Photo: Housing affordability thrust of Housing Trust’s meeting.
Next week, the Belmont Housing Trust will host a public meeting to discuss its Housing Production Plan, which provides a five-year framework and strategy for the development of a variety of housing options to meet the needs of the Belmont residents.
Cosponsored by the League of Woman Voters, the meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 27 at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
“We’re excited to gather final public input and comments on Belmont’s housing future. The high level of interest in this month’s town election suggests people are really thinking about what we need to do, going forward, to make Belmont a more livable place for all,” said Judie Feins, co-chair of the Housing Trust.
In community meetings over the past year, residents participated in discussions about “imagining Belmont’s housing future,” identifying their interests and concerns about housing in Belmont. Their input was combined with a Housing Needs Assessment based on demographics and economic data to develop the Housing Production Plan, which details production goals and strategies aimed at meeting those needs.
The draft Housing Production Plan is available here.
Participants Thursday will provide additional input before the Plan is finalized and submitted to town officials for approval and action.
The Housing Needs Assessment noted that Belmont’s population continues to rise modestly, with a forecasted need for housing for seniors and new families, including rentals and community housing. Housing costs in Belmont have increased more than 40 percent since 2009, making Belmont less accessible for lower and moderate income households.
In addition, while nearly a quarter of Belmont households are eligible for affordable housing, only seven percent of Belmont’s housing units are considered affordable. Belmont’s housing is also generally quite old and may have significant maintenance needs.
Massachusetts requires cities and towns to have affordable housing of at least 10 percent of total housing units. Affordable housing is defined as housing that is affordable to households earning less than 80 percent of Area Median Income – $51,150 for a single person household.
Once the town’s newest and largest housing developments, Royal Belmont and Cushing Village, are completed, the town will remain 337 units short of the 10 percent benchmark.
The primary goal of the Housing Production Plan is to identify opportunities to create these 337 affordable units. Those units should, however, meet the needs reflected in the recent assessment. Thus the Plan proposes to create housing for seniors, new families, and for lower income households.
The Plan has identified several strategies, including the development of housing near transportation centers, leveraging opportunities on public land, supporting redevelopment of industrial sites, revitalizing existing community housing, and networking with Belmont residents, organizations, property owners and local businesses.