AHP Profiles

Eagle Street

Fall River, Massachusetts

Eagle Street residents.



Introduction: Housing for Homeless Families

Developed by Community Care Services, the Eagle Street initiative transformed three ageing tenement buildings in a neighborhood near downtown Fall River into 17 units of affordable rental housing for families emerging from homelessness. The site included adjacent three-story apartment buildings, each with six units.

“They were rundown, drug-infested apartments that really needed a lot of work,” says Brian Foss, chief operating officer at Community Care Services and manager of the Eagle Street project.

The Eagle Street initiative (now called Eagle Community Care Estates) was the recipient of a $340,000 Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston Affordable Housing Program grant through member Bridgewater Savings Bank.

In this AHP multimedia profile, tour Eagle Street apartments, visit with residents, and learn about the growing need for affordable housing for homeless families in Massachusetts.

 

(Photo left: Eagle Street family.)

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The Developer

Brian Foss is chief operating officer at Community Care Services and manager of the Eagle Street development.

Community Care Services acquired the foreclosed property that would eventually become Eagle Street from Bridgewater Savings Bank back in February 2009. Our intention was to develop 17 units of affordable,  permanent rental housing with supportive services for homeless and low-income families.

Eagle Street consists of three, three-story buildings in a U-shape. The buildings are adjacent and each has six units. There are five three-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units.  We turned one of the units into an onsite office.

These were run-down, drug-infested apartment buildings before we acquired them. They really needed a lot of work.


(Photo right: View of Eagle Street housing.)

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Bridgewater Savings Bank reached out to us because they knew we were interested in developing affordable housing. We looked at the property and decided to acquire it. We also worked with our consultants to develop this project, including the Woman’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development in Boston.

This was one of our first efforts to develop affordable housing, but we have a 60-year history as a social service agency. For many years we have been running an emergency shelter program for homeless families.

We were seeing more and more folks walking through our system or into the state-supported motel system for homeless families. We wanted to create an affordable housing solution with supportive services wrapped around it for those people.

To finance this project we cobbled together a variety of funding streams that included a $340,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.


(Photo right: Brian Foss at Eagle Street.)

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We completed construction in February 2012 and by June had leased all of the units. Our residents were living in shelters and motel housing for homeless families. All of our units are available to families earning less than 50 percent of area median income, and five of the units are targeted for families earning 30 percent or less of area median income. Eagle Street has eight project-based Section 8 units with a preference for veterans’ families. Fifty percent of those units also have a Fall River preference.

Our residents include a homeless father who has custody of his children and works part-time at a local university. Another family includes a mother, father, and teenage son. The family became homeless after the mother and father lost their jobs. They were living in a motel and an emergency shelter before coming here. They are very active in their church ― volunteering and being helpful. We also have a couple of women who were experiencing domestic violence. Many of our residents have experienced trauma at a young age.


(Photo right: Resident James Brown.)

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I believe family homelessness is on the rise. We’ve added more emergency shelter beds for families over the last five years and the Commonwealth has been relying on motels to house homeless families. There are about 1,400 homeless families living in temporary accommodations in motels in Massachusetts.  Part of family homelessness can be attributed to the cycle of poverty and part to the terrible economy. One day people are working and paying rent, the next day they have nothing. Often they work at lower-wage jobs. For example, one of our residents is a nurse’s aide, another― a single mom who has experienced domestic violence ― is a waitress at a local golf course.

We have a part-time case manager with a master’s degree in counseling who helps residents navigate the Head Start process, access early intervention services, link up with counseling services, and access employment services. Our residents are dealing with a range of issues, some emotional, some educational. They have individualized needs. Our case workers work with the families to identify specific goals to work towards.

(Photo right: Brian Foss and residents at Eagle Street.)

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About a third of the folks living here are working. Some are looking for work or looking for volunteer opportunities. Many of the folks are required to do volunteer work on their road to meaningful employment. One resident is interested in working for our nonprofit transportation company. Some of our residents need to build a solid foundation through counseling and services before they can obtain a skill and seek gainful employment.

Eagle Street is located in a lower-income area not far from downtown Fall River. Some of our residents are from the neighborhood, which has a strong Portuguese influence. One resident lived here before we owned the property but left after a week because the building was so drug infested. She had a bad experience back then, but is thrilled to be here now.

