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‘A place called home’–New apartments help address city’s affordable housing problems

Telegraph photo by ADAM URQUHART The first of four planned buildings featuring what the developer calls “workforce housing” is now open at the corner Marshall and East Hollis streets in Nashua.

NASHUA – Renters must cough up about $1,400 per month for a typical apartment in the Nashua area, according to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.

This statistic is for a two-bedroom unit, including utilities. However, the authority shows rent in Hillsborough County can sometimes approach $3,000 per month for those seeking a home with four bedrooms.

Some relief for stressed renters is now in place, however, as the first 40 of a planned 153 units of “workforce housing” are now open at the corner of Marshall and East Hollis streets.

Manchester-based developer Dick Anagnost of Anagnost Realty and Development said demand at the new Nashua complex was so high prior to its May 1 opening that 191 individuals applied for the 40 apartments. He said the remaining apartments should be open by October.

“The citizens of Nashua responded really, really well,” Anagnost told The Telegraph. “The city of Nashua is great to work with on it.”

Nashua Urban Programs Manager Carrie Schena said the city is very aware of the problems some have in finding rental units.

“The need for affordable housing always exceeds the supply,” Schena said.

Echoing her thoughts, Anagnost said the city’s demand is significantly higher than this project will fill. If he could find another piece of land that it would make sense to acquire and develop, he would jump on it.

“We’ve looked at a couple, but not been able to make a deal yet, but we’re looking,” Anagnost said.

The city provided HOME Investment Partnership Program funds to support the project. These are federal dollars Nashua receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.

Additionally, Anagnost is receiving housing tax credits from state agencies. These funding sources are designed to encourage development of affordable housing, while subsidizing a developer’s budget. The primary lender is a loan through the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. Schena said this helps bridge the funding gap for

development.

“I think it’s a wonderful example of how a lot of different funding sources can come together and do something good for the community – that was an otherwise unusable site,” Schena. “They were able to tap into resources to remediate and clean up the site and put in modern housing for families.”

Because of the tax credits used to help fund the project, applicants must not exceed a designated income limit. Anagnost said is 60% of median income.

Anagnost previously said the monthly rate for a one-bedroom unit at the complex ranges from about $900 to $1,060; a two-bedroom from about $1,080 to $1,270; and a three-bedroom could go for as high as $1,470. Parking will be available on the property.

Construction began late last summer, so it took developers about nine months from the start of work to get the first units open. The second building is tentatively scheduled to open next month, once the certificate of occupancy is secured. Anagnost said 27 of the 40 apartments in the second building have already been rented, while other applicants are being evaluated.

Anagnost said the third structure is being framed, with an anticipated August opening. Lastly, the fourth building’s foundation is in the ground, and is anticipated to open Oct. 1.

Schena said the new HUD income limits are about to be announced, but what’s in place right now for a family of four, is 60% of median income. This presently breaks down to about $62,880 per year.

She said a household can be defined in various ways, such as two working adults, or one working adult with three children, for example. However, she said the way HUD considers family size, this typically defaults to a four-person household when numbers are distributed.