sold to first-time homebuyers. Its largest project was the co-development of Kimball Farms, a 150-unit life care retirement community in Lenox.
Current Affordable Housing Projects
Brattlebrook Village - Pittsfield
Berkshire Housing is partnering with Rees-Larkin Development of Boston to purchase and rehabilitate Dalton Apartments a 40 year old 100 unit rental community located on the eastern edge of Pittsfield. In March a funding proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development(DHCD) for low-income housing tax credits and state subordinate loan funds. A preliminary commitment for tax exempt bond construction and permanent financing has been obtained from the Mass Housing Partnership and Mass Development. The total development cost is $12.5 million. We plan to purchase and begin managing the property in April 2014 and start renovations later in the year.
Highland Woods, Williamstown
In July 2013 BHDC and the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development entered into an option on a four acre parcel of land owned by Williams College. The College is donating the land for the purposes of developing affordable rental housing that will be available to residents displaced Tropical Storm Irene as well as others in the northern Berkshires. One hundred and sixty mobile homes were destroyed by Irene which displaced close to 300 people. Berkshire Housing is partnering with WIHED to develop 40 units on the site which is adjacent to Proprietors Field, a 60 unit senior housing community that we developed and manage. This project enjoys widespread support from the Town, local residents, DHCD and Williams College. Anticipated funding sources for this $12.2 million project include low income housing tax credits, state housing grants or deferred loans, HOME, local Community Preservation funds and FEMA. An application to DHCD for tax credits and state subordinate loan funds was submitted in March and we hope to begin construction the summer of 2014.
Former Dalton High School
The Town of Dalton recently selected BHDC as its development consultant to pursue constructing 30-45 units of family housing in this town owned former school. The building is ideally located in the center of a downtown neighborhood, is close to a park, shopping, churches and other community resources. The main funding sources for this project are anticipated to be Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits and state housing grants or deferred loans.
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
- Public facility / infrastructure projects
- Design / Engineering projects