July 27, 2022 – Eagle Tribune

LAWRENCE — Two new affordable homes are being built in Lawrence using American Rescue Plan Act money.

Local legislators announced Wednesday that $100,000 in ARPA funds would be used by Essex County Habitat for Humanity, which is building two affordable homes in Lawrence.

State Sen. Barry Finegold (D-Andover) said he successfully included the funding as an amendment to the legislature’s ARPA spending bill.

“As housing costs rise across the nation, I’ve been proud to work with the Essex County Habitat for Humanity to bring more affordable housing to our community. Habitat’s work will have a lasting impact throughout the Merrimack Valley, and I look forward to continuing to partner with them going forward,” Finegold said.

The funding, which the Department of Housing and Community Development recently allocated to Habitat, will use the funds to build the foundation for the two homes and purchase cabinets, doors, flooring, and other needed building materials.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, passed by the federal government in March 2021, Massachusetts state, county, tribal and local entities receive federal aid to respond to the public health and economic impacts of the public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Rep. Marcos Devers (D-Lawrence) noted affordable and stable housing “is a fundamental part of a family’s well-being, allowing for more stable employment, less stress, and better physical and mental health outcomes.”

“Additionally, every dollar invested in affordable housing boosts our local economy in Lawrence, creating more economic opportunities for community members of all income levels. The Essex County Habitat for Humanity is doing incredibly important work creating affordable housing in our community, and I’m proud our state delegation was able to support that work with this funding,” Devers said.

State Representative Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence) echoed similar sentiments.

“As the price of housing continues to increase throughout the nation, this critical funding will allow the City of Lawrence to continue its efforts of providing affordable housing to some of our most vulnerable neighbors. We in the Lawrence State Delegation are proud to be continued partners with the Essex County Habitat for Humanity and I look forward to celebrating this project’s completion in the future,” Moran said.

The Essex County Habitat for Humanity serves 34 cities and towns in Essex County. To date, they have successfully helped more than 160 families achieve homeownership.

Habitat homeowners are provided affordable 30-year mortgages with reasonable monthly payments that include escrow payments for taxes, insurance, and maintenance.

The Essex County Habitat for Humanity currently has 6 homes under construction and another 12 in the works.

“We are incredibly grateful for Senator Finegold’s commitment to affordable housing,” said Meegan O’Neil, Executive Director of the Essex County Habitat for Humanity.

“This support allows Habitat to continue our important work of building decent, affordable homes for families across the region,” she said.