Housing

News

Lottery for Affordable Condos at  The Beacon: Four deed-restricted affordable condos are available for sale at The Beacon, 101 N. Beacon Street.  One 1-BR unit at $235,500 and three 2-BR units at $255,100.  The info meeting is August 5, application deadline is September 8 and lottery on September 15.  For income limits and contact info, read this flyer.

Watertown Housing Plan.  The Town Council approved a new Housing Plan on March 23, 2021.  The Council's Committees on Economic Development & Planning and Human Services will review proposals to implement the Plan's recommended strategies.  The Watertown Housing Partnership developed the Plan, which covers the years 2021 through 2025.  

Fair Housing Complaints. Federal and state law prohibit housing discrimination based on membership in a protected class such as race, gender, and familial status. The Town of Watertown does not have the resources or expertise to directly investigate, mediate or settle complaints for fair housing in the community.  Nevertheless, the Town would like to assist aggrieved parties in addressing any discrimination in the Town and would like to gather information on complaints brought to its attention.  If you have a fair housing complaint, you can file the complaint at the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination.  The Town also encourages you to provide information to us so that we can note any patterns of discrimination and determine, if possible, how the complaint has been resolved.    Providing information on this form is purely voluntary.

Fair Housing Plan: The WestMetro HOME Consortium (described below) released its Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing for public comment on November 24, 2020 and its final report on April 4, 2021.  The plan can be read here.

Emergency rental assistance available for income-qualified Watertown renters
The Watertown Housing Partnership has set up an Emergency Rental Assistance Program for Watertown renters who have lost income and are having trouble paying rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This assistance is temporary and will provide assistance to eligible Watertown renters earning below 80% of Area Median Income. Assistance is for up to $750 for a 1-bedroom apartment, $950 for a 2-bedroom apartment, and $1,150 for a 3-bedroom apartment. Anyone interested in applying should contact Robyn Rufo at Metro West Collaborative directly for an application (robyn@metrowestcd.org or 617-923-3505 ext. 5). Eligible renters are being accepted by Metro West Collaborative on a first come-first serve basis while funds are available.  

Spring 2021 Updates on State’s Eviction Diversion Initiative: The Baker-Polito Administration announced updates to its Eviction Diversion Initiative in March and April 2021.  The initiative provides a combination of rental assistance money, mediation and other measures to keep tenants in their homes.   The initiative includes a “two tier process” to mediate disputes first, and the COVID-19 Eviction Legal Help Project (CELHP), a substantial expansion of free legal help for low-income tenants as well as low-income owner-occupants of 2-3 family properties navigating the eviction process has started. These services can be used before the eviction process begins, as well as once a notice has been received, and can be used in coordination with the mediation services already rolled out.  For more information:  https://evictionlegalhelp.org/. Households can also call 2-1-1, and learn more at www.mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp. Eligible tenants and landlords should seek help as soon as possible, before a court filing occurs.

Housing Resources

Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Services available: Watertown partners with Cambridge Neighborhood Apartment Housing Services, Inc. (CNAHS) to provide foreclosure prevention counseling services to Watertown residents. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, call CNAHS at 617-491-1545. https://www.cambridgenahs.org/

Shelter Directory:  Click here to see a list of shelters for men, women, families and youth as produced by Health Care Without Walls, a charitable organization based in Wellesley, MA.

About the Watertown Planning Office 

The Planning Office is charged with overseeing the Town’s Affordable Housing Requirements (section 5.07 of the Watertown Zoning Ordinance), administering the HOME Investment Partnership Program funds, providing staff support to the Watertown Housing Partnership, and coordinating other housing-related projects and programs.

About the Watertown Housing Partnership

The Watertown Housing Partnership (WHP) is a policy body, whose volunteer members are appointed by the Town Manager to oversee the development and preservation of affordable housing in Watertown. Membership is at least five (5) persons.

With support from the Planning staff, the responsibilities of the WHP include assisting in the administration of the Town’s Inclusionary Zoning provision, HOME funds via the WestMetro HOME Consortium, and administration of the Affordable Housing Development Fund, as well as affordable housing advocacy.

The WHP regular public meetings are scheduled to be held on the third Tuesday of every month in the Town Administration Building, 149 Main Street, beginning at 6:00 PM. Check the Town’s Website for confirmation and/or updates.  Agendas and minutes are available on the Town website.

Members are: Fred Reynolds, Chair, Century 21 Commonwealth, 161 Mount Auburn St; Clifford Cook. 21 French St; Torey Dean, Watertown Savings Bank. 25 Angela Lane; Michael Lara, Watertown Housing Authority. 55 Waverley Ave; David Leon,145 Russell Ave; and Helen E. Oliver, 16 Malden St.

About the WestMetro HOME Consortium

The WestMetro HOME Consortium provides funding and technical assistance to its 14 member communities to support local and regional affordable housing goals. In addition to Watertown, the HOME Consortium communities include Newton (lead member), Bedford, Belmont, Brookline, Concord, Framingham, Lexington, Lincoln, Natick, Needham, Sudbury, Waltham, and Wayland.

Since 1992, the Consortium has provided grants and loans of HOME funds to for-and non-profit developers and directly to low-income households to create over 550 units of affordable housing within the Consortium member communities.

HOME Program Plans:

West Metro HOME Consortium Consolidated Plan 

FY2021 Annual Action Plan 

Revised Citizen Participation Plan (PDF): The Citizen Participation Plan for the Annual Action Plan and Consolidated Plan.

St. Joseph Hall

2014 HOME Project: St. Joseph Hall

About Metro West Collaborative Development

Watertown works closely with Metro West Collaborative Development, a private, non-profit located at 79-B Chapel Street, Newton, MA 02458 to develop affordable housing. To learn more about their affordable housing programs, visit the MWCD website.

Metro West Collaborative Housing Clinics:  MWCD offers housing clinics on filling out applications, information on new vacancies, and the overall affordable housing process.  Click here for the flyer.