Issues & Analyses: Candidates For Town Council Weigh In On Housing Policy

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Source: Amherst Affordable Housing Advocacy Coaltion

The Amherst Affordable Housing Advocacy Coalition has asked all candidates for Town Council to respond to questions about their support for quality, affordable housing in Amherst.   All candidates responded and their responses have been posted on the Coalition’s web page. The responses are organized into six “blog posts”, one for at large candidates and one each for candidates for Districts 1-5.


The coalition posed the following six questions:  .

1. The draft Comprehensive Town Housing Policy calls for the development of 250 new affordable housing units for low-income individuals and families, including persons who do not have housing, persons of color, and persons who are older adults (over 60 years of age).  As a member of Town Council, would you support this goal and what would you do to assure implementation of this goal and others included in the draft plan?  3.a. Comprehensive Housing Policy – as recommended by CRC – 2021-07-27 – Post Council Revision.

2. Town-owned land can be an important resource in the development of affordable housing because the costs are reduced by employing this property.  The Amherst Affordable Municipal Housing Trust is considering plan for a low-income, homeownership development on Strong Street, which is Town-owned, and a rental development for older adults at Hickory Ridge Golf Course, which is expected to become Town-owned property in the next two months.  As a member of Town Council, would you support using these properties for affordable housing, and what would you do to assure implementation?

3. For many years single family houses in Amherst have been purchased by entrepreneurs who convert these to student rentals.  This has gradually eliminated many “starter” family homes for new families coming into Town.  As a member of Town Council, what would you do to change this direction?

4. The Town Council has adopted an ECAC goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.  Among the important elements of this would be weatherization and converting existing heating systems to more efficient systems that rely on heat pump technology, particularly for existing multi-unit buildings.  This is expected to improve the quality of heating, improve air quality, and reduce costs.  As a member of Town Council, would you support spending Town resources (e.g., American Rescue Plan funds) on meeting this goal, and what would you do to assure implementation?

The Amherst Affordable Housing Coalition was formed in 2018 to contribute to the development of public support for the work of the Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust. It is not a subcommittee of the Housing Trust, but an independent group that undertakes activities, which are outside the structure of Town Government. 

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