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Cape Cod’s Affordable Housing: State, County and Local Strategies Presented

Every two years, the Department issues a survey to the Barnstable County’s Health and Human Services Advisory Council (HHSAC) representatives asking for feedback on the trends and issues they are seeing in their work.  In 2015, housing affordability, cost of living, risk of homelessness were at the top of the list.  On April 28, 2016, Barnstable County’s HHSAC hosted a panel discussion to provide a baseline level of affordable housing information and also to provide an opportunity to talk about what is already going on in our communities around this issue.  Three experts presented on the role that state, county, and towns play in supporting the development of affordable housing on Cape Cod.

Laura Schufelt, Community Assistance Manager of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, began the presentations with an overview of the complex funding opportunities and regulatory criteria for affordable housing in the Commonwealth. Jeff Ribeiro, Regulatory Officer of Barnstable County’s Cape Cod Commission, shared how the Commission’s planning tools are using data to predict and guide the smart growth of Cape Cod towns.  Michelle Jarusiewicz, Housing Specialist for the Town of Provincetown, completed the presentations by reviewing Provincetown’s comprehensive approach to its critical need for affordable housing and disseminated the “Provincetown Draft Housing Playbook” which breaks down their housing plan into three categories: Affordable Housing, Community Housing, and Seasonal Workforce Housing.

The HHSAC is responsible for providing advice to the Department of Human Services concerning the human service needs of the residents of Barnstable County.  The Department’s current housing initiatives are the Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness and the HOME Investment Partnership Program.