Housing Chief Committed to Creating More Housing in New Bedford
Josh Amaral says a big part of his job is overcoming obstacles and looking for ways to bring more affordable housing units to New Bedford. He says the city needs about 2,000 new units to accommodate current demand.
One year ago, the mayor's office released a plan for housing development called Building New Bedford: "We need to produce more housing of all types, for all income levels, and do it in a way that makes sense for all individuals."
Josh Amaral, New Bedford Director of Housing and Community Development, joined me this week on Townsquare Sunday to discuss the plan and provide an overview of the current housing situation.
Amaral says unfortunately, many developers are choosing to build in larger, wealthier communities where the construction costs are about the same as New Bedford, but developers can charge higher rents.
He says developing housing in the city is a challenge.
"We have to hustle twice as hard to figure out how we can make the financing on these deals work, how we can get them constructed, and building our own pipeline of developers," he says.
Despite those challenges, Amaral says there continues to be ongoing construction of housing in New Bedford, with many affordable units in the works.
"We've recently cut the ribbon for 15 units at the former Holy Family High School, 28 new apartments are planned for Union Street and Route 18, and 45 new units are being planned for 117 Union St. and on upper Union Street, there's a project that calls for 53 apartments there. "
In addition, Amaral says there are another 150 units under construction at various sites around the city, plus another 150 units that are permitted but haven't broken ground yet, and another 300 units, not yet permitted but in the pipeline.
"New Bedford is open for business," Amaral says. "We're always willing to talk with developers about their ideas, about possible sites, what the city wants to see, and try to walk people through that process."
Townsquare Sunday is a community affairs program, heard every Sunday morning at 6 and 11 on 1420 WBSM and 99.5 FM.
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