On Monday, July 18, Mayor Linda Tyer announced an allocation of $8.6 million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)) funding for a slate of housing initiatives to address housing insecurity and homelessness during a press conference in Council Chambers at City Hall.

“Today’s announcement marks a game-changing investment toward comprehensive housing initiatives to serve the need of our most vulnerable neighbors. We know that the issues of housing insecurity and homelessness are multifaceted, complex, and affect communities across the country,” said Mayor Tyer. “This funding reflects the city of Pittsfield’s deep commitment to supporting a multiprong and collaborative approach that will help to meet the needs of community members who are impacted by these life-altering situations.”

Community Development Director Justine Dodds noted the longstanding and collaborative efforts that has supported this work.

“It has been over a decade since the city has seen any significant investment in affordable housing creation. The American Rescue Plan funds provide a unique opportunity for the city to make critical and much needed investments in our housing infrastructure. The funds are being deployed in a strategic manner in order to reach a broad spectrum of Pittsfield residents and address their housing needs,” said Dodds.

Over the past year, the city has engaged with our community partners to identify gaps in services and how those gaps can be best addressed. This initiative is a direct response to the work that has been done by these collaborations. The funds will be used for not only the creation and rehabilitation of additional units but also the supportive services to help stabilize households. Secure and stable housing is critical to the health and well-being of our residents and our city.

CEO and President Eileen Peltier, of Berkshire Housing Services, Inc., was thrilled upon hearing the designated funding for permanent supportive housing and the Housing Resource Center (HRC).

“I have so much appreciation for the city and the mayor who gets it. I am passionate about this work, but I also I feel it from the city as well. It’s not just about building infrastructure; it’s about caring for people and this project really does all of these things,” Peltier said.

Jay Sachetti, senior vice president of Shelter & Housing, Vocational, and Addiction Services, expressed his regard for the city’s partnership and support.

“It’s a been a number of years now, and with the help of the city, the mayor, and everyone here at City Hall, it feels good to get to this place. This administration, and Mayor Tyer especially, has come out and learned about homelessness and learned about encampments,” said Sachetti. “She is more plugged in than any other elected official I’ve seen, and we work all across western Massachusetts, so we’re very pleased with today.”

 

ARPA funding will go toward the development and support of the following initiatives:

Fenn Street Emergency Shelter, $354, 500 – Located at the First United Methodist Church, the Fenn Street Shelter will replace the temporary shelter location at the former St. Joseph’s High School, which is operated and managed by ServiceNet. Upon its completion, the new shelter will represent a major step towards a more livable, welcoming, and engaging space for the city’s most vulnerable neighbors who are experiencing homelessness and provides them with access to essential local services. It will have 6,000 square feet of sleeping space, meeting rooms and common areas for relaxation. It will include up to 45 overnight and emergency beds, bathrooms with showers, and access to a fully upgraded commercial kitchen and dining area of approximately 3,000 square feet.

Pittsfield Permanent Supportive Housing and Housing Resource Center, $6,500,000 – Permanent supportive housing will be available at two locations. There will be eight units on the second floor of the Zion church as well as 37 units of new construction on West Housatonic Street. These apartments, which will be approximately 350 square feet and are single occupancy, have all the amenities of typical apartments, just on a smaller scale. The apartment buildings will also have common spaces that function like a living room. West Housatonic will include community and office and consulting spaces.

• The Housing Resource Center will be located at the Zion church and will be available to both residents of Zion and West Housatonic. The site is approximately 7,700 square feet and will be in a fully rehabilitated lower level of the church on First Street. Amenities on site will include lobby area with mailboxes, quiet lounge area, tech area for computers and a phone charging station, a commercial kitchen, community room, quiet lounge area, laundry, lockers, bathrooms with showers, and office and consulting space.

White Terrace Apartments, $750,000 – The rehabilitation of 592-596 North Street will mark a milestone for this historic property that has stood blighted for years. In this newly renovated building, White Terrace Apartments will provide 41 affordable units to residents in a transformed and revitalized space.

Affordable Housing Trust, $500,000 – This marks a critical investment in helping the city actively address housing needs that disproportionately impact under-resourced residents, many of whom pay more than 30 percent of their household income toward housing. This trust, which will be funded through various other sources, will help to provide housing assistance, including rental assistance programs, first-time homebuyer and workforce housing programs for residents who may benefit from these resources.

At-Home in Pittsfield, $500,000 – Since its inception in 2019, At-Home as provided under-resourced access with crucial funding for exterior home improvements. The $500,000 ARPA funding, coupled with the city’s initial allocation from the Economic Development Fund, brings the total investment to $1 million.

For more information, please visit the ARPA page on the city’s website, cityofpittsfield.org.

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