HUD Area Income Limits for the Boston Area, 2016
# Persons in
30% of Area
50% of Area
80% of Area
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Housing subsidy programs are typically targeted to particular income ranges depending upon programmatic goals. Extremely low-income housing is directed to households with incomes at or below 30% of area median income as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (up to $26,550 for a family of three for the Boston area) and very low-income is defined as households with income between 31% and 50% of area median income ($44,150 for a family of three). Sixty percent (60%) of area median income is used for the limit of a number of rental subsidy programs including the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program and HOME Rental Program ($53,000 for a three person household). Low- and moderate-income generally refers to the range between 51% and 80% of area median income (no more than $65,750 for a family of three). First-time homebuyer programs typically apply income limits of up to 80% of area median income. It is worth noting that according to 2012 census estimates, more than 3,000 households or about 29% of all Needham’s households would likely be income-eligible for affordable housing using the 80% of area median income criterion.
The most commonly used definition of affordable housing is that which applies to the Chapter 40B comprehensive permit law. For a unit to be affordable under Chapter 40B, and thus counted towards a community's progress towards reaching the 10% affordability threshold and included as part of its Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI), a unit must meet specific state requirements including the following:
Use of a
Cook’s Bridge (Captain Robert
Cook Drive and Seabeds Way)*
High Rock Estates*
Rental/DHCD (will be HUD)
138-158 Linden Street*
168-188 Linden Street*
15-42 Chambers Street*
1415 Great Plain Ave.*/**
Highland Ave./Charles River ARC.
Rental/HUD and EOHHS
Marked Tree Corp. **
Webster Street II/929 Webster **
Webster Street II/299 Webster **
West Street Apartments **
Ownership/DHCD and FHLBB
High Cliff Estates
Rental/DHCD and HUD
Suites at Needham
Charles River Landing
DDS Group Homes **
Special Needs Rental/DDS
The Residences at Wingate
Webster Street Green
Needham Place/50 Dedham Ave.
Second Avenue Residences
12.28% of year-round housing
Projects/units that are being
Wingate Phase II
12.56% of year-round housing
Source: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
** Special needs units
*** Includes 262 market units at Charles River Landing, 292 market units at Second Avenue Residences, and 102 market units at Greendale Mews for a total of 656 such market units. The number of actual affordable rental units in these projects is 220.
What local, regional and state housing-related programs and services are available?
Needham Housing Authority (NHA)
The Needham Housing Authority (NHA) owns and manages 316 units of subsidized housing including 198 one-bedroom units for seniors and disabled individuals of any age and 120 units for families and veterans. NHA also maintains 2 staffed apartments that serve 8 individuals with special needs. Moreover, NHA is available to provide information and referrals to those who have questions about housing options in Needham and the region.
Contact the Needham Housing Authority at 28 Robert Cook Drive in Needham and at 781-444-3011.
Needham Council on Aging (COA)
The Needham Council on Aging (COA) provides a wide range of services to local seniors. At the new Senior Center, The Center at the Heights, the COA offers many activities including daily lunches, exercise classes, health and wellness programs, clinics, support groups, lectures, life long learning classes, live entertainment, movies, etc. They also provide information on programs, services, and opportunities to meet the diverse needs of older adults and provide referrals for specific help, including information related to housing.
Contact the COA at 300 Hillside Avenue or 781-455-7555.
Needham Community Preservation Committee (CPC)
Needham approved the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in November 2004, and established the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) soon after to manage funds from a property tax surcharge to preserve open space and historic properties, provide new recreational facilities and support affordable housing. Over the years the Town has spent about $1.3 million of its CPA funds on housing initiatives.
Contact the CPC at 500 Dedham Avenue, 781-455-7550.
The Town of Needham administers the following tax-related programs to reduce or defer property tax payments for qualifying residents:
Senior Corps Program
Needham's Council on Aging (COA) offers residents who are 60 years of age or older and/or are disabled to contribute up to 100 hours each year at $8.20 per hour to "work off" a portion of their real estate taxes, become more involved in local government, and support the delivery of local services. The COA appropriately matches qualifying applicants to jobs in municipal departments and schools. Applicants must meet income eligibility requirements including having a maximum income of $49,000 for a single individual, $62,000 for a head of household, or $74,000 if married. The program operates from July 1st through May 1st of each year and applicants must reapply annually.
Contact the Needham Council on Aging at 300 Hillside Avenue or 781-455-7555 ext. 2062 for an application or further information.
