Community DevelopmentAffordable Housing Services
COG’s portfolio is unlike that of many consultants in that we are experienced in planning, policy development, and implementation. Our senior planning staff work attentively with each client to tailor a process and products around the unique needs and resources of the community.
? Affordable?Housing Plans: COG has prepared numerous plans focused around affordable housing, or which include housing as a key component, including Housing Production Plans, master plans, Community Preservation plans, as well as HUD Five-Year Consolidated Plans and First Year Action Plans. The preparation of these plans entailed thorough analysis of existing housing conditions, assessment of affordable housing needs, and the development of concrete action steps to increase the supply of a local community’s affordable housing. These plans also entail communication with diverse stakeholder entities and population subgroups, including people with disabilities, predominantly minority neighborhood groups, residents of subsidized housing, and people who lack English proficiency.
? Affordable Housing Support Services:?COG staff serve as marketing, lottery, and monitoring agents for affordable rental and ownership developments in in a number of communities. With COG currently serving as the CDBG grant administrator for more than twenty communities, we are responsible for income verification and annual monitoring of units that receive CDBG housing rehabilitation financial assistance to ensure that they serve qualifying households and that the rental units remain within Section 8 Fair Market Rent levels.
We also provide ongoing staff support to Affordable Housing Trusts. We have assisted communities in defining programmatic objectives and in preparing Requests for Proposals/Qualifications to solicit developer interest in locally-sponsored affordable housing initiatives. In Scituate, we prepared a LAU application and Affordable Fair Housing Marketing Plan for a LIP homeownership project, implemented the marketing plan, conducted a lottery, reviewed applications and assisted the Trust to locate eligible buyers. In West Boylston, we are assisting the Trust in its early stage of developing additional affordable rental housing for seniors.
? Program and Policy Assessments:?We have conducted program and policy assessments for dozens of comprehensive plans and also as stand-alone projects. Recently in the towns of Ware, Warren and Hardwick, MA we completed a physical assessment of the housing conditions in dense, low income neighborhoods. In each town, the study areas are plagued by severe deterioration, a high percentage of absentee-owned rental property and a significant number of abandoned and foreclosed properties. The projects culminated in recommendations and strategies for revitalization.
COG has prepared zoning ordinances and bylaws for several Massachusetts cities and towns. We are currently undertaking zoning revisions in Newburyport, and recently worked with Medfield and Everett in drafting and adoption of Inclusionary Zoning.
? Affordable Housing Development:?COG has worked with communities to facilitate affordable housing development projects from planning to project completion. As a recent example, COG supported the Town of Webster in redeveloping the decommissioned A.J. Sitkowski School into sixty-six units of low income elderly housing and a new municipal senior center. To accomplish the redevelopment, COG assisted the Town with drafting a redevelopment overly zone for enactment by Town Meeting, and facilitated two-dimensional subdivision of the redevelopment site (the building was attached to the Town Hall). The firm also assisted the Town with the RFP process and vetting of responses. The non-profit developer obtained multiple allocations of federal and state historic and Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), thus enabling a large percentage of the units to be rented to extremely low income elders. The redeveloped building went into service in 2015.