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Ashland issues support for proposed Habitat for Humanity house at 487 Main Street

The Habitat for Humanity home proposed at 487 Main Street in Ashland would be similar to this home recently built in Sturbridge. Source: Ashland Select Board meeting, Feb. 21, 2024

Town’s portion would be covered by current 

Affordable Housing Trust funds

By Theresa Knapp 

At its meeting on Feb. 21, the Ashland Select Board voted unanimously to support a Habitat for Humanity home to be built at 487 Main Street. The agency will now gather the remaining documentation to file the 40B affordable housing application with the state. 

           Funding model image - Source: Ashland Select Board meeting, Feb. 21, 2024

Debbie Maruca Hoak, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity, shared a slide presentation with the board which gave an overview of Habitat for Humanity, and discussed the proposed home at 487 Main Street. Maruca Hoak said the house would be a three-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, single family 1,500 square foot house, with a septic and a well. 

“We have built that same house type a number of times,” said Maruca Hoak. “But we do try to match styles in the neighborhood so that the home blends well.” 

She said there was an abutters’ meeting in January but no abutters attended. 

Habitat for Humanity has a signed purchase and sale agreement with the current owner. That offer is contingent on the agency securing a building permit from the town. Construction would begin within 60 days of receiving the permit, and would likely take 15 months to complete. 

“We’ve met with Habitat many times over the years,” said Steven Greenberg, Chair of Ashland’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, after the presentation. “We’ve met with the owners and it seems like a very good project…I think this type of development would be an asset to the town.” 

Greenberg said the Affordable Housing Trust has the funds to cover the town’s portion, which is expected to be $120,000 to $170,000.  

Maruca Hoak said, “We back into the price of the home, we don’t set the house price up front and then require applicants to meet that price.” In addition to the town’s portion, the project would be built with corporate grants, in-kind fundraising, donations, and volunteer labor. She said, through its funding design, the home will stay affordable “in perpetuity.” 

As of the presentation date, the maximum selling price for the home was $280,000 but Maruca Hoak said, “In March or April, the new numbers will come out from HUD” which could change the price.  

The new homeowner would be chosen via Fair Housing Market Plan lottery, which will be open to anyone who meets the qualifications which include: 

- Buyer income 30% to 60% of area median

- First time home buyer

- Financial qualifications 

- 3% to 5% down payment 

The awardee must be willing to invest “sweat equity” into the project which will include 300 hours of education and physical work on the property.  

“I’m excited to see a Habitat house come to Ashland,” said Select Board member Brandi Kinsman.