WILLIAMSTOWN -- While a partnership may be in the future for two local groups focused on creating affordable housing, the two entities agree the time isn’t yet right for such a collaboration.
At its meeting Thursday night, the Affordable Housing Committee discussed the possibility of coordinating with Higher Ground, as both groups move ahead with assessing potential locations for affordable housing. The discussion was a continuation of one that took place about a week ago at a joint meeting between the Affordable Housing Committee and Higher Ground.
Charles Bonenti, a member of the Affordable Housing Committee, said if the site Higher Ground plans to assess for housing shows promise, then the committee might want to consider taking it under its umbrella.
"That seems to me the logical thing to do," he said.
The discussion about the site had been between Williams College and Higher Ground, not the college and the Affordable Housing Committee, he said.
The location -- behind Proprietor’s Field on Church Street, abutting Stetson Road -- is being considered by Higher Ground for disaster replacement housing exclusively for residents of The Spruces Mobile Home Park who lost their homes to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28, 2011. Higher Ground, a nonprofit formed after Irene, recently received a $20,000 pre-development grant from the Rural Local Initiative Support Corp. to put toward securing
"My understanding is when Higher Ground has exhausted all of our resources, we’re done. Right now, we haven’t exhausted all of our resources," Robin Lenz, coordinator for Higher Ground, said Friday.
In the meantime, it’s important that Higher Ground and the Affordable Housing Committee continue to work as hard as they can with the resources they have, she said.
Catherine Yamamoto, chairwoman of the Affordable Housing Committee, said each group should keep going on the paths they’re already on.
"What we’re doing is complementing what Higher Ground is doing," she said.
While Higher Ground focuses on determining the feasibility of a particular site for housing, the Affordable Housing Committee will forge ahead with its broader agenda, she said. That agenda includes determining the feasibility of other sites and ways other than construction that can help make living in Williamstown affordable, she said.
"If the Higher Ground site is found to be feasible, then we will be pleased to partner with Higher Ground to bring that project to completion," she said.
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