New Bedford to Allocate $3 Million for Housing and Homelessness
NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford officials plan to allocate $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to tackle homelessness and housing instability in the city, Mayor Jon Mitchell announced Thursday.
According to a release from the mayor's office, the HOME-ARP allocation plan will go before the city council for approval at its Thursday night meeting.
The move comes as City Councilor at Large Shane Burgo has proposed a motion for the council to put a question about rent stabilization on the 2023 city election ballot this November.
"Should the City of New Bedford adopt an ordinance stabilizing rents, to prevent displacement in the local housing rental market?" Burgo's proposed ballot question reads. City Councilors are expected to vote on the motion on Thursday as well.
New Bedford residents are scrambling to keep up with rapidly rising rents, as metropolitan areas in Massachusetts and nationwide experience a housing crisis.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data shows the area in New Bedford with the lowest rents — the southern part of the North End — has seen a 33% jump in fair market rent for one- and two-bedroom apartments since 2020.
The mayor's HOME-ARP allocation plan includes $900,000 to develop affordable rental housing, $700,000 for shelter beds for the unhoused, $500,000 for rental assistance programs, and almost $600,000 for community and non-profit support services and housing development initiatives.
This funding is on top of the previously announced $6 million in federal ARPA money for housing initiatives and community development grants, according to the mayor's office.
"New Bedford residents have not been spared from state and national trends of escalating housing costs," said Mitchell.
"These funds will be a critical part of an overall strategy to ease the burden of rising housing costs for our residents."
New Bedford will receive a total allocation of $3,175,399 in HOME-ARP funding once the plan is submitted.
The city's Office of Housing and Community Development held several public meetings, consulted with stakeholders, and conducted a survey of New Bedford residents before drafting the plan, according to the mayor's office.
Questions about the plan should be sent to Joshua Amaral or Jennifer Clarke at (508) 979-1500, Joshua.Amaral@newbedford-ma.gov or Jennifer.Clarke@newbedford-ma.gov.