Editor’s Note: The following story appeared on the Mass Housing web site on May 10, 2019
Treehouse at Easthampton Meadow is a unique, supportive multigenerational community where families who are fostering or who have recently adopted children through the Department of Children and Families live alongside older adults who volunteer with the youth 6-10 hours each week.
The 60-unit rental community in Easthampton, part of the larger Easthampton Meadow developed by Beacon Communities, was permitted in part under Chapter 40B, the Commonwealth’s regional planning law. MassHousing provided $5.2 million in financing for Treehouse at Easthampton Meadow and the adjacent Homes at Easthampton Meadow.
In addition to its unique supportive model, Treehouse at Easthampton Meadow features sustainable development principles such as deeded open space, higher density development, a walking/pedestrian system and energy efficient homes.
Treehouse at Easthampton Meadow offers 60 apartment homes, comprised of 48 one-bedroom cottages for people ages 55 and older, and 12 multi-bedroom townhouses for families. Of the 12 family townhomes, six are affordable and six are rented at market rates. All of the one-bedroom apartments are affordable.
A vibrant Community Center serves as the heart of the community, providing space for neighborhood gatherings, social, educational and community building activities and support services. It includes a Library/Computer Center, commercial kitchen, a multipurpose activity room, and office space for Beacon Residential Management, Treehouse Foundation and the Berkshire Center for Families and Children, a licensed child welfare agency that provides daily on-site support to children and families as well as the elders who support them. There are also two playgrounds and a community garden.
The Treehouse community received broad support from the City of Easthampton, the Department of Children and Families, and the Commonwealth’s affordable housing agencies. The state agencies recognized the innovative and cost-effective approach to providing housing as well as programs and services for seniors, families, and children in the public foster care system.
A Better World Is Possible is a mostly weekly Indy feature that offers snapshots of creative undertakings, community experiments, innovative municipal projects, and excursions of the imagination that suggest possible interventions for the sundry challenges we face in our communities. The feature complements our regular column by Boone Shear – Becoming Human. Have you seen creative approaches to community problems or examples of things that other communities do to make life better for their residents that you think we should be talking about? Send your observations/suggestions to email@example.com. See previous posts here.