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Local Officials Celebrate New Affordable Housing in Brewster, Say More Units are Critically Needed

May 9, 2023

ribbon cutting

Brewster, MA- Local officials, partners and residents celebrated the completion of 30 affordable rental units this morning at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Brewster Woods development at 30-40 Brewster Woods Drive.

State Sen. Julian Cyr (D-Truro) was the keynote speaker, noting that while it was a moment to celebrate, the region is in an ongoing housing crisis that is forcing residents to leave Cape Cod in search of housing they can afford.

“Brewster Woods has changed the lives of the 30 Cape Cod households that now live here, and that’s a wonderful thing,” said Cyr. “Yet Cape Cod’s future as a year-round community is in serious jeopardy. The absurd cost of housing on Cape Cod and the Islands is eroding our communities, forcing our workforce to commute from over the bridge and pricing out year-round families. We need to build more developments like Brewster Woods, and we need to build them now.”  

Brewster Woods was developed in a partnership between nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and Housing Assistance and serves low- and moderate-income households. The development features 8 one-bedroom, 19 two-bedroom, and 3 three-bedroom units and is Passive House. Passive House design focuses on robust insulation and air tightness, high-performing glazing, and simplified mechanical systems to achieve significantly lower energy use while creating a comfortable and resilient space for residents. The complex also includes off-street parking, central laundry, tenant storage, on-site management & 24-hour emergency maintenance.

Monthly rents, including utilities, are $1,223 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,468 for a two-bedroom apartment. There are seven units (including the 3 three-bedroom units) with Section 8 PBV (Project Based Voucher) subsidies.

Officials who attended the event emphasized the need for more housing developments that serve low- and moderate-income Cape residents.

“Brewster Woods is an important step toward filling a huge need – affordable rentals for Cape Cod’s workers and seniors who live here year-round,” said Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Magnotta. “This development adds to the hundreds of units Housing Assistance has already brought online that provide safe, affordable places for Cape Codders to live in a region gripped by a protracted housing crisis. Cape Cod cannot thrive without projects like Brewster Woods, and I urge other towns to follow Brewster’s lead.”  

“Brewster Woods is a model for how public-private partnerships can work to advance affordable housing,” said POAH President and CEO Aaron Gornstein. “We are excited to create these much-needed housing opportunities for families in Brewster and the neighboring towns.”

Magnotta added, “it takes committed partners and financial investment from across local, state and federal entities to make a housing development like Brewster Woods come to fruition. The Town of Brewster stands out as a leader in being willing to invest in a collaborative effort to ensure a successful project that serves local residents.

Also speaking at the event were Clark Ziegler, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership; Ned Chatelain of the Brewster Select Board; and Dorothy Anderson, a resident of Brewster Woods.

Brewster Woods is the most recent POAH-Housing Assistance project to be completed on Cape Cod. The two nonprofits have partnered on nine housing projects over the last 15 years, building a total 214 units to-date. Housing Assistance and POAH have another 126 units in the pipeline, including a 45-unit project proposed for Millstone Road in Brewster. The two nonprofits are also working on a 39-unit development in Mashpee.

Funding sources for the Brewster Woods project included a $1.68 million state MassWorks grant, a $2.4 million loan from Massachusetts Housing Partnership, $7.3 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity from Bank of America, a $7 million construction loan from Bank of America, $1 million in Affordable Housing Trust Funds from MassHousing, $1 million in financing from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), $750,000 in local and state HOME funding, and $255,000 in Brewster Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. The Town of Brewster, through the Brewster Select Board, waived its standard building permit fees for the project.

The general contractor for the Brewster Woods project was Delphi Construction of Mashpee. CC Construction of South Dennis completed the infrastructure improvements prior to the start of construction.