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Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners Prioritize Housing Initiatives Through ARPA Grants

JANUARY 17, 2024 (BARNSTABLE, MA) – Today the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners reaffirmed the County’s commitment to address Cape Cod’s housing challenges. The Board executed two grants, totaling $2 million, as part of the broader $11.4 million ARPA investment in housing and homelessness, which encompasses sheltering, funding for affordable housing, and workforce housing support. 

Creating Affordable Homes in Orleans  

The Board authorized a $1.5 million ARPA grant agreement with West and Skaket LLC from the County’s affordable housing tranche.  These grant funds support the expansion and redevelopment of the former headquarters of the Cape Cod 5 Cent Savings Bank in Orleans. This project addresses a critical housing shortage on the Lower and Outer Cape by creating 62 new rental housing units. These units comprise a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments, ensuring a diverse range of affordable housing options. The collaborative effort of eight towns in funding this project underscores its commitment to affordability, with 8 units designated at 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI), 10 units at 80% AMI, and the majority falling within the 60% AMI range. Additionally, this project falls under the 40B classification, further solidifying its commitment to addressing housing challenges in the region. 

Commissioner Mark Forest praised the collaborative efforts of individuals from eight towns for this project. He emphasized the importance of such collaboration for large-scale projects, stating, “The Cape towns’ unity is crucial for endeavors of this scale.” 

Rio Sacchetti, Project Manager representing Pennrose, the real estate development firm responsible for overseeing the project, attended the meeting.  Mr. Sacchetti stated, These ARPA funds will be put to great use – right into the bricks and mortar of the housing, helping us maintain the project with high-quality materials, finishes, and amenities we aimed to deliver to the community’s residents, despite the challenges of rising costs in the past year.” 

Building Affordable Housing in Bourne 

The Board has also authorized a $500,000 ARPA grant agreement with the Housing Assistance Corporation.  These funds will be instrumental in supporting the construction of the POAH/Cape View Way Bourne project, which aims to create 42 affordable rental units on Bourne Housing Authority-owned land. This project falls under the 40B category and operates with a long-term ground lease in place. The groundbreaking took place last November, and the project is expected to be completed and ready for occupancy by this time next year. The project includes a mix of affordability levels, with 26 units designated for individuals with a 60% Area Median Income (AMI) and 16 units for those with a 30% AMI. Importantly, the 30% AMI units will be supported by project-based rental vouchers and MRVP rental vouchers to ensure that no one residing in these units will need to pay more than 30% of their rental income. 

Cory Fellows, Vice President of Real Estate Development at Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH), a Boston-based organization actively contributing to numerous affordable housing projects across Cape Cod, emphasized the collaborative funding effort for this project. He highlighted that the project secured $9 million from various state sources, alongside several million dollars in tax credit equity and additional gap funding. Mr. Fellows stated, “This $500K award plays a crucial role in bridging the gap that POAH temporarily addressed when closing the project last November. It ensures we stay on course, navigating construction cost and interest rate challenges, while also prioritizing the efficient deployment of these funds.” 

Chairman Ron Bergstrom emphasized the paramount importance of affordable housing in local discussions, stating, “Affordable housing consistently remains at the forefront of our concerns and discussions. This grant represents a significant step forward in realizing our goal of ensuring that 10-15% of housing on Cape Cod is affordable. It’s clear that this is the most effective way to address our housing challenges and make substantial progress towards our objective.”  

Dredge Rate Study Update

County Administrator Beth Albert provided an update on Dredge rates, emphasizing that there has been a public engagement process.  The proposed rates are designed to establish a revenue neutral program, allowing the County to generate positive net revenue in FY 25 and FY 26 that will allow the County to have adequate retained earnings that are critical for future maintenance of dredge equipment.  

Sheila Lyons, Vice Chair, expressed her thoughts on the proposed rate increase, saying, “While we understand the necessity of this rate adjustment and the detailed rationale behind it, we share the sentiment that no one welcomes a price increase. However, this adjustment is essential to ensure the availability of a properly functioning dredge.” 

To facilitate a thorough review of the proposed dredge rates, the Board supported an extension of the comment period to the second week in February.   Rate increases are proposed to begin on July 1, 2024.  The County’s Assembly of Delegates sets the rates for the dredging program.


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