Acting as trustees of the Falmouth Affordable Housing Fund, the Falmouth Select Board approved unanimously an updated set of funding priorities on Monday, October 5.
The funding priorities affirm the board’s commitment to diversity, stating, “The Town of Falmouth and the Falmouth Affordable Housing Fund strive to create and preserve a broad range of housing that encourages residency of diverse populations and gives equal access to housing opportunities.”
Assistant Town Manager Peter Johnson-Staub said the language in the funding priorities document places an added emphasis on the town’s commitment to diversity.
“We also added a highest-priority section to reiterate that the highest priority at this time is rental units in the 50 to 80 percent of area median income range,” Mr. Johnson-Staub said.
Other high priorities listed include mixed-income developments, multifamily housing and units that are Americans with Disabilities Act accessible.
The town is also working toward an owner-occupied rehabilitation program that would provide low- and moderate-income homeowners with funding for repairs and improvements.
“There are some regulations from the Department of Revenue related to the use of community preservation funds that fairly narrowly limit our abilities in that end,” Mr. Johnson-Staub said. “It can be done; we just need to be very particular about the way that program works. It would be our intent to partner with a nonprofit entity to administer such a program.”
The priorities also identify larger families that need three or more bedrooms as a target population for affordable housing.
“When you look at the population served, the only thing that caught my eye was larger families needing three-plus bedrooms,” board member Nancy R. Taylor said. “Do we have a lot of families needing three-plus bedrooms?”
Mr. Johnson-Staub said Falmouth does not.
“I don’t believe we have a larger number of them, but the housing opportunities for them are very, very limited,” he said.
Board member Samuel H. Patterson said the updated funding priority list mirrors the needs listed in the town’s 2019 housing production plan.
“It really reflects what we have been advised are the priorities we need to focus on,” Mr. Patterson said.