Renew and Repair: Healthy, safe, and affordable homes in Massachusetts

The Neighborhood Hub Annual Symposium hosted by MassHousing (September 9, 16, 23 & 30)

The 2021 Neighborhood Symposium will bring together professionals from housing, public health, government and other fields for a series of in-depth conversations on topics of particular interest for Massachusetts' 26 Gateway Cities. They will take place virtually over four Thursdays in September:

  • Healthy & Affordable Homes - September 9
  • Underused Lots for Affordable Homes - September 16
  • Local & Regional Partnerships for Affordable Homes - September 23
  • Home Repairs, Rehabs & Remodels - September 30

Each session will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Healthy & Affordable Homes

September 9, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Agenda

  • 10:00-10:10 | Welcome & Introduction | Francis Goyes Flor, MassHousing
  • 10:10-10:30 | The Home Improvement Program (HIP) at HRI | Jennifer Jonassaint, Homeowner's Rehab, Inc.
  • 10:30-10:50 | Housing Data & Public Health | Dr. Katharine Robb, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative
  • 10:50-11:10 | The Neighborhood Hub in Holyoke: Project Progress | Aaron Vega, City of Holyoke
  • 11:10-11:30 | All Panelists Discussion
  • 11:30-11:45 | Announcements and Closing

Register for this and other sessions!

Speakers & Presenters

A photo of Jennifer Jonassaint, Program Manager, The Home Improvement Program (HIP) Jennifer Jonassaint, Program Manager, The Home Improvement Program (HIP)

A natural connector of people, Jennifer always had a deep passion for community and charitable work. Her personal inspiration stems from her Caribbean roots and a deep resolve for community change through impact, all of which led her to work in community development. As a Program Manager with decades of experience in community lending, financial counseling, coaching, education and mortgage foreclosure, her main role is secondary mortgage lender.

A photo of Katharine Robb, Postdoctoral Fellow, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Katharine Robb, Postdoctoral Fellow, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative

Katharine (Kate) Robb studies urban environmental health issues in the US and in low-resource settings abroad. She holds a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Masters in Global Environmental Health from Emory University. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

A photo of Aaron Vega, Director of of Planning and Economic Development, City of Holyoke Aaron Vega, Director of of Planning and Economic Development, City of Holyoke

Aaron served four terms as Holyoke's State Representative and before that, two terms as an at-large city councilor. At the Statehouse he worked hand-in-hand with the City Administration on legislative priorities that were included in two landmark Economic Development bills, land transactions, and innovative programming such as the Holyoke-specific liquor license program, and was a member of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis. While serving on the city council he Chaired the Redevelopment Committee and worked to keep his commitment to improve the quality of life for all Holyoke residents by strengthening ordinances while giving city departments and citizens the tools they need to address the many issues facing Holyoke.

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Underused Lots for Affordable Homes

September 16, 2021 - 10 :00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Agenda

  • 10:00-10:10 | Welcome & Introduction | Francis Goyes Flor, MassHousing
  • 10:10-10:30 | The Neighborhood Hub in Brockton: Project Progress | Robert Corley, Neighborworks Housing Solutions & Robert Jenkins
  • 10:30-10:50 | Small Lots: Development Ideas | Wandy Pascoal, Housing Innovation Design Fellow
  • 10:50-11:10 | Worcester Housing Authority | Jim Brooks, Director of Housing Development & Healthy Homes
  • 11:10-11:30 | All Panelists Discussion
  • 11:30-11:45 | Announcements and Closing

Register for this and other sessions!

Speakers & Presenters

A photo of Wandy Pascoal, Housing Innovation Design Fellow Wandy Pascoal, Housing Innovation Design Fellow, City of Boston/Boston Society for Architecture

Wandy Pascoal (she/ela) is interested in the ways housing design and policy come together, as she seeks to exist in the liminal space between the two. This inquiry led to her current role as the Housing Innovation Design Fellow, a position co-hosted by the City of Boston's Housing Innovation Lab and the Boston Society for Architecture. In this work she strives to center the many voices of Boston's residents and their complex experiences in order to drive the design and implementation of the city's current and future housing models.

Wandy holds a BFA in Architecture from UMass Amherst and a Master of Architecture from MassArt, where she focused on the urban and housing design of a self-sustaining eco-village in her home country of Angola. Previously, she worked as an architectural designer at Stull & Lee, Inc focused on affordable housing projects in the New England area. She has also worked with the Madison Park Development Corporation, where she first gained a deeper understanding of the complexities of local services and housing creation. Wandy is currently a resident of Brighton, Mass. and an active member of BosNOMA. She also identifies as an artist with a focus on music, watercolor painting and photography.

A photo of James Brooks, Director of Housing Development and Healthy Homes, City of Worcester James Brooks, Director of Housing Development and Healthy Homes, City of Worcester

James Brooks serves as the City of Worcester's Director of Housing Development and Healthy Homes, managing the city's housing stock development and rehabilitation efforts. He is responsible for managing $23 million in State and Federal Grants through HUD and other agencies for the development, rehabilitation and remediation of residential health, life safety and indoor environmental conditions of the city's homes. Jim has overseen development, rehabilitation and preservation projects for thousands of units in Worcester.

