The Aurora Apartments on Worcester’s Main Street will soon undergo a renovation that will bring 85 affordable apartments to the city.
Of the 85 studio apartments, 30 will be reserved for those with extremely low incomes or transitioning out of homelessness, according to a news release by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The Community Builders manages the apartment building at 660 Main St., which was built in 1898 as the Aurora Hotel, and Open Sky Community Services will provide supportive services to residents.
The project, was one of 11 across Massachusetts that received a total of $31 million in funding from the state agency this week.
“With the housing crisis we are experiencing in Worcester especially for individuals, this award will increase the number of units available to our lowest income neighbors,” said Leah Bradley, executive director of Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance. “From March of 2021 to March of 2022, we have seen a 45% increase in the city in individuals experiencing homelessness. Community Builders and Open Sky are key partners in providing housing with wrap around services to help us address this growing concern.”
Renovations to the building will include restoration of historic elements, new heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, a new staff suite, security improvements and a new community room. Fifty-five of the studios will be reserved for individuals making 60% or less of the area median income, while the other 30 will be reserved for individuals making 30% AMI.
“This critical funding from (the Department of Housing and Community Development) will support our most vulnerable residents, some as they transition from foster care, access mental and behavioral healthcare, and pursue their own dreams,” said Andy Waxman, regional vice president of The Community Builders. “TCB is committed to providing stable housing and supportive services that make neighborhoods stronger.”
In addition to $3.37 million in funding and $497,000 in federal tax credits, the project will receive $250,000 from the city of Worcester from the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.
“We are excited to celebrate this milestone and the continued public-private partnerships between the city of Worcester, the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the development community to keep expanding our housing stock,” said Acting City Manager Eric Batista. “The renovation of these 85 units will provide needed improvements to the units and extend the affordability restriction for years to come. By working together, we’re helping meet the needs of our community, for all of our residents, and across all income levels.”
The funding is provided by DHCD and the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation as part of the annual Supportive Housing for Vulnerable Populations program, which helps veterans, older adults, people with disabilities, people who have experienced homelessness and unaccompanied youth.
Other projects that received funding include 150 Pleasant St. in Attleboro, House of Hope Shelter in Attleboro, Warren Street Housing in Boston, Manley Street Housing Resource Center in Brockton, 35 Harvey St. in Cambridge, Catalyst Housing in Lynn, Lynn Emergency Shelter, New Point Apartments in Salem, 275 Chestnut Supportive Housing in Springfield and Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community in Tewksbury. In total, the 11 projects represent 230 housing units and 200 shelter beds.
“In the midst of Massachusetts’ ongoing housing crisis, it is critical that we build and preserve permanent supportive housing that meets the needs of our most vulnerable residents,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Housing has been a key area of focus for the Baker-Polito Administration since day one, and we are continuing that commitment now by directing $31 million to support 11 housing projects from Springfield to Boston.”