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Councilor Lederman, Colleagues Introducing Legislation to Create Housing Trust Fund

Four Springfield City Councilors are planning to introduce legislation establishing a Springfield Housing Trust Fund with the support of Mayor Domenic Sarno.

At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman, Ward 3 City Councilor Melvin Edwards, City Council President & Ward 5 Councilor Marcus Williams, and Ward 4 City Councilor Malo Brown will introduce the legislation before the end of the year.

The proposed legislation would establish a Springfield Housing Trust Fund under the administration of the Springfield Redevelopment Authority with the purpose of providing for the creation, preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive rehabilitation of housing in the City of Springfield. An Advisory Committee including resident appointments and experts in the housing, non-profit, real estate, and finance fields would advise on the goals and initiatives of the fund.

Potential projects of the trust fund could include grants to eligible homeowners for exterior and foundational repairs, revolving loan programs for the rehabilitation of blighted property, and incentives for the construction and adaptive rehabilitation of new housing. Initial funding is expected to come from American Rescue Plan dollars, and future sources of funds could come from CDBG, revolving loans, and general funds.

At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman, lead sponsor of the ordinance, states: “COVID-19 laid bare the challenges our community faces when it comes to housing, and recent studies show the need for improved housing options at every level. The Housing Trust Fund will serve as a catalyst for investment in our neighborhoods, from supporting homeowners with needed exterior and foundational repairs, to supporting the construction, rehabilitation, and adaptive rehabilitation of blighted property to increase opportunities for homeownership and create high quality housing options at all levels to benefit Springfield residents for generations to home.”

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “I commend and thank Councilors Jesse Lederman, Melvin Edwards, Malo Brown and Council President Marcus Williams for their leadership and working with Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, SRA Director Amanda Pham, the SRA Board of Directors and my Administration on moving this vital and much-needed project and initiative forward. This initiative supports and addresses what my Administration has been hearing through the citywide ARPA listening sessions, which as of today we have held 25 meetings with our neighborhood councils and local organizations, non-profits and agencies – a need to enhance and support our neighborhood homes. This proactive measure will help address the housing needs for eligible homeowners and will greatly benefit families and reaffirms the City of Springfield’s continued commitment to preserving and rehabilitating our housing stock and tackling blighted properties in our neighborhoods.”

Ward 3 City Councilor Melvin Edwards stated, “We know first hand in Ward 3 the importance of ensuring all our families have access to safe and high quality housing and homeownership opportunities, and the importance of making sure that our neighbors who have invested for years in their properties are able to continue to stay there. This Housing Trust Fund will allow us to build upon progress already made and guarantee continued investment in the foundational resource that is housing.”

City Council President Marcus Williams stated, “Springfield has always been the City of Homes and now it is time to take a more proactive approach to preserve and produce that stock. The Housing Trust Fund will address critical housing needs in our city and provide a wide array of resources for our residents. I am proud of this legislation and hope to garner the support needed for its passage.

Ward 4 City Councilor Malo Brown stated, “My district is home to some of the oldest housing stock in the city as well as some of the most recognized historic assets. The Housing Trust Fund will be an essential resource for my neighbors to rehabilitate and maintain these properties for the future.”

The Councilors plan to hold Sub-Committee meetings to gain additional feedback and insight from residents and community organizations prior final passage of the ordinance.

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