At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman, Ward 3 City Councilor Melvin Edwards, Ward 4 City Councilor Malo Brown and City Council President Marcus Williams first introduced the legislation earlier this year with the support of Mayor Domenic J. Sarno.
The legislation establishes a 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 will 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 be put towards repair grants for eligible homeowners, with future sources of funds possible from CDBG, revolving loans, and general funds. Once appointed, the Fund’s Advisory Committee will begin working with the Springfield Redevelopment Authority to move the initiative forward.
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 investment in housing at every level. The Housing Trust Fund will serve as a catalyst for investment in our neighborhoods, and bring residents, community organizations, and municipal government to the same table to benefit Springfield residents for generations to home.”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “I want to commend 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 to move this important initiative forward. This investment in our neighborhoods will help to address the housing needs of our residents and reaffirms my Administration'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, “I am delighted that the Housing Trust Fund received final passage. 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 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.”