The Town of Arlington's 1995 Consolidated Plan constitutes a strategic vision for housing and community development for the Town. This document summarizes the plan so that citizens in the community can have a quick overview of the housing and community development problems; the 5 year broad objectives and actions proposed to meet those goals; and specific projects for carrying out this strategy during 1995.
The Consolidated Plan includes a 1-year action plan for spending approximately $1,569,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, and $165,544 available reprogrammed funds, on 5 categories of projects in 1995. Those funds will be spent on Housing Rehabilitation, Public Service, Public Works, Planning, and Administration.
Arlington, MA. a member of the North Suburban Consortium, scheduled two public hearings this year, March 13, 1995 and March 27, 1995 for input specifically dedicated to Arlington's Community Development Block Grant. The hearings were advertised in [the only local newspaper of general circulation two weeks] before the public hearing dates. The purpose of the first hearing is to explain the planning cycle and HUD requirements, present information on program performance, present a draft Citizen Participation Plan, present information on eligibility and funding criteria, and offer technical assistance. Comments on these matters will also be accepted. The further purpose of this meeting is to receive testimony on housing and community development needs in the Town.
The purpose of the second hearing on March 27, 1995 [was] to
present a draft Consolidated Plan. Proposals for funds were also received.
After expiration of the comment period, comments received along with new funding
requests eligible for assistance, were incorporated into the final copy of the
Arlington is a town with a population of approximately 44,000 residents and with a 6% minority population which has doubled in the past ten years. The Boston Metropolitan region has seen little change in population over the past twenty years. Arlington is a town that is close enough to Boston, by car, by bicycle, and by public transportation, to be considered a commuting suburb. Since it is so close to Boston, it has been largely developed over the course of the last century. There is no significant undeveloped land in the town that would be available to housing development.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) report, prepared for the Department in the Fall of 1994, projects that the population for Arlington in the year 2000 will be 39,596, down from 44,630 in 1990. This is a 5,034 person decrease in population. The percentage change is an eleven percent decrease.
The median household income in Arlington is $ 43,309. By the year 2005, the
average household size is expected to be 2.57. Approximately 40% of the housing
stock is rental.
The population of Arlington is not expected to grow significantly in the next five (5) years. The population is presumed to be stable. This analysis assumes that the proportion of the population that appears in each category remains the same, regardless of the inflow and outmigration of individuals across the town boundaries.
The following is an assessment of housing needs for those residing in, and expected to reside in the Town of Arlington:
The highest need categories effects 2559 households. These consist of elderly renters and undifferentiated homeowners.
Arlington reflects, in general, the market conditions of the greater metropolitan Boston area, where housing costs are significantly higher than the national average. Turnover of housing, for both renter and owner, is higher in Arlington than for the surrounding towns. The average size of a dwelling unit, as well as the size of the family or persons occupying it, as well as the size of the lot on which it is situated, is smaller than for the nearby suburban towns.
Arlington has a healthy real estate market. Information from a Housing Corporation of Arlington report, which was entered into the public record at the public needs hearing held at the Board of Selectmen's meeting during the preparation of the Consolidated Plan, confirms this understanding. In Calendar year 1994 average MLS sales prices were as follows:
Most homes in Arlington do not stay on the market very long, as there is a high demand and limited supply. The same is true for rental units. Due to its community character, location in the metropolitan area (proximate to both Boston and to Route 128 and 93), availability of transportation, availability of services, relative affordability (compared to surrounding towns), as well as mix of housing stock - singe family, two family, multi- family, condominium, for renters and homeowners, Arlington is a desirable community in which to live.
The homeless problem in Arlington is statistically insignificant. The only instances of "homeless" people that the police department is aware, are persons who do have a home, but choose not to spend a lot of time there. In terms of temporary homelessness that is caused by family problems such as abuse and violence, the police and social service agency personnel report that most victims choose to stay with family members and/or friends, either within the town or out of the town. There are no emergency shelters in town.
Currently there are more than 1,200 units of subsidized housing in use in the town. The Arlington Housing Authority uses funds from the state and federal governments. No town funds are used.
As reported in last year's CHAS (North Suburban Consortium), there are no public policies that adversely affect access to affordable housing.
