Emergency rental assistance available for income-qualified Watertown renters
The Watertown Housing Partnership has set up an Emergency Rental Assistance Program for Watertown renters who have lost income and are having trouble paying rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This assistance is temporary and will provide assistance for up to three months to Watertown renters not receiving other government rental assistance and earning below 80% of Area Median Income. Assistance is for up to $750 for a 1-bedroom apartment, $950 for a 2-bedroom apartment, and $1,150 for a 3-bedroom apartment. Anyone interested in applying should contact Robyn Rufo at Metro West Collaborative directly for an application (firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-923-3505 ext. 5). While the application deadline passed September 24, eligible renters are being accepted by Metro West Collaborative on a first come-first serve basis while funds are available. For more details, see this flyer and the program guidelines.
State’s new Eviction Diversion Initiative: The Baker-Polito Administration announced October 12 that it was replacing the Commonwealth’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium, which expires October 17, with a combination of new rental assistance money, mediation and other measures to keep tenants in their homes. The Administration committed $112 million in new funding through June 30, 2021, while the trial court modified its usual eviction procedure to provide for a “two tier process” to mediate disputes first. For more information about this new initiative, go to: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-eviction-diversion-frequently-asked-questions.
Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Services available: Watertown partners with Cambridge Neighborhood Apartment Housing Services, Inc. (CNAHS) to provide foreclosure prevention counseling services to Watertown residents. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, call CNAHS at 617-491-1545.
Shelter Directory: Click here to see a list of shelters for men, women, families and youth as produced by Health Care Without Walls, a charitable organization based in Wellesley, MA.
Fair Housing: The WestMetro HOME Consortium (described below) is conducting an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing that will be publicly released in late 2020 or early 2021. As part of that analysis, the Consortium is asking community members to take a short survey on fair housing in Watertown. Federal and state law prohibit housing discrimination based on membership in a protected class such as race, gender, and familial status. The survey, which is anonymous, is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DRNQ9VL.
New Affordable Unit Lottery
Fifteen affordable rental units at 330-350 Pleasant Street will be available through a lottery process during fall 2020 The public info session will be October 6, the application deadline November 3, and the lottery on November 16.
Five of the units will be available to households at or below 65% of AMI and ten units at or below 80% of AMI. For more information, including access to the public info session and application forms, see https://sebhousing.com/property/watertown-watermills/ and/or call SEB Housing at 617-782-6900x1).
Income/asset-restricted condo for sale: A 5 Repton Circle “affordable” studio is for sale to purchasers who meet income/asset and other requirements. The unit is 605 square feet and access to Repton Circle amenities. To qualify, you must be a first-time home buyer, have a maximum gross income of $67,400 if one-person household or $77,000 if two-person, maximum liquid assets $75,000. Application and pre-approval required. For more information: https://www.watertown-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/30258/Resale-Application-5-Repton-Circle-5105-Watertown
The Planning Office is charged with overseeing the Town’s Affordable Housing Requirements (section 5.07 of the Watertown Zoning Ordinance), administering the HOME Investment Partnership Program funds, providing staff support to the Watertown Housing Partnership, and coordinating other housing-related projects and programs.
Affordable Set Aside Percentage: Watertown’s affordable set-aside percentage for private residential development projects that create 6 or more units or more than 5 lots is 15.0%, with affordability in two parts. Click here (PDF) to see the Town Council approved zoning text.
To learn more about the Town’s Affordable Housing Requirements, download this explanatory guide (PDF).
The WestMetro HOME Consortium
The WestMetro HOME Consortium provides funding and technical assistance to its 14 member communities to support local and regional affordable housing goals. In addition to Watertown, the HOME Consortium communities include Newton (lead member), Bedford, Belmont, Brookline, Concord, Framingham, Lexington, Lincoln, Natick, Needham, Sudbury, Waltham, and Wayland.
Since 1992, the Consortium has provided grants and loans of HOME funds to for-and non-profit developers and directly to low-income households to create over 550 units of affordable housing within the Consortium member communities.
HOME Program Plans:
Revised Citizen Participation Plan (PDF): The Citizen Participation Plan for the Annual Action Plan and Consolidated Plan.
2014 HOME Project: St. Joseph Hall
Housing Production Plan
The Town, MetroWest Collaborative Development, Inc., and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council worked in 2013 to develop a Housing Production Plan funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities Program and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development Priority Development Fund.
What is a Housing Production Plan?
A “Housing Production Plan” is a document that is approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development and includes the following elements:
- An assessment of our community's housing needs based on an understanding of population trends and regional growth factors
- A numerical goal of units to produce annually
- An appropriate mix of housing types
- Steps for meeting our goals
Watertown works closely with Metro West Collaborative Development, a private, non-profit located at 79-B Chapel Street, Newton, MA 02458 to develop affordable housing. To learn more about their affordable housing programs, visit the MWCD website.