The buildings are 100-year-old triple-deckers with granite foundations. We built new stair towers in the buildings and changed the configuration of some units. We preserved the original hardwood floors, enlarged some of the units, de-leaded the building, and installed new windows, roofs, and heating systems. Each unit has a new refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. Most of the residents have never had a dishwasher.

(Photo right: View of Fall River from Eagle Street housing.)

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Community Care Services, which has headquarters in Taunton and Attleboro, created a limited liability company called Eagle Community Care Estates to manage the property. Our other programs include 20 emergency shelter apartments in Fall River and New Bedford.

 We are currently looking for additional properties with the goal of replicating what we’ve done at Eagle Street. Sadly, we don’t see the need for this housing decreasing over time.

Fall River is a city of about 100,000 with a heavy Portuguese influence. It has been going through a transition. It's an old mill town where many of the businesses have disappeared. Some of the old textile mills have been converted to retail and professional space. I think the city is improving.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston grant was tremendously useful. Without support from the Bank and member Bridgewater Savings Bank we wouldn’t have Eagle Street today. That support helped transform an eyesore into attractive housing and gave hope to 17 families.

(Photo right: Eagle Street housing.)

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Video Tour

Take a video tour of Eagle Street with Brian Foss of Community Care Services.

Video: Click on the Start link at the right to tour Eagle Street. >>

(Photo right: Eagle Street residents.

 

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The Numbers: Eagle Street

Sources  
Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston AHP Direct Subsidy
$340,000
Bridgewater Savings Bank Permanent Loan
340,000
City of Fall River HOME Funds
150,000
Housing Stabilization Funds
890,760
Affordable Housing Trust Funds
850,000
Housing Innovation Funds
750,000
HUD McKinney
70,000
Franklin Square/Charlesbank Homes Foundation
125,000
Deferred Developer Fee
113,224
Total Sources

$3,628,984


 

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Uses  
Acquisition
$582,000
Construction/Rehab
1,710,000
Construction Contingency
309,318
Soft Costs
662,807
Developer Fees
155,000
Developer Overhead
155,000
Financing Fees
7,500
Legal Fees
47,359
Total Uses
$3,628,984

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The Residents

An interview with Eagle Street resident Benjamin Perez.

Video: Click on the Start link to the right to view the video. >>

 

(Photo right: Resident Benjamin Perez.)

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The Member

Stephen Peck is vice president/commercial lending at member Bridgewater Savings Bank.

We had a mortgage with the prior owner of the property. We had worked with the borrower for quite some time but it got to the point where, unfortunately, we had to take legal action and move towards foreclosure.

As the date got closer we advertised and developed a list of people and organizations that might be interested in the property, as we normally do with a foreclosure. We shared information about the property with Community Care Services and others. It was perfect timing for us and for them. We had a property on the market and Community Care Services was looking to use it to do some wonderful things in the community.

Community Care Services worked with a consultant to formulate a plan for the project. They were already our customer and felt that applying for the Affordable Housing Program was the best route to take. Bridgewater Savings Bank was a member and certainly had utilized the AHP in the past, so it was natural for us to want to sponsor the transaction. The AHP allows us to team up with good partners like Community Care Services to do wonderful things in the community.


(Photo right: Eagle Street housing.)

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Community Care Services was able to find a nonbank partner to do the construction financing, but we were ready to take further steps to assist them with the project if they needed our help.

Eagle Street was an intensive project. The sponsor has done an outstanding job with a property that really needed a lot of work. We’ve been partners with them for many years and strongly support what they do in the community. It’s the kind of partnership ― the kind of lending relationship ― that we try to craft in our marketplace. It’s a perfect situation for us to have a local partner like Community Care Services that is experienced, knows what they are doing, and carries through with their plans. I tip my hat to them.

Bridgewater Savings Bank is a small community bank whose primary market is southeastern Massachusetts. The center of our market is Bridgewater and Raynham. We pride ourselves on our relationships, particularly our commercial relationships.


(Photo right: Eagle Street family.)

FHLB Boston Housing Profiles August 2012

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Eagle Street residents.