Affordable housing inches forward in Northampton

City Council approves funds for the project

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Affordable housing moved one step closer to becoming a reality in Northampton.

It was a packed house at Northampton’s city council meeting Thursday night. The top item on the agenda: a proposed affordable housing project in the city.

“A lot of people moving here wanting to live here. That increases rents, that increases housing costs, so it subsequently reduces people’s opportunity to move here because they can’t afford it,” said Bill Dwight, the Northampton City Council President.

The council voted to direct $300,000 from the city’s Community Preservation Act to the non-profit organization behind the project.
Out of the 45 residents at the meeting, only one voiced disapproval.

“The question is are we just going to trample over nature to satisfy our every whim, or are we going to recognize that we have responsibilities,” said Barry Roth, a Northampton resident.

The Valley Community Development Corporation’s proposed affordable housing project would be located on the old Northampton Lumber Site on Pleasant Street. The project would cost about $20 million and would become a home to 55 families.

The Valley CDC won site plan approval for the building In January, although there are still more hurdles to clear before construction begins, including a lawsuit asking the court to reverse its approval.

“There is a stigma that is attached to affordable housing or to folks that use affordable housing. I haven’t really heard that in this community, and I think that’s a good thing,” said Jeff Napolitano, a Northampton resident.

The Valley CDC said the project would be primarily funded by the state and private investors.

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