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Working the Amherst Housing Puzzle: A Community Problem Solving Forum: Wednesday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. 

Published on October 19, 2017 by Farah Ameen Community News

 

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During the past 10-15 years, Amherst has lost an estimated 800 households with children under 18, according to US Census data.  Significant numbers of homeless individuals are served each year by local service providers, but rarely placed in housing. Barriers to developing new affordable housing in Amherst for both individuals and families often appear insurmountable.  What can Amherst do?

These are the issues to be addressed by this Forum by bringing together persons from both within and outside Amherst to lend their knowledge and experience to these issues.  But most important, this is a convening of the community to discuss and develop ideas about what can be done to make changes.

This is a collaboration of the Amherst League of Women Voters, the Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, Valley Community Development Corporation, and the Unitarian-Universality Society of Amherst. It is set for Wednesday, October 25, 7 P.M. in the Social Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Society, 121 N. Pleasant St, Amherst.

 

The form will be organized into three parts:

(1) An introduction and presentation of what the Trust and the Town are doing to address issues of both affordable housing and homelessness in the past year.

(2) This will be followed by a panel presentation on the development of a small, studio apartment building in Amherst to serve the needs of persons who have very low incomes or are homeless.

(3) The final segment will break the larger group into five smaller groups to discuss actions that could be taken to further address these problems.  They are as follows:

  1. Studio Apartments: Continued discussion.
  2. Encouraging and Supporting Development: How can Amherst best leverage available resources to maximize affordable housing? What are the barriers to affordable housing: What changes are needed?
  3. Preventing homelessness: outreach counselors – small investment for significant returns; useful models, effective strategies
  4. Finding homes: recruiting landlords; caseworkers to assist individuals and families in getting housed; useful models, effective strategies
  5. Changing the Amherst housing market: Developing Town and University policies to assure greater access to housing.

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