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 for up to three months to Watertown renters not receiving other government rental assistance and 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-923-3505 ext. 5). Applications are due to Metro West Collaborative by Thursday, September 24. For more details, see this flyer and the program guidelines.
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.
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.
Fair Housing: State and Federal laws require municipalities and private entities to take steps to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing. Click here (PDF) to see a training handout on this topic specifically designed for municipal Boards, Commissions and staff.
Karina Milchman, Chief Housing Planner with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, gave a presentation on housing issues to the Housing Partnership on October 23, 2018. Click here to see the slides.
The Town Council Committee on Human Services is exploring affordable housing programs. Click here to see a PowerPoint presentation on Accessory Dwelling Units by James Freas, Deputy Director, Newton Department of Planning & Development. Click here to see Waltham’s 2018 Application for Security Deposit Assistance.
New Affordable Unit Lottery
Fifteen affordable rental units at 330-350 Pleasant Street will be available through a lottery process during fall 2020 The public info session will be October 6, the application deadline November 3, and the lottery on November 16.
Five of the units will be available to households at or below 65% of AMI and ten units at or below 80% of AMI. For more information, including access to the public info session and application forms, see https://sebhousing.com/property/watertown-watermills/ and/or call SEB Housing at 617-782-6900x1).
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.
Affordable Set Aside Percentage: Watertown’s affordable set-aside percentage for private residential development projects that create 6 or more units or more than 5 lots is 15.0%, with affordability in two parts. Click here (PDF) to see the Town Council approved zoning text.
To learn more about the Town’s Affordable Housing Requirements, download this explanatory guide (PDF).
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:
Revised Citizen Participation Plan (PDF): The Citizen Participation Plan for the Annual Action Plan and Consolidated Plan.
2014 HOME Project: St. Joseph Hall
Housing Production Plan
The Town, MetroWest Collaborative Development, Inc., and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council worked in 2013 to develop a Housing Production Plan funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities Program and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development Priority Development Fund.
What is a Housing Production Plan?
A “Housing Production Plan” is a document that is approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development and includes the following elements:
- An assessment of our community's housing needs based on an understanding of population trends and regional growth factors
- A numerical goal of units to produce annually
- An appropriate mix of housing types
- Steps for meeting our goals
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.