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New $50M fund aims to finance affordable housing in disadvantaged Massachusetts communities

$50M fund will provide financing to developers in disadvantaged communities
$50M fund will provide financing to developers in disadvantaged communities 02:39

BOSTON – With housing prices so high, it's extremely hard to find an affordable place to live in Boston. But that may soon change thanks to a new $50 million fund.

Adler Bernadin is working hard developing affordable housing projects throughout the City of Boston. 

He's co-owner of Norfolk Design & Construction, a minority-owned land development and construction firm. Bernadin said trying to develop affordable housing units hasn't been easy.

"It's been very challenging. As an emerging developer getting financing through banks is always a challenge," Bernadin said.

How to help Massachusetts housing crisis

Chrystal Kornegay of MassHousing told WBZ-TV, "the state has a housing crisis."

On Wednesday, MassHousing in partnership with Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation announced a new $50 million Equitable Developers Fund. The loan will provide enterprise level financing to active developers from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and communities.

"This is really like small business lending. We are trying to invest in your business so that you can be part of the solution as we approach the housing crisis in the Commonwealth," Kornegay said.

Funding aims to level the playing field

The fund is the largest publicly-led financing program of its kind in the country.

"This is the first time I've actually seen a program meet the time with the correct amount of resources. It's $50 million. It's a big number," said Moddie Turay, CEO of Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation.

Turay was asked how this could level the playing field.

"It is really looking at socially and economically disadvantaged companies and investing in them at their core, meaning your daily operations to help build capacity," Turay said.

Why funding affordable housing is critical

Colleen Fonseca is executive director of Builders of Color Coalition, a non-profit organization focusing on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in commercial restate for companies like Bernadin's.

"When we heard about this fund that would support developers of color especially in bringing more affordable housing to Massachusetts, we were really excited because we know there are many barriers that folks of color in our network face," Fonseca said.

Bernadin said his company is now working on 60 units in Boston. He said the Equitable Developers Fund will help complete the project.

"It's amazing and its critical," Bernadin said. "This will give me the opportunity to chase more affordable housing deals, land deals, as well as give us the opportunity to build our team and also to make an impact on the city."

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