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State Dollars Help Central Berkshire Habitat For Humanity Build In Pittsfield

During a tour of Western Massachusetts last week, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito touted the work of the Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity. The group is receiving state funding for an affordable housing project.

The Gordon-Deming Infrastructure Project and Housing Development is a 6-unit affordable condominium project spearheaded by the Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity. The project was awarded a $425,000 MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer says securing funds has everything to do with strong grant application writing.

“This grant application, there were 96 applicants – 96. And our city and our friends at Habitat win,” Tyer says.

The funds are critical for the city’s construction of an access road, and infrastructure the nonprofit needs for the housing development. Tyer championed the work of her community development team.

“This is another fine example of how the city, the state, and our non-profit partners work together to bring good things to the people of Pittsfield,” Tyer says.

Berkshire Gas donated the land on Deming Street to Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity in 2009.

The condominium project, which has attracted $780,000 in private investment, will be divided into three phases with one building per phase. The net-zero energy condos will be three- and four-bedrooms.

Construction will start in April 2018. Executive Director Carolyn Valli says Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity will select eligible families through an application process to participate in the home construction.

“We could have just said ‘OK we are going to throw up a few houses there and call it a day,’ but we brought in community people that will be purchasing these homes to say ‘What do think about the design,’” Valli says. “Everybody learns how to be a leader in there, and they’ll all learn how to have roles in a condo association.”

The project is expected to be completed in 18 months.

In August 2016, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker reauthorized MassWorks and promised $500 million of future investment in critical infrastructure. The administration plans to award 47 grants totaling nearly $85 million this year for housing and economic development projects.

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito says the selection process is made easier because more municipalities are choosing to partner with the state through its Community Compact Program.

“When the state is deciding how to divide up the taxpayer dollars and distribute them across this commonwealth, we want to be able to distribute dollars and invest in communities that are ready to take those dollars and do transformational things with them. If we were to invest in communities that did not have a strong leadership team, or did not have a vision, or didn’t have a plan, then those dollars might not achieve the overall goal that’s intended in that community,” Polito says.

Polito also visited neighboring Dalton Thursday, which became the 314th municipality to join the compact program.

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