The North Suburban Consortium's (NSC) 1995 Consolidated Plan constitutes a strategic vision for housing for the cities of Malden, Medford, Arlington, Chelsea, Everett Melrose, and Revere. This document summarizes the plan so that citizens in the communities can have a quick overview of the housing problems; the 5 year broad objectives and actions proposed to meet the goals; and specific projects for carrying out this strategy during 1995.
The Consolidated Plan includes a 1-year action plan spending $1,967,000 in HOME funds in 1995. Those funds will be spent on housing rehabilitation, building code compliance, deleading, and first-time homebuyers.
Malden, the Representative Member of NSC, after several meetings with members of the consortium, compiled and coordinated the Consolidated Plan for review and comment by the public.
Several public hearings were advertised and conducted in each community.
Two public hearings were advertised jurisdictionwide and held in Malden. The
first hearing held on March 30, 1995 solicited input from the public and
concerned local and state agencies. The second hearing held on April 27, 1995
sought public comment on the Draft Plan.
More than 50% of the housing stock within the jurisdiction was built prior to 1940. Because of the age of housing, rehabilitation and deleading of homes and apartments are primary concerns. According to 1990 U.S. Census figures, approximately 40% of the housing jurisdiction-wide is located in multi-family housing.
The downturn in the economy over the last four to five years has been a disincentive for landlords to properly maintain their multi-family buildings. In Chelsea, the Planning Department indicates a very high number of absentee owner apartment buildings. Most communities exhibit depressed housing stock within walking distance of their downtowns or neighborhood business squares. Because of a general decrease in the consortium's population, there is relatively little need for new housing development.
Census data comparisons between 1980 and 1990 indicate a 9% decrease in population, 282,316 to 258,036, but an overall increase in the number of dwelling units by 2%. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, there are 122,301 total year round units within the NSC jurisdiction. Of this number, 58,697 are rental units and 57,332 are owner occupied units. About 40% of the total jurisdiction housing stock is multi-family and 60% single family. The number of vacant units at the time of the census was 6,272.
Affordability of housing for those at or below 80% median family income ranges from high in Chelsea, average in Revere, Malden, Medford, and Everett to low in Arlington and Melrose. According to the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, the median single family home sales cost in Chelsea was $90,000 while in Malden and Medford this figure is $150,000 and in Arlington $200,000.
It would be extremely difficult for families at of below 80% median family income to purchase homes in Arlington, and Melrose while a heavy subsidy would be necessary for home purchase in Malden, Medford, and Everett. Home sales have been brisk in Chelsea, where a median sales price of a home is $90,000, and the city as well as non-profit housing organizations have been assisting residents with mortgage finance packaging.
Without heavy subsidies by the State or local non-profit housing organizations, the fact remains that home ownership is not possible for a majority of low-income residents except in Chelsea and possibly Revere.
While member communities, Melrose and Arlington, exhibit no homeless population, Chelsea, Revere, Medford and Malden indicate that up to 500 residents are in need of homes. In addition, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Mental Health surveys indicate between 25 and 35 homeless mentally ill within the jurisdiction; two-thirds of these are estimated to be both mentally ill and substance abusing. Another 350 mentally disabled residents could be living independently if affordable housing together with support services could be coordinated.
There are no emergency shelters located within the jurisdiction. A five-unit transitional home complete with support services operated by Tri-City Housing Task Force for Homeless Families, Inc., is located in Malden. In addition, Tri-City Housing Task Force has under its auspices 27 scattered site permanent supportive housing in Malden and Medford.
There are lengthy waiting lists for Section 8 certificates as well as appropriate housing authority units. There is clear need for additional resources.
At least 43% of all renters have indicated a housing problem and approximately 52% of these renters pay more than 30% of their monthly income toward rent According to HUD's definition of "affordability" (less than 30% of monthly income necessary for housing costs), a large percentage of the jurisdiction's residents pay rent that is considered "unaffordable" to them.
The jurisdiction currently has more than 11,000 of its housing units or 9% of its total housing stock available to low- and moderate-income households. A total of $26.5 million is needed by the local housing authorities of which $7.25 million is for hard costs. The communities of Malden, Medford, Arlington, Chelsea and Revere are participating in HUD approved Comprehensive Grant programs for the revitalization of federal public housing units. The cities of Everett and Melrose participate in state aided rehabilitation programs.