The Town of Arlington sponsors a Fair Housing Office, as well as the report "Impediments to Fair Housing in Arlington."
Arlington is a substantially built-out town. There are 19,000 dwelling units in the Town. Approximately 400 or only two percent of housing units have been built since 1978, when strict Lead Paint laws went into effect in Massachusetts. Most of the housing units built before this time will have lead paint present, as is common in New England. If we assume that 85% of the 19,000 housing units have lead paint, and 5,000 of the units host a child or children under six years of age, (approximately 2,500 children under six reside in the town) then approximately 4,000 of these units could have lead paint present. The figure given accounts for any public housing units that have undergone lead paint removal.
Statistics from the local Board of Health reveal, that since 1989, 55 dwelling units have had lead paint removed. Almost one third of these removals have taken place in East Arlington, which contains the 12 neighborhoods that have the lowest income persons in the town.
According to a report published by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there were no lead paint poisoning instances of children under six in the study year of 1993. The report entitled "Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program Summary Statistics, Fiscal Year 1994" gives information according to the Community Health Network area, which encompasses multiple communities. Statistics are broken down for individual communities, and a needs assessment made.
While there were children at risk, according to risk factors such as the age
of the housing stock, number of cases reported between 1990 and 1994, and
percent of low- and moderate income residents - no cases were reported. In a
map of the state presented as a part of the study, Arlington is rated as low
risk. However, a great proportion of the homes in Arlington are thought to have
lead-based paint present.
The reasons for the choices made in priority projects are common-sense reasons of what will work, what has worked in the past, and what is needed. The needs assessment was made through our own discovery process, which included an internal assessment with housing and social service agencies as well as the needs discovery, which was part of the public hearing process. New programs will be tried as they evolve and meet town and town government scrutiny and they will evolve with town staff assistance. The obstacles to addressing underserved needs are, first and foremost, a lack of money and resources to address them, as well as the mechanisms to do so.
In Arlington, in the 1989-90, according to the U.S. Census, there were 2,057 persons in poverty, or 4.6%of the total population. Approximately 1/3 or these were children. Approximately 1/6 were older people over the age of 75. Three hundred and seventy nine families, or 3.33% of families living in Arlington, were in poverty.
We cannot predict, with any accuracy, how many people will pass the poverty line as a result of these programs. We do know, however, that each program we run helps families and individuals who are in need.
The town offers a variety of services, in a kind of service continuum, in so far as funds are available to do this. Arlington offers more human services than many other towns its size, even compared to other communities in eastern Massachusetts. The Town contains a Human Service department (not to be confused with the usual human resource, or personnel, department), and offers counselling to youth. It has a Fair Housing Office as well as an Affirmative Action Committee and a Human Rights Committee, as well as a Commission on Disabilities. These programs go beyond what many town's offer. Much of this activity is sustained wit volunteers, but there is a basis of paid town staff to assure continuity. The philosophy behind this is that people have a variety of needs in their life; government provides basic services for people at their various stages of life. Arlington goes beyond this in attending to the needs of its citizenry.
Aside from funds used by the Public Housing Authority, the Housing Corporation of Arlington, and the North Suburban Consortium, the only funds the town receives for housing needs are Block Grant Funds.
The Town will make every effort to effectively coordinate the Consolidated
Plan. The Town will use its current resources and Town Manager-Board of
Selectmen-Town Meeting form of government to implement these efforts. The lead
department is the Department of Planning and Community Development. Resources
include: funding sources, departments, agencies, people, and organizations. The
town government is of a small enough size so that close communication among the
various departments, Boards, and Committees,is possible. The town government's
culture is that regular communication and efforts to improve service is
encouraged and ongoing. For example, the Town is participating in the
management concept of Continuous Quality Improvement, or CQI, which was
formerly known as TQM, or Total Quality Improvement.
The 1-year action plan outlines the proposed uses of the Approximately $1,569,000 1995 CDBG allocation and the $165,544 reprogrammed funds. The 1-year action plan lists the activities the town will undertake to address priority needs and local objectives within the field of housing and community development. The town will use both anticipated program grant funds ($ 1,569,000)as well as reprogrammed funds ($ 165,544).
Some Key Projects Are:
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).