City to Invest $1.5 Million of Covid Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to Address Affordable Housing

Strategic appropriation of Covid Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to help tackle the affordable housing crisis in Gloucester.

Today, Mayor Greg Verga announced the significant investment of $1.5 million of Covid Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to Gloucester’s Affordable Housing Trust and the City’s continued commitment to addressing the affordable housing shortage. The City of Gloucester was allocated $23 million under the American Rescue Plan Act’s local funding provisions and will distribute these funds to several categories within the community.

The Covid Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Listening Group was launched to host several listening posts throughout the City to solicit input from residents and organizations on potential uses of this funding opportunity. The group received an overwhelming number of requests to utilize this federal funding to support affordable housing initiatives. Mayor Verga has been committed to delivering creative solutions in the affordable housing sector to support the Trust’s work to create, preserve, and maintain affordable housing in the City of Gloucester. A significant amount of the $23 million was dedicated to critical and overdue infrastructure work to improve roads and address the secondary sewer treatment. This investment represents 15% of the remaining Covid Local Fiscal Recovery Funds after an initial $13 million investment for critical and overdue infrastructure projects, including major road repair and upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant.

“We have worked hard to bring the Affordable Housing Trust back to its full potential, and this funding will give the group an opportunity to have a big impact on their mission,” said Mayor Verga. “The Trust is formalizing a strategic plan to be more proactive in their work, and the members are motivated to make a real difference in our community. Supporting affordable housing is critical in Gloucester, so I am proud to allocate this funding to help this important work.”

In addition to this lump sum investment into the Affordable Housing Trust, Mayor Verga has determined a dedicated funding stream for the Trust through the City’s Short-Term Rental Fee. Earlier this year, the City deposited $50,828 into the Trust from this revenue stream and will be regularly directing that funding to the Trust. This consistent funding will provide a regular source of income to support the Trust’s work.

“The Affordable Housing Trust is very appreciative of Mayor Verga’s allocation of $1.5M from the City’s Federal ARPA funding to our mission. Now more than ever the Affordable Housing Trust must continue and expand our efforts to help create, preserve and maintain affordable housing in the City of Gloucester. With his strong financial commitment and his ongoing involvement, Mayor Verga has helped make that possible,” said Michael Luster, Gloucester resident and chair of Gloucester’s Affordable Housing Trust.

Mayor Verga has also been exploring other creative opportunities to provide and encourage affordable housing in Gloucester. As mentioned earlier in the year, Mayor Verga is working with the Community Development Department to identify potential City-owned land that could be used to create affordable housing units.

“We are actively working to find strategic and creative ways to address the affordable housing crisis,” said Verga. “This issue is not unique to Gloucester, but we must find ways to increase our affordable housing stock to help our residents and community.”

For the final Covid Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Listening Group report and public submissions, please visit: https://arpa.gloucester-ma.gov/

For more information about Gloucester’s Affordable Housing Trust, please visit: https://gloucester-ma.gov/129/Affordable-Housing-Trust

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