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Local & Regional Partnerships for Affordable Homes

September 23, 2021 - 10 :00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Agenda

  • 10:00-10:10 | Welcome & Introduction | Francis Goyes Flor, MassHousing
  • 10:10-10:30 | The North Shore CDC & Its Partners | Mickey Northcutt, North Shore CDC
  • 10:30-10:50 | The Neighborhood Hub in Malden: Project Progress | Evan Spetrini, Malden Redevelopment Authority
  • 10:50-11:10 | The City of Chelsea & Its Partners | Alexander Train, City of Chelsea
  • 11:10-11:30 | All Panelists Discussion
  • 11:30-11:45 | Announcements and Closing

Register for this and other sessions!

Speakers & Presenters

A phto of Mickey Northcutt, Chief Executive Officer, North Shore CDC Mickey Northcutt, Chief Executive Officer, North Shore CDC

Mickey is the founding CEO of North Shore CDC, having led the merger process that launched North Shore CDC in 2010 after being with one of its predecessor organizations since 2006. He is committed to making sure that everyone has a safe, affordable and attractive place to call home. Under his leadership, the organization launched a nationally recognized chapter of YouthBuild. He is also a co-founder of the Punto Urban Art Museum, North Shore CDC's signature, acclaimed social justice public art program located in Salem's Point neighborhood.

A photo of Evan Spetrini, Senior Planner & Policy Manager, Malden Redevelopment Authority Evan Spetrini, Senior Planner & Policy Manager, Malden Redevelopment Authority

Since joining the MRA in February 2019, Evan has drafted inclusionary zoning and waterfront zoning ordinances, managed the development of a land use and economic development plan for the Broadway Corridor, and assisted in the creation of the MRA's COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance and Small Business Assistance Programs, in addition to serving as a member of the Malden River Works Project Team and Steering Committee. Evan serves as staff to Malden's newly established Affordable Housing Trust Fund and is leading the Trust's first strategic planning process. He is also the Project Manager for the Mystic Valley Development Commission, a partnership created by the cities of Malden, Everett and Medford to remediate and redevelop historically contaminated properties along the Malden River.

A photo of Alexander Train, Director of the Department of Planning and Development, City of Chelsea, Mass. Alexander Train, Director of the Department of Planning and Development, City of Chelsea

An avid urban planner and designer, Alexander Train oversees the City of Chelsea's affordable housing, open space, mobility and infrastructure, community economic development and climate resiliency agendas. Focused on fostering an equitable and just City, Alex's portfolio spans planning, design, implementation and policy activities. Born in Boston, Alex holds a Masters of Regional Planning from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at UMass Amherst, as well as a Bachelors in History from Suffolk University. Outside of work, he's an ardent supporter of environmental justice and animal rights causes, while enjoying cooking, art, poetry, and walking.

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Home Repairs, Rehabs, & Remodels

September 30, 2021 - 10 :00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Agenda

  • 10:00-10:10 | Welcome & Introduction
  • 10:10-10:30 | Support for Landlords | Peter Shapiro, Good Landlord Consulting Services
  • 10:30-10:50 | Improving America's Housing | Abbe Will | Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University
  • 10:50-11:10 | The Neighborhood Hub in Fitchburg: Project Progress | Liz Murphy, City of Fitchburg
  • 11:10-11:30 | All Panelists Discussion
  • 11:30-11:45 | Announcements and Closing

Register for this and other sessions!

Speakers & Presenters

A photo of Peter Shapiro, Good Landlord Consulting Services Peter Shapiro, Author and Consultant, Good Landlord Consulting Services

Peter Shapiro runs Good Landlord Consulting Services, providing landlord and tenant counseling, mediation, training, program development assistance and policy guidance across the Commonwealth. Peter currently serves as the City of Boston's Landlord Counselor and is a Helpline Counselor for MassLandlords. He is the author of The Good Landlord – A Guide to Making a Profit While Making a Difference. Peter's particular professional interest is in the role of small property owners as providers of affordable housing.

Liz Murphy, Director of Housing & Development, City of Fitchburg Liz Murphy, Director of Housing & Development, City of Fitchburg

After graduating from Fitchburg State University with a B.S. in Human Services (1996), Liz began her work in affordable housing with RCAP Solutions in their Section 8 Housing Division, and later spent five years managing subsidized housing for Worcester Community Housing Resources, Inc. In 2006 Liz began working for the City of Fitchburg as a Program Management Assistant for the city's housing programs. Over the next 15 years, she grew into the role of Housing Director, and later became leader of the city's Housing & Development Division. In that role, Liz directly manages the city's HOME Program-funded housing repair programs, housing development programs and grant-funded small business assistance programs and oversees the administration of the City's Community Development Block Grant programs and other grant funding. Liz also represents Fitchburg in the Liabilities to Assets regional housing redevelopment initiative, chairs the Problem Property Task Force and works on initiatives that advance the city's work related improving the overall quality of housing, including initiatives such as MassHousing's Neighborhood Hub program.

A photo of Abbe Will, Senior Research Associate, Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies Abbe Will, Senior Research Associate & Associate Project Director, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University

Abbe Will is a Senior Research Associate and Associate Project Director of the Remodeling Futures Program. She manages and contributes research to the Improving America’s Housing report and research brief series and administers the quarterly Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA). Abbe's areas of research within the residential remodeling industry focus on market size and composition, industry structure (such as contractor performance, survivorship, specialization and concentration trends), changing household demographics, aging in place, market cycles, housing turnover, public and nonprofit rehabilitation programs and drivers of immigrant remodeling activity. Prior to joining the Center in 2006, Abbe worked for Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod, a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, and as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with Massachusetts Campus Compact. Abbe holds a B.A. in economics from Kalamazoo College and an M.A. in applied economic policy analysis from Northeastern University.

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