Affordable & Fair Housing
COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance
A full list of these resources can be downloaded on a PDF here: http://archive.northamptonma.gov/WebLink/Browse.aspx?id=696820&dbid=0&repo=CityOfNorthampton
The Baker-Polito Administration has announced an extensive list of resources known as the Eviction Diversion Initiative in response to expiration of the State's eviction moratorium. All residents can access information by simply dialing 211 or by going to the State's website or their FAQ page. The State is offering free legal services to eligible tenants and low-income landlords in owner-occupied 2-3 family homes through the Covid Eviction Legal Help Program (CELHP), go to CELHP website for more information. The information on the site should be taken as legal advice and if you are currently facing eviction, MassAccess has resources to help you understand your rights.
The City is funding Community Action Pioneer Valley for an Emergency Rental & Utility Assistance Program for eligible households. Eligibility requirements:
- Must be a renter and at least 30 days behind in rent and/or utilities
- Must live in Northampton, Florence or Leeds
- Must have a negative economic impact due to COVID-19
- Total household income must less than 80% of the area median income
- Households must demonstrate a need for assistance, be behind in rent or utilities 30 days or more, and have insufficient income and/or savings to pay their monthly rent
- Households cannot currently be receiving HomeBase or RAFT
- Maximum award per household is $2,200 and can be combined for both rent and utility arrears
For more information and to apply: call Community Action Pioneer Valley 413-475-1570
Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) is a short-term financial assistance to low-income families, couples, and individuals who falling behind on their housing payments or are at risk of becoming homeless. This program is funded by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and can pay for moving cost assistance, rent, utility arrears, rental stipends, mortgage arrears, and utility bills. The income limits are up to 50% of Area Median Income (AMI). For more information and to make an appointment at the Northampton office, go to Way Finders website.
DHCD is funding other resources administered by Way Finders, such as the Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program (ERMA) for renters, homeowners, and landlords to help them through payments of mortgages and rents during the Covid-19 pandemic. The income limit for that program is between 50-80% AMI. For more information, see Way Finders website.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is a new funding source for tenants and landlords to avoid evictions and maintain household stability throughout the COVID-19 emergency. ERAP is available to households earning less than 80% AMI, and includes enhanced benefits; such as up to 12 months of assistance with past due rent, plus up to 3 months of future rent. Renters may also receive up to $1,500 for overdue utilities accrued after March 13, 2020. Other resources from DHCD for landlords during this time that can be viewed on their website.
Mortgage payment forbearance for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured borrowers has been made available. For more information, please contact your mortgage servicer (who you make payments to). If you cannot contact them, you can get help from a HUD approved Housing Counseling Agency by dialing 800-569-4287 or by searching on the HUD website: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/hcc/hcc_home.
First Time Homebuyers and Homeownership Services
Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) is funded by a CDBG grant to offer counseling to first-time home buyers. They will discuss sustainable home ownership, mortgages, and debt. For more information and to register, go to the Frameworks site. Additionally, some Northampton residents may be income-eligible for down payment and closing cost assistance. Valley CDC also offers post-purchase repairs and foreclosure prevention counseling.
For Veterans and members of the military seeking to purchase their first home, MassHousing offers closing-costs, down-payment assistance, and affordable financing as part of their Operation Welcome Home (OWH) initiative. OWH differs from a traditional VA Home Loan in that MassHousing will accept non-spouse co-borrowers, they have a simplified condo approval process, and they offer up to $2,500 in closing costs. Additional programs for renters, homebuyers, and developers can be viewed on their homepage.
For veterans who are near to becoming homeless or who are experiencing homeless, see housing and related resources here.
The City of Northampton has federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to assist qualified owner-occupants in making necessary repairs to their homes to eliminate building code violations, eliminate unsafe or unhealthy conditions, undertake accessibility modifications for people with disabilities, improve weatherization, remove lead paint, or undertake other necessary repairs to improve the quality of living conditions. The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission assists the City with the program administration. You can view the program manual to learn more about qualifications, eligible projects, and the rehab process.
If interested in applying, please contact the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) Housing Coordinator Shirley Stephens at (413) 781-6045 for a pre-application form to establish your interest. If determined to be eligible, you will be placed on a list for assistance. Assistance will be on a “first come first serve” basis to fully qualified applicants. If needed, a wait list will be established.
Affordable Housing Developments
- The Hampshire Property Management Group has several affordable housing units throughout Northampton
- The Northampton Housing Authority is quasi-public agency maintaining several public housing developments, accepting Housing Choice (Section 8) and VASH vouchers (for veterans)
- The Community Builders are developing 35 Village Hill, Northampton’s newest mixed-income, affordable apartment community. See their website for floor plans and applications
- The Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity are a leader in building affordable and sustainable single-family homes in Northampton
- Way Finders Inc. is another local leader in affordable housing. More information on their Home Center page.
The City has various programs to ensure affordable and fair housing. The current analysis of fair housing was completed in 2019 by PVPC and can be found at: Unlocking Opportunity: An Assessment of Barriers to Fair Housing in Northampton (2019) PVPC identified 38 short- and long-term-actions steps that different stakeholders across the City should work towards addressing fair housing in Northampton. Northampton residents who wish to address the issues identified in this assessment are encouraged to attend the Northampton Housing Partnership meetings held on the first Monday of every month.
MassLegalHelp is a great resource to educate and support people who are searching for housing, facing foreclosure or eviction, or are experiencing homelessness. Other resources on their site include tenants rights, housing discrimination, and checklists for tenants before a move-in. A by topic list of laws in Massachusetts regarding renters, homeowners, foreclosures, evictions, and many other topics can be viewed on the Mass.gov website.