Families and individuals eligible for public housing are those at or below 200% of the poverty level. All consortium members have elderly and family public housing. The continuance of federal funding of Section 8 units currently under the auspices of the housing authorities will determine if some units are retained in the jurisdiction's inventory of assisted housing. Comprehensive grant and state rehabilitation program activities are expected to keep existing units up to code. Maintaining units at high standards prevents the loss of assisted affordable housing for the jurisdiction's residents who are less privileged.
A review of jurisdictionwide zoning ordinances, land use controls, building codes, fees and charges do not present barriers to maintain, improve or create affordable housing. In fact, the communities are committed to waiving or amending some conditions in order to entice development and increase their return on their investment in return for creation of affordable housing units.
While the North Suburban Consortium maintains a strong commitment to creating affordable housing for its residents, there are some impediments to the Consortium's ability to develop and maintain affordable housing.
The largest barrier to increasing housing opportunities within the jurisdiction is the lack of land available for new housing development. The six cities and one town that make up the North Suburban Consortium are older urbanized communities that are densely developed with little or no public land available for housing development. This translates into high cost for any available land. Despite the lack of available land for new development, there has been some expansion of the housing stock. Wherever appropriate and possible, communities have encouraged participation by developers with state and local agencies in order to leverage some affordable housing units within multi-family developments. While the increase in multi-family properties may be a viable response to the lack of land available for new development, home ownership and rents remain largely unaffordable to citizens at or below 80% MFI.
There is no data to indicate that any ethnic or racial group is disparately impacted by the barriers to affordable housing simply by virtue of race. However, the increasing population of minority groups may be somewhat disproportionately affected by the barriers to affordable housing in that the mean income levels of each major ethnic group (categorized by the Census) is less than the mean income for white households. Thus by income standards, minorities may have greater difficulty affording housing in the jurisdiction.
There are certain concentrations of minorities, specifically: Black homeowners in Census Tract 3393 in Medford, a Black concentration in the Sufolk Square area of Malden in Census Tract 3415, two pockets of Asian concentration in Malden - Chinese in Census Tract 3411, Block Groups 1 & 2 and Vietnamese in Census Tract 3415, Block Groups 2 & 6, and a 700 household concentration of Asians in the Shirley Ave area Revere. The City of Chelsea may be approaching a 50% minority population. Nearly 39% of the owner occupant tax exemptions in 1993 went to households with Hispanic surnames and 9% went to households with Asian surnames. In the homebuyer survey, 77% of the city's Downpayment Assistance Program (DAP) buyers and 47% of the non-DAP buyers were minority. In Medford, the ratio of Black home owners to Black renters is 9:1. According to the U.S. Census, this ratio of home owners to renters is higher than the ratio for any other group with the exception of whites and may indicate that the concentration does not signal adverse impact on Black household's ability to afford housing.
NSC will continue to work to the fullest extent possible to avoid concentrations of ethnic and racial minorities, low-income households and households with special needs.
More than 50 percent or the housing stock within the jurisdiction was built prior to 1940 while only 10 percent was built after 1978 when lead-based paint was outlawed. According to the 1990 census, 30,352 renter households and 1,266 owner occupied households are estimated to contain lead-based paint. Because of the age of the housing stock in New England and especially the jurisdiction, the existence of lead-based paint within jurisdiction dwelling units ranks as one of the highest in the country.
Upon consultation with state and local health officials as well as child
welfare agencies, it has been determined that hundreds of children over the last
two (2) years have had elevated blood levels between 0.1 and 0.25. Commonwealth
of Massachusetts public health statistics reveal that over the past two years
68, children have contracted lead poisoning through ingestion of lead-based
paint. It is the intent of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to reduce the
criteria for lead poisoning from the present 0.25 to 0.1. If this is
accomplished, the numbers of children in the jurisdiction considered lead
poisoned will increase ten fold.
General goals of the communities comprising the North Suburban Consortium (NSC) include:
These goals are guided by the availability of federal and state funding and principally benefit low to moderate income residents within the jurisdiction. In order to accomplish these goals, partnerships must be strengthened between government and the private sector. The task should include for-profit as well as non-profit organizations. Concessions must be negotiated and leveraged and in-kind contributions sought.
