Update on Real Property/Reuse Matters: The Planning Department submitted an update on the items before the Real Property/Reuse Committee:

  • West Newton Armory: Due to delay in selection of consultant, and the inability for the consultant to produce a feasibility study by the State’s June 30th deadline, the City requested and received an extension until the end of the year to inform the State on its decision to purchase the Armory. The JAPG Working Group will extend its term which was set to expire by May 30, 2020 to November 30, 2020.
  • Countryside Road-Baldpate Water Tower: The Planning Department is investigating whether the parcel is a “buildable lot” and will provide an update in September.
  • Bracket Road Request for Bids: The Planning Department and Purchasing Department are working to solicit bids for the parcel and will provide an update in September.

Update on City of Newton COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program: The Planning Department provided the following update to the City Council regarding the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program:

  • There were 597 email and 219 phone inquiries (some duplicative)
  • 240 applications were entered into a lottery generating a waitlist – approximately 55% are people of color – 27% Hispanic/Latino, 15% Black/African American, 10% Asian, 4% Other Multi-Racial, 10% left the question blank, and 35% White. The majority of applications that have been processed thus far are for households at or below 65% AMI, and the majority of those applicants are at or below 30% AMI.
  • MetroWest who is administering the program, is still accepting applications (why isn’t this advertised?) and these applications will be placed at the bottom of the waitlist
  • Priority is given to households at or below 65% AMI
  • Of the 240 applicants, 150 will receive assistance in July – average rent is $2000 – average assistance amount of $1,400 (70% of the $2,000 median rent), or $210,000 of direct financial assistance awarded in the first month in which CDBG funds will be used to cover these awards.
  • The full amount of assistance that will likely be awarded to these first 150 households is $630,000 ($210,000 at three months of assistance). This represents approximately 27% of the total program budget of $2,312,500 for direct financial assistance. They estimate by the end of July, approximately 50% of the program budget will still be available.
  • The Planning Department plans to conduct additional outreach starting in mid-July to solicit additional applications for the program.