Housing Partnership Signs Off on Winterberry Way Project

February 23, 2024

Christina Wilgren, Chair of the Bedford Housing Partnership, opened the Feb. 20 meeting with this enthusiastic comment: “And the next item is 23 Winterberry Way – very exciting.”

She was referring to the lengthy process by which the town, via the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, purchased the three-bedroom home in December 2022 and then sold it to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell. After cleanup of the home, which was in need of serious repair,  Habitat is beginning renovation so the home can be offered to a qualified buyer. The town’s intent from the beginning of this project nearly two years ago was to retain the home in Bedford’s inventory of affordable housing. 

The Partnership has been involved in all stages of the project from the beginning, culminating in a unanimous vote on Tuesday night to support  23 Winterberry Way as a LIP (local initiative project) application and to sign off on a letter of support,  which now goes to the Select Board for their signature.

Elizabeth Garber, Board President of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell, was at Tuesday’s meeting to outline the next stages of getting the home ready for occupancy. She acknowledged that the home “really was in rough shape.” Garber said, speaking about a project completion date, “we would hope for occupancy in early 2025.”

Garber outlined the many ways that the community can be involved in rehabbing the home. She said there are opportunities for individuals, businesses, and local organizations – faith groups, service clubs, etc. – to join with Habitat for Humanity for a “Build Day.”

There was a similar Habitat project in Bedford a little more than a decade ago, with a high level of participation in the building of Carter Way.  Writing in the July 7, 2012 issue of The Bedford Citizen, Lee Vorderer reported, “After years of planning, negotiation, and hard work, the Habitat for Humanity project in Bedford is nearly complete….It’s been a wonderful effort from first-to-last – lots of contributions of materials and money, lots of commitment from Town Boards and the Habitat administration, and lots of hours from volunteers from Bedford, students and faculty from Shawsheen Regional Technical High School, and companies in the area have resulted in new homes for eight families…”

Similar opportunities will be available once again for townspeople once the renovations are underway.  

Garber also reviewed the buyer selection process. Notices will be posted in various media – in multiple languages – seeking buyers who must meet certain criteria, primarily the need for adequate and affordable shelter. Family income must fall within 30-to-60 percent of the area median income. Applicants must also be willing to put in “sweat equity” and participate in the work. When completed, a lottery, administered by the Regional Services Housing Office (RHSO), will be held to select a buyer from the qualified applicants. Residents of any of the 15 towns served by Habitat are eligible to apply.

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Richard D Punko
February 23, 2024 10:37 pm

i am interested in purchasing this home and believe i am qualified for it.

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