Priority No. 1 - Housing Rehabilitation/Lead-Based Paint Abatement
All members of the NSC expect to operate a housing rehabilitation and/or lead-based paint abatement program in their respective communities. It is expected that this activity will increase affordability and provide decent housing to low and moderate income homeowners and targeted very low and low income tenants. The programs promote affordability by:
- providing low cost home improvement loans and grants;
- arrest blight within thcommunity; andnd
- are important sources of funding in the battle against the hazards of lead-based paint.
Low income potential first time home buyers in the NSC jurisdiction can expect to receive help in the form of downpayment and/or closing cost assistance form funding sources such as the CDBG and HOME Programs. NSC has also allocated $400,000 annually towards subsidizing purchase of homes by citizens with income at or below 80% MFI. This subsidy comes in the form of a no monthly payment second mortgage of up to 15% of the purchase price.
Some members will continue to offer private bank-financed programs which include:
- below market financing,
- reduced closing costs,
- low downpayment options, and
- easy qualifying guidelines.
Housing Authorities jurisdiction-wide continue to apply for more Section 8 certificates and/or vouchers in an attempt to reduce swelling waiting lists of those residents whose monthly housing costs exceed 30% of their income. Additional rental assistance is anticipated by utilizing HOME Program funding for project-based rehabilitation.
NSC communities will continue to support the fine network of human services available jurisdiction-wide by allocating in most cases the maximum allowable amount of federal and state CDBG funds. In most cases, these services primarily benefit very low, low and other low-income residents.
The jurisdiction expects to dedicate CDBG and other state funding to revitalize low and moderate income neighborhoods by rebuilding streets and sidewalks, plant trees, rebuild neighborhood parks and remove architectural barriers.
The jurisdiction will assist and encourage its member communities as well as surrounding communities to create jobs for low-income residents, assist in the support of activities that invite existing companies to expand or attract new businesses to either start or relocate within the jurisdiction and promote the community downtowns as thriving inviting core of economic activity.
A goal of the Consortium is to decrease the number of poverty level families by pursuing the following priority actions.
All local planning and community development agencies coordinate planning activities within city/town government and with all city/town departments (public works, schools, fire, police, etc.) as they relate to the strategies to be carried out under the Consolidated Plan. The planning and budgeting of federal and state grants is accomplished in conjunction with the Citizen Participation Plan. The city/town planning and community development offices interact on behalf of the city with the housing authorities as well as the many public service agencies who serve the low/moderate income population with regard to Consolidated Plan related activities.
These same planning and community development offices represent their
communities at monthly meetings of the NSC for the propose of administering HOME
According to the needs-based formula distributing HOME funds to states, metropolitan cities, urban counties, and consortia, the North Suburban Consortium (NSC) has been allocated $1,967,000 of Fiscal Year 1995 HOME Funds. The following is an estimated use of HOME Program funds for each of the eligible activities.
- Owner Property
- Rental Property
Low-interest loans with payment schedules fixed to the owner's ability to pay will be made available within the jurisdiction for owner-occupied one-to-four family structures. The owner-occupant must be of lower income (80% of median income or below) status and meet all HOME Program requirements in order to qualify for assistance.
NSC is committed to providing loans to homeowners to correct code violations and conduct limited rehabilitation to their properties. A major part of this effort is deleading.
Low-interest loans will be made available for investor-owned properties containing one or more rental units which meet HOME Program rental project requirements.
Assistance will be made available to qualifying households acquiring residential property for the first time. To qualify, the household must be at or below 80% Median Family Income for the Boston PMSA and meet other program requirements.
Member communities (Chelsea, Malden, Medford, Everett, Arlington) identified non-profit housing organizations within the jurisdiction that meet all HUD CHDO requirements and continue to assist in developing affordable housing projects.
The NSC intends to use its funds in the following way:
The following organizations have been identified as CHDO eligible:
- Chelsea Restoration Corporation.
- Tri-City Community Action Inc.
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; in addition: a table provides information about the project(s).
MAP 6 depicts single neighborhood streets and proposed HUD funded projects, as described in the table under MAP 5.
MAP 7 depicts neighborhood streets and proposed HUD funded projects, as described in the table under MAP 5.