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Housing Programs Administered by the City of Lawrence Community Development Office

Each year the City Of Lawrence receives annual allocations of HOME and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While the CDBG funding is very flexible and can be used for a wide range of eligible programs and activities, including housing, the HOME funding is specifically targeted to creating and sustaining affordable housing for low and moderate income households. Generally, the City allocates the HOME funds and a portion of its Community Development Block Grant funds among 4 types of housing projects or programs: homebuyer assistance, housing rehabilitation, development or substantial redevelopment of housing (rental and homeownership), and CHDO developments. A CHDO is private, non profit, community-based service organization with the capacity to develop affordable housing. The City is required to set aside a minimum of 15 per cent of its annual HOME allocation for CHDO developments.

The City of Lawrence receives approximately $1,000,000 in HOME funding annually. Housing priorities are identified in the City’s Five Year Consolidated Plan, and allocations among various programs are identified in the City’s annual Action Plan submitted to HUD in the month of May, and available on the City’s web site. The public is invited to review the most recent Action Plan for the intended use of HOME funds for the current year. After reviewing the program descriptions below you may contact our office at 978-620-3510 for additional information.

Housing Development Using HOME Funds

The City makes available about $300,000 to $500,000 annually for projects in the development/substantial redevelopment category. A developer typically combines HOME funding with other public and private resources, including allocations of tax credits from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Rather than having a specific Request for Proposal process at a given time during the year, we consider projects on an ongoing basis. We suggest an interested potential developer/applicant contact us and make an appointment to discuss a project. The request should be accompanied by a brief description of the proposed project, the experience of the developer, and proposed sources and uses of funds. The developer will be invited to a meeting with staff from the Planning Department and Community Development Department to further discuss the proposal. A site visit will follow. If the proposal is consistent with the city’s priorities in the Consolidated Plan and other city plans, and the applicant demonstrates sufficient experience and resources to pursue the project, we will make decisions regarding commitment of funds, and request additional information needed to undertake a complete financial analysis. Typically, such additional information would be a copy of a Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) One-Stop application. If the developer is seeking assistance from DHCD we will stay in close consultation with that agency throughout the DHCD application review process.

Please contact James Barnes, Community Development Director (978-620-3511), to arrange an appointment to discuss HOME development funding.

Housing Programs for Homeowners and First Time Homebuyers

The City of Lawrence through its Community Development Department offers Lawrence homeowners and first time homebuyers various Housing Programs to help make housing safer and more livable by addressing code violations, and more affordable.

Rehabilitation/Deleading Program:
Low and moderate-income homeowners and investors/developers may be eligible for grants and/or loans offered by the City of Lawrence through its lead abatement and rehabilitation programs to rehabilitate properties located in the City. Our primary goal is to eliminate building and sanitary code violations and decrease the instances of lead poisoning in children by increasing the availability of affordable lead-safe housing. The program offers low interest loans, deferred payment loans and/or grants to eligible owners and investors.

For more information, please contact Elineth More at 978-620-3522.

First Time Homebuyer Assistance Program:
The City of Lawrence’s First Time Homebuyer Assistance Program is funded under the City’s annual allocation of HOME funds from HUD. The program provides financial assistance to low and moderate-income households in the purchase of their first home. Assistance is available to qualified Lawrence homebuyers in the form of a 0% deferred loan forgiven in five years for up to 3% of the home’s purchase price to assist with down payment and closing costs.

For more Information, please contact Ana Camargo at 978-620-3531.

Emergency Program for the Elderly and Disabled:
This Program is offered to low and moderate income elderly and disabled homeowners throughout the City of Lawrence who have deferred maintenance needs that have not been addressed because of limited income. If these problems are left unattended, the repair costs increase, and if it’s a multi family home the owner is at risk of losing tenants – which compounds the situation because these rents may be the only source of the elderly household’s income. This program allows elderly/disabled homeowners to maintain their homes.

For more information, please contact Elineth More at 978-620-3522.