Bedford’s New Economic Director Meets with Housing Trust on Winterberry Way Home Sale

May 16, 2024

Eric Salerno, Bedford’s newly appointed Housing and Economic Development Director, only started work on Monday, but he is already in the thick of housing issues with Wednesday’s meeting of the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust. Retiring Director Jeff King attended the meeting as well.  King will be in town until June in order to complete some upcoming projects, including the Arts and Music Festival on June 15.

The Trust met to consider actions related to the upcoming sale of the town-owned affordable home at 19 Winterberry Way. King said, “This is a housing preservation project and one of the advantages is it will be sold to an eligible family and will have a deed rider added to preserve it (as affordable) in perpetuity.”

Unlike the sale of 23 Winterberry Way, in which the town bought the property and then resold it to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation, this three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath property with single car garage will be sold outright in “as is” condition. The owner has lived in the property since it was built in 1997. It is one of 10 affordable units in the development that the town wishes to preserve in its inventory of properties. As the Trust Chair Christina Wilgren mentioned, only 10 percent of Bedford’s affordable properties are owned as opposed to rented.

Liz Rust of the Regional Housing Services Office, the entity that oversees affordable properties in Bedford, explained that the property is in good condition, unlike 23 Winterberry that required a significant investment in renovation, but said the roof has never been replaced and is nearing the end of its life.  Rust requested a $30,000 contribution from the Trust for a new roof. This would be arranged through a similar program to the Small Grant program in which owners and renters of affordable properties may apply for funds to make necessary repairs to their property.

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The Trust moved “to authorize the Trust to fund up to $30,000 for the purpose of buying down the resale price for a property at 19 Winterberry Way so as to preserve the property as an affordable, restricted home in perpetuity under the EOHLC LIP program and to make repairs as necessary.”  The motion passed unanimously.

The purpose of the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust is to work towards the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Bedford for the benefit of low and moderate-income householders. There are currently  two vacancies on the Trust. Interested residents may apply to the Volunteer Coordinating Committee.

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