Property Tax Deferral Program
Needham's Assessor's Office administers the Property Tax Deferral Program that enables qualifying homeowners to postpone the payment of property taxes until the house is sold or transferred. The maximum deferral is half of the value of the home and every person that has a legal or beneficial interest in the property must provide written approval for the deferral. Each year participants enter into an agreement with the Town to defer all or part of the tax bill. The agreement is similar to a loan with a specified interest rate set at 4% for Fiscal Year 2015. This interest rate increases to 16% upon the demise of the owner or a change in ownership.
Eligibility requirements include the following:
Contact the Needham Assessor's Office at 1471 Highland Avenue or 781-455-7507 for an application or further information.
Tax Exemption Programs
The Town of Needham allows a number of property tax exemptions to qualifying homeowners with different requirements based on the owner's age, disability status and other qualifications. For example, a homeowner who is at least 65 years of age and married with an income of no more than $30,000 and maximum assets of $55,000 could expect a tax exemption of between $500 and $1,000 annually. Those age 70 or older may receive a tax exemption from $175 to $350 if their financial assets are less than $40,000. Veterans also qualify for exemptions based on the type and extent of their service-related disability including an exemption of between $1,500 and $3,000 for those living in specially adapted housing. Another example is that a legally blind owner can expect an exemption of between $500 and $1,000 without any income or asset requirements.
Because of the number and complexity of these exemptions, interested owners are encouraged to contact the Assessor's Office at 1471 Highland Avenue or 781-455-7507 for an further information and applications.
What regional housing-related programs and services are available?
Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston
The Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston is a comprehensive fair housing organization whose mission is to eliminate housing discrimination and promote open communities throughout the Boston region including those in Suffolk, Norfolk, Middlesex, Essex and Plymouth counties. The organization provides a wide range of fair housing services including testing, case advocacy, training, community outreach, policy advocacy and research.
Contact the Fair Housing Center at 262 Washington Street in Boston or 617-399-0491.
Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston
Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money, land, and materials, Habitat Greater Boston builds or rehabilitates simple decent homes for qualifying households. Families are selected based on their level of need, ability to repay a mortgage, and willingness to complete about 300 hours of "sweat equity" by helping to construct their future home alongside staff and volunteers. Prospective purchasers also participate in special education classes to prepare them for homeownership. The organization also provides interest free financing for the purchasers without down payment requirements. The organization has worked in Needham, developing a house on Bancroft Street.
Contact Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston at 240 Commercial Street in Boston or 617-423-2223.
Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA)
The Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) is a non-profit housing organization that advocates for affordable homeownership opportunities and provides services to support first-time homebuyers through workshops, credit counseling, budget counseling, etc. It also has an online searchable database of all affordable homeownership opportunities that are available at any point in the state.
Contact MAHA at 1803 Dorchester Avenue in Boston or 617-822-9100.
Metro West Collaborative Development
The Metro West Collaborative Development is a regional Community Development Corporation (CDC) whose mission is to organize residents, mobilize resources and identify opportunities to improve the quality of life for residents living in Metro West communities. In addition to partnering with participating communities on housing development, the organization provides a wide range of information and referrals to housing resources for renters, homebuyers, and landlords.
Contact the Metro West Collaborative Development at 79-B Chapel Street in Newton or 617-923-3505.
Other nearby organizations that provide First-Time Homebuyer and Post-Purchase counseling
The WATCH CDC and Allston-Brighton CDC both provide classes for those considering purchasing their first home. Classes generally include about 12 hours of instruction spread over 2 to 3 evenings. Graduates of these classes can become eligible for special financing and other opportunities.
Contact the WATCH CDC at 781-891-6689 or Allston Brighton CDC at 617-787-3874 for more information on these classes.
Self Help, Inc.
Self Help provides a wide range of services to help low- and moderate-income residents with child care, health, education, employment, and housing needs among others. With respect to housing, they provide the following types of assistance to residents of Needham:
Lead Paint Abatement Program to correct common lead-based paint violations and enhance the safety, appearance, and value of the property. Lead paint abatement work can be dangerous, and it is important to hire professional contractors to undertake the deleading. Self Help can help property owners locate a qualified contractor and potentially obtain financial assistance for the necessary remediation work through the Get the Lead Out Program.
The Fuel Assistance Program provides financial assistance in paying for heating costs for those earning within 60% of area median income or at or below $51,798 for a household of 3 in 2014. The Program runs from November 1st through April 30th. Additionally, participants are automatically eligible for energy discount rates from utility companies. Self Help also works with Citizens Energy Corporation's oil heat program to obtain additional assistance for clients who have expended their Fuel Assistance benefits.
The Energy Conservation Program provides support for weatherization measures in tandem with the agency's Fuel Assistance Program as well as heating system services for those earning at or below 60% of area median income. A home weatherized by this Program can save up to 30% in heating and cooling costs.
Contact Self Help at 1362 Main Street in Brockton or 508-588-5440.
South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc.(SMOC)
SMOC is a multi-service agency whose mission is to enhance the self-sufficiency of low and moderate-income households, also providing a safety net when short-term assistance is required. The organization provides a number of housing-related services that are available to qualifying Needham residents including the following:
Through information and referrals as well as counseling and workshops, the Housing Consumer Education Center provides a variety of services to homeowners, tenants, landlords, future homebuyers, homeless families and individuals facing eviction who are not eligible for Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) services, as well as those confronting possible foreclosure.
The Home Modification Loan Program provides 0% to 3% deferred loans of up to $30,000 to support home improvements to make a home more accessible to an elder or someone with a disability.
SMOC also operates an emergency shelter for families at 75 Fountain Street in Framingham.
Contact SMOC at 300 Howard Street in Framingham or 508-620-2645.
Springwell is a private, non-profit organization that provides services for seniors, people with disabilities or those who help care for them. All individuals over 60 years of age and caregivers can receive free information and referrals based on the level of assistance required, from just the name of a transportation provider or legal counsel on estate planning to the home delivery of meals to in-depth daily care coordination for example.
Contact at 307 Waverley Oaks Road, Suite 205 in Waltham or 617-926-4100.
WestMetro HOME Consortium
The federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program provides funding to support affordable housing for lower income households. Since 1992, this funding has been available in the Metro West area with the City of Newton serving as the lead member of a HUD-approved Consortium of communities. Needham joined the Consortium in 2008 that now includes the communities of Bedford, Belmont, Concord, Framingham, Lexington, Natick, Sudbury, Waltham, Watertown and Wayland in addition to the lead community of Newton. Needham's HOME funding has fluctuated over the years from an allocation of $57,521 in fiscal year 2009, to $67,387 by 2011, and down to $36,149 in 2013. The Town has spent $280,000 in HOME funds for the Charles River Association for Retarded Citizen's group residence at South Street in addition to some operating/administrative funds.
What statewide housing-related programs and services are available?
Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA)
Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) is a non-profit umbrella organization that operates statewide to represent all interests in the affordable housing field including non-profit and for-profit developers, municipal officials, local housing providers and advocates, lenders, property managers, etc. CHAPA pursues its goal of promoting affordable housing through advocacy, research, education, coalition-building, and special programs.
Contact CHAPA at 18 Tremont Street in Boston or 617-742-0820. CHAPA's website also includes homebuyer class schedules, a registry of handicapped accessible units, a list of all available affordable units through current marketing/lotteries, a wide range of reports related to affordable housing, and links to other important regional, state and federal agencies.
The following public state agencies or quasi-public agencies provide technical and financial support for the production of affordable and special needs housing:
Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)
DHCD's mission is to strengthen cities, towns and neighborhoods to enhance the quality of life of Massachusetts residents. The agency provides professional assistance and financial resources to promote safe, decent affordable housing opportunities, economic vitality of communities and sound municipal management.
MassHousing is a self-supporting not-for-profit public agency that has provided more than $17 billion in financing for homebuyers and homeowners and for developers and owners of affordable rental housing.
Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP)
MHP champions new financing tools and new local strategies for the development of affordable housing in Massachusetts including a billion dollar bank loan fund for qualifying homebuyers.
Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC)
MHIC is a leading private investor and lender specializing in financing affordable housing and community development throughout New England.
Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC)
CEDAC is a public-private, community development finance institution that provides technical assistance, pre-development lending, and consulting services to non-profit organizations involved in housing development, workforce development, neighborhood economic development, and capital improvements to child care facilities. These organizations may include community or neighborhood development corporations, non-profit developers, and tenants' associations.
Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS)
DDS is dedicated to creating, in partnership with others, innovative and effective opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate fully and meaningfully in, and contribute to, their communities as valued members.
Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH)
DMH, as the State Mental Health Authority