The mission of Twin Pines Housing (TPH) is “to increase access to quality housing and supportive services to meet the pressing and long-term needs of the Upper Valley community.” The support they provide to their tenants and owners is key to the success and well-being of the residents and community. TPH works to provide low-moderate income housing with easy access to public transportation, employment opportunities and community facilities. They offer many programs for their residents that include gardening, wellness, and food sharing. TPH’s many partnerships with local organizations allow for a wider range of support such as access to Vermont’s Support and Services at Home Program (SASH Program).
CURRENT PROJECTS MADE POSSIBLE WITH CDFA FUNDS
Affordable Housing on Tracy Street – Downtown West Lebanon, NH
CDFA has awarded $400,000 in CDBG funds to develop affordable housing on Tracy Street in downtown West Lebanon, which is walkable to public transportation, employment, shopping, services, and the Kilton Library. This new 29 unit mixed-income project offers 1- and 2-bedroom apartments for all ages, incomes, and physical abilities, creating a diverse and vibrant downtown community.
The Village at Crafts Hill is a 40-year old housing development with 100 units in West Lebanon. All 100 households are low-to-moderate income. TPH was awarded funding from the USDA Rural Development’s Multi-Family Housing Preservation and Revitalization Restructuring Program in order to renovate the buildings for energy efficiency and other essential improvements. With these major renovations, residents will have to be relocated during construction, but USDA funds aren’t able to cover those costs, so CDFA awarded TPH $500,000 in CDBG funds for the costs associated with temporary relocation of residents.
Many Village residents have lived there for 20-30 years, and as they are aging, there is concern for decreasing mobility and isolation. Currently there are no accessible laundry facilities in the buildings – they are all located in the basement – so the accessible laundry facilities in the new community building will be a great asset for the residents. The building will also have a large community space for gatherings, classes, and programming, as well as a kitchen and office space. Programming will mostly focus on the 100 very low-income families* to include small group conversations, yoga classes, a pilot program for people in recovery, as well as a summer lunch program and literacy program for children. A popular program from another TPH location will be implemented at the new community building: “Crockpot Library” is a program where residents get together, share recipes and take their crockpot home loaded up and ready for the next day.
*when TPH purchased the village in 2015, the median household income was $17,000.
Growing community = increased needs
By the end of 2019, TPH will have doubled the number of rental units in their portfolio since 2012. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, a significant employer in the Upper Valley, is adding 120 beds and growing its workforce, which will result in more housing needs. Many of the service organizations that TPH has worked with on cutting edge projects and initiatives over the years have requested that TPH ‘take it to the next level.’
In order to build capacity to meet all these needs, a comprehensive strategic planning needs to occur. CDFA awarded TPH $29,094 in L5 Capacity Building tax credit funds to support a strategic planning process to enhance Twin Pines Housing’s opportunities for growth.
What makes CDFA’s programs so impactful?
Andrew Winter, Executive Director of TPH, noted that he appreciates the wide range of knowledge that CDFA has to offer, especially efforts to find creative solutions, like bridge financing, which allows the organization to begin the project before receiving CDFA funds*. Michelle Kersey, Director of Development and Communications for TPH, said she was especially thankful for the resources that CDFA provides, such as hosting information sessions and step-by-step support regarding the grant process. But most importantly, strengthening and building a stronger community in the Upper Valley has been realized because of the CDFA and its focus on building community.
*Tax credit funds aren’t available until 2020.
Affordable housing is just one necessary aspect of successful communities. TPH approaches the community needs in a holistic way, ensuring that all aspects of a successful, thriving community are in place and accessible to its residents. CDFA prides itself on working with community partners to develop vibrant and resilient communities. Twin Pines Housing is a perfect example of the synergistic partnerships that strengthen communities and enhance the quality of life here in New Hampshire.