Laura Baker visited to our weekly Incubator Meeting on Wednesday, February 8, to discuss the work that the Valley Community Development Corporation is doing to bridge the gap in affordable housing in the town of Amherst. Valley Community Development Corporation empowers low and moderate income people through the development of affordable housing, providing economic opportunities, and encouraging community leadership. Laura was excited to announce that Valley CDC has received a grant worth $50,000 to explore housing options in Amherst. This money will go towards funding the necessary inspections, hiring engineers, and creating potential architectural designs.
Currently, Valley CDC owns four single room occupancy (SRO) buildings in Florence and Northampton. These SROs are designed for individuals or families to rent a room that has a shared bathroom and kitchen. More recently, Valley CDC is moving towards enhanced SROs, which are more private and feature its own bathroom and a kitchenette. Laura notes, “access is a really important thing that we think about,” when looking at potential building locations. Ideally, new construction would be in walking distance to amenities or on a bus route.
Getting individuals and families into housing is not the end of the line. Valley CDC makes it a point to include services to those who live in their housing projects. They offer an SRO outreach worker, who is a support person who is there to assist with whatever needs people are experiencing at that time. Laura stated, “housing without services often falls apart.”
Valley Community Development Corporation
30 Market St
Northampton, MA 01060
By: Lauren White