About Eastham Affordable Housing Trust
Funding for the Housing Trust’s support programs is provided through the Community Preservation Act (CPA).
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a state law, MGL c.44B, that was enacted in 2000. Eastham adopted the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in 2005. It creates a way for communities to raise and set aside funds for community preservation projects. These projects can include opens space conservation, outdoor recreation, historic preservation, and community housing. Eastham generates CPA funds through a local real property tax surcharge of 3 percent. There is also a variable distribution from the state Community Preservation Trust Fund.
The use of CPA funds are reviewed annually by the local CPA Committee which makes funding recommendations annually to the Town Meeting.
The housing support programs are made possible through the ongoing support of the Eastham community.
I. Eastham Affordable Housing Trust Vision Statement
The purpose of the Trust shall be to provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the Town of Eastham for the benefit of low and moderate income households.
Recognizing this purpose and the Housing Needs Assessment/Housing Production Plan prepared for the Board of Selectmen in February 2010, the Eastham Affordable Housing Trust adopted a formal vision statement for the direction of future Trust activities on August 2, 2011. The Housing Needs Assessment/Housing Production Plan was revised in March 2016.
The Affordable Housing Trust’s efforts and projects will include but are not limited to:
- Engage the community in discussions which will build support for affordable housing and dispel myths and negative attitudes about such projects.
- Seek out existing market housing which can be modified into affordable home units with long-term affordable housing restrictions.
- Foster development of affordable housing, on available municipal property and appropriate infill lots, that is both in context with the surrounding neighborhood and sensitive to the environment.
- Encourage the increase of affordable units in private development that meet local housing goals.
- Support the Eastham Housing Authority efforts to secure and provide more rental housing opportunities.
- Work with the Eastham Board of Selectmen, Planning Board and the Local Comprehensive Planning Committee to insure inclusion of future long term affordable housing needs.
- Work with the Eastham Business Community to identify needs for Workforce Housing
- Continue to seek out available Commonwealth, Federal or other funding sources which will provide capital for projects related to affordable housing.
- Create innovative programs and make use of existing methods in an effort to financially assist low and moderate income homebuyers, homeowners and renters.
II. Roles and Responsibilities of the Affordable Housing Trust
The Eastham Affordable Housing Trust was created with the approval of Town meeting on May 5, 2008 and a declaration of Trust was signed on October 6, 2009, pursuant to the provisions of G.L. c.44 Section 55C. The purpose of the Trust shall be to provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the Town for the benefit of low and moderate income households. The Trust is managed by a Board of Trustees, made up of members of five (5) appointees, who initiate programs and appropriate funds for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Eastham. The Trust may solicit and accept grants, gifts, devises and bequests or otherwise acquire real or personal property, in such a manner as the Trustees shall deem most appropriate to carry out such purpose, provided however, that all property comprising this Trust and the net earnings thereof shall be used only in the Town exclusively for the benefit of all of the inhabitants of the Town for the creation and preservation of affordable housing for which the Trust was formed and no part of the activities of the Trust shall consist of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation or participation in or intervention in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office and no part of net earnings of this Trust shall inure or be payable to or for the benefit of any private individual or corporation.
Details of the Trust are as follows:
- Management of the Trust – Administered by a Board of Trustees (the “Trustees”) which includes five (5) trustees, are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Trustees serve for a term not to exceed two (2) years and may be re-appointed at the discretion of the Board of Selectmen. A quorum of the Board of Trustees shall be the majority of the Trustees, qualified and present in person. A majority of the Trust may exercise any and all powers of the Trustees and may execute on behalf of the Trustees any and all instruments with the same effect as though executed by all the Trustees.
- Powers of Trustees – As stated in the Declaration of the Trust dated October 6, 2009, the Trustees may undertake any activity that would create and preserve affordable housing for the benefit of low and moderate income households. Their powers include, but are not limited to, the right to receive, purchase, and convey real or personal property; to exchange deeds, contracts, and various other legal documents in connection with the Trust’s activities; to employ and compensate advisors and agents; to conduct itself in its discretion with respect to legal claims by or against the Trust; to manage or improve real property and to abandon property when the Trustees deem advisable; and to extend the time for payment of any obligation to the Trust.
- Legal Status of the Trust – The Trust is deemed to be a public employer and municipal agency pursuant to MGL Chapter 268A. Likewise, Trustees are classified under the Act as public employees and special municipal employees, also in accordance with the terms of MGL Chapter 268A. As a governmental body, the Trust must comply with the open meeting requirements set forth under MGL Chapter 39 and is likewise subject to MGL Chapter 40, Section 15A and MGL Chapter 30B with the exception that agreements and conveyances between a Trust and other public instrumentalities are excluded from the application of Chapter 30B.
- Community Preservation Act (CPA) – Section 2 of Chapter 491 of the Acts of 2004, “Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund” bill (effective April 7, 2005) amended Section 5 of the Community Preservation Act (MGL Chapter 44B) by giving cities and towns the right to appropriate money from the Community Preservation Act funds into an Affordable Housing Trust. Funds paid to the AHTF are specifically limited to affordable housing purposes and not for general administrative expenses.
- Non-Community Preservation Act Funding – From time to time and as provided by the Town, the Trust may have funding for its mission and programs that has a source other than the CPA. These funds must be used to support the mission and defined programs of the Trust, but are not required to meet the CPA funding guidelines.
III. Guiding Principles
Eastham’s Affordable Housing Trust and the Board of Selectmen adopted the following guiding principles for pursuing affordable housing opportunities in May and August 2015, respectively:
1. Increase housing opportunities to those who live and/or work in the community, by prioritizing opportunities that support its local citizenry and that serve a range of local housing needs – even if the units may not be eligible for inclusion in the state Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI).
2. Develop year-round affordable rental units to serve Eastham’s most financially vulnerable residents including its service workers.
3. Identify properties that have reduced or nominal acquisition costs.
4. Support the subsidization of rental housing and the subsidization of infrastructure and utilities for new housing developments.
5. Maximize opportunities within Eastham’s built environment by prioritizing projects that convert existing housing into affordable units (accessory apartments, small in fill developments, buy-down initiatives).
6. Develop projects that serve a wide range of housing needs including families, single occupants, seniors and special needs populations.
7. Encourage a diversity of housing types including clustered mixed-income and scattered single and multi-family units.
 Created pursuant to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 44, Section 55C.