Aid for Leverett home-buyers

Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 06, 2016

LEVERETT – Three families were be selected Wednesday for a program in which the town of Leverett will provide them financial help to buy homes in the community.

A lottery was to be held at at 1 p.m., after the Bulletin’s deadline, in the Town Hall to choose the families for three slots in the Leverett Homeownership Assistance Program, using $160,000 in Community Preservation Act money appropriated at last year’s annual Town Meeting. 

Administered by the Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority in Turners Falls, the program is designed to make sure families making at or below 100 percent of the median income have the opportunity to buy their own homes, said Pam Parmakian, director of community development for the regional authority.

“The intent is to fill the slots and have a household stabilized,” Parmakian said before the event. She said the authority received seven applications, including five from local families and two from the general public.

Local families are those already living or working in town, or who have relatives in Leverett.

Select Board member Julie Shively said in an email that those selected at the lottery will have six months to find and close on a home in Leverett, a deadline that can be extended for certain reasons. If a family is unable to make a purchase, the next available family not chosen at the lottery would have the opportunity to do so.

The purchase price of the house cannot exceed $250,000 and the town will pay $50,000, or 20 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. In exchange, a provision is added to the deed restricting sale of the house to a low-income eligible buyer in perpetuity, Shively said. 

Any major improvements to the home have to be approved by the Select Board.

While the homes the families buy are not counted toward the state’s Subsidized Housing Inventory list, Parmakian said Leverett has found a creative way to make sure residents of limited means can buy homes in Leverett.

“Communities are coming up with good solutions for home ownership programs,” Parmakian said, noting the Leverett program is based on one in Yarmouth.

One family already went through the process last year, using $50,000 the town made available for the program from a different source.

Parmakian said the housing authority will continue to accept applications, though it is uncertain if and when a family would get to enter the process.