The Board of the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund has set a goal to work with other groups and organizations whose mission includes the creation and preservation of affordable housing for low-income and vulnerable residents.
At their last meeting, board members met with Lor Holmes of the Revere Housing Coalition and found their interests and goals were in sync. Joseph Gravellese, chair of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board, asked Holmes about the coalition’s history and goals. Holmes said the coalition evolved out of community conversations with residents involved with the city’s master plan, Next Stop Revere. Residents shared a concern about the need for affordable housing and a collective sense that longtime Revere residents were being left out of the high-end housing development taking place in the city.
Holmes said low-income, elderly and disabled residents were being displaced. “We need to fight for the residents’ right to remain in the community,” she said.
One of the central goals of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is to provide support for low-income, elderly and disabled residents to remain in their homes. Board members have been talking about emergency assistance for renters and homeowners at risk of losing their homes, education and assistance for first-time home buyers, programs to assist with home repairs, and creating housing to meet the needs of the workforce.
Gravellese and Holmes agree that talking with other housing advocacy groups in surrounding communities has been valuable and there is much to learn about existing programs and resources.
The Trust Fund Board will be voting at their next meeting on whether to spend $7,500 on a housing production plan. Tom Skwierawski, Revere’s chief of planning and community development, urged the board to invest in the plan, which will catalog all the city’s available housing development opportunities.
Gravellese asked about the plan’s inclusion of consultants for the Trust Fund Board. He said that while board members have ideas of directions they want to go, they would welcome help with the logistics of setting up a fair and equitable loan or home repair program or sources of existing state and federal funding for housing.
The Trust Fund Board is still fine-tuning its mission statement and goals. Gravellese was asked if the board’s modus operandi would accompany those goals. However, board member Anayo Osueke, who will oversee the fund’s finances, said his financial reporting and bookkeeping would be guided by the city’s financial and legal departments.
While the board has different task and plans ahead, Gravellese stressed repeatedly that the fund was meant to focus on providing affordable housing and housing assistance to low-income, elderly and disabled residents to keep them in Revere.