September 16, 2022 – The Daily News

To the editor:

As the executive director of Essex County Habitat for Humanity, I’d like to ask for your help.

Lack of affordable housing in Massachusetts is a very real concern. The cost of housing continues to skyrocket, and ultimately, creates a challenge for hardworking, financially secure families to create a stable home environment. Without homes, people (and workers) are forced to leave our area.

Currently in Amesbury, there is a proposal before City Council that would take one small step toward creating affordable housing. The mayor has proposed that city-owned property on Cynthia Lane be considered as a site for new affordable homes.

If approved, a disposition committee would gather citizen input and design a request for proposal (RFP) to select a development partner. Habitat would submit a response to build homes that would meet the parameters that are important to all involved – the City Council, the residents of Amesbury and the neighborhood.

We recognize that affordable housing efforts can be misunderstood. I’d like to share some information as the Amesbury community considers this proposal.

Habitat families are financially stable. Habitat currently sells homes for $180,000 to $240,000 to families who have demonstrated financial ability and housing need. These homebuyers are likely people you see each day – the CNA taking care of your in-laws, your bank teller or the teacher at your child’s preschool.

Habitat families work for and on their homes. Through a “sweat equity” requirement – a minimum number of volunteer hours – Habitat homebuyers work alongside volunteers to build their homes. They have pride and a personal investment in their home – and in future upkeep of the property.

Habitat homeowners pay the mortgage. When the home is complete and the family moves in, they pay an affordable mortgage and local property taxes.

The benefits to the homebuyer are obvious, but there are also many benefits to the community. There is increased tax revenue, increased local spending, a stable local workforce, and increased civic participation. These homes are permanently affordable, so that future generations will also be able to afford to live here.

What can you do to help? If you are an Amesbury city councilor, we ask for your support. If you are an Amesbury resident, please tell your city councilor you want Amesbury to remain affordable to first-time homebuyers. If you are a business owner, please tell the city councilors your employees need a home.


Executive Director

Essex County Habitat for Humanity