Housing Committee

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  • Richard Allen
  • Mark Holmes, Secretaty
  • Judith Goodman, Co-Chairperson
  • Bruce Kafenbaum
  • Elizabeth Keen
  • Doug Mishkin, Co-Chairperson
  • Bob Noonan

Message from the Co-Chairs of the Housing Committee on the Housing Trust Warrant Articles, 2023 Annual Town Meeting

Dear Friends: 

We are the co-chairs of the Egremont Housing Committee, which supports the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust (the "Trust") on the warrant for our May 2, 2023, Annual Town Meeting. We'd like to clarify some confusion we've seen in recent emails about the Trust and the upcoming Meeting.

1. The Trust is not a tax. It has no power to impose a tax, a surtax, or any other kind of mandatory fees. The Trust simply receives money and property from private donors and public funds such as grants. While it can also receive funds allocated by the Select Board, that would require separate approval at a Town Meeting, and there is no such request on the warrant for this Meeting. There is no warrant article asking Egremont voters to create a new tax.

2. The Trust will not build affordable housing. Affordable housing organizations like Construct, Inc., Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Community Development Corporation of South Berkshires, and others build housing. The Trust will work with organizations like these to create affordable housing, but the Trust will not duplicate the work of any of these organizations.

3. Voting "Yes" for the Trust is not a vote about the Community Preservation Act (CPA). The CPA is not on the warrant. In recent postings, some residents connected two Town activities that are not connected. The CPA was raised by some participants at the March 11, 2023, workshop regarding the updating of the Comprehensive Plan (Master Plan) and the Open Space and Recreation Plan by the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission. Those participants expressed interest in seeing Egremont adopt the CPA as a community means to fund open space, historic preservation, affordable housing, and outdoor recreation. The consultants assisting the Town in the workshop reported this interest. The Trust, and the warrant being voted on at the May 2 Town Meeting, have nothing to do with the CPA

Then what is the Trust?

A. The Trust will allow Egremont to respond in a timely fashion when opportunities arise to create affordable housing, such as when a desirable property goes on the market. Currently, taking action would require approval at a town meeting, which is impractical. This is one of the principal reasons that over 100 Massachusetts municipalities have established these Trusts since the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund Law was passed in 2005. 

B. The Trust will be managed by a five-member Board of Trustees appointed by the Select Board. The Trustees will be knowledgeable about banking, real estate, real estate law, residential development, or affordable housing. One member must be a member of the Select Board.

C. The Trust will be transparent and accountable to the public. It will be subject to the Open Meeting Law. The Town Treasurer will hold trust funds. The Trust will regularly report to the Select Board and be audited annually by an independent auditor.

Affordable housing is essential to the future of Egremont. We hope this message helps you understand a Municipal Affordable Housing Trust. It is not the CPA. The Trust, not the CPA, is on the warrant. We suggest you download the Q&A, which follows below.

Doug Mishkin and Judi Goodman
Co-Chairs, Egremont Housing Committee

Letter to the Editor Berkshire Eagle: Why We're Backing an Affordable Housing Trust for Egremont (PDF)

Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity Letter in Support of an Egremont Housing Trust (PDF)

Berkshire Housing Development Corporation Letter in Support of an Egremont Housing Trust (PDF)

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Letter in Support of an Egremont Housing Trust (PDF)

Community Development  Corporation of South Berkshire Letter in Support of an Egremont Housing Trust (PDF)

Construct LLC Email in Support of an Egremont Housing Trust (PDF)

Town of Egremont Housing Needs Assessment Prepared by Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, December 2021 (PDF)

Q&A on Municipal Affordable Housing Trust

Bullet Point Summary of Article 7 on 2023 Annual Town Meeting (ATM) Warrant

If you have questions about the proposed Municipal Affordable Housing Trust on the warrant for the May 2 Annual Town Meeting, this Q&Aprepared by the Housing Committee, should be helpful. 

Download the Q&A (PDF)

If you wish a read a summary in bullet format of Article 7, which asks voters to amend Egremont's General Bylaws to allow the establishment of a housing trust to be known as the Egremont Municipal Housing Trust, click below to download.

Download Bullet Point Summary of Article 7

Download the Warrant Articles for the 2023 Annual Town Meeting

Purpose of Housing Committee

The Housing Committee advocates for and facilitates the creation and preservation of affordable and workforce housing in Egremont. "Affordable housing" and "Workforce Housing" are defined as housing restricted to persons or families with incomes respectively of 80% or 50% or less of area median income as determined by applicable governmental guidelines. Toward that end, the Committee:

  • Identifies properties for potential development
  • Prepares Requests for Proposals (RFPs), reviews responses and recommends appropriate action to the Select Board
  • Supports the Egremont Housing Trust, a 501(c)3 organization
  • Encourages rental unit owners to consider longer-term rather than seasonal rentals
  • Supports the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
  • Applies for grants  that underwrite affordable and workforce housing development
  • Creates Egremont voter awareness around the critical need for affordable and workforce housing and strategies to develop such housing

Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) Housing Rehab Grant

Rehab grant funds allow qualifying homeowners (owner-occupied single/multi-family and investor-owned units) in Egremont to secure a 0% interest, deferred, forgivable loan to make critical home repairs. This program is designed to improve existing housing conditions of low and moderate-income resident households by eliminating code violations. Eligible repair activities will include, but not be limited to, electrical, heating, and plumbing work; minor structural repairs; roof and siding repairs; insulation and window replacements; lead paint and asbestos removal; and handicap accessibility improvements.

Dawn Lemon is the contact person for the CDBG Grant Program. Egremont residents who apply may contact Dawn at 413-645-3448.

Click the links below to learn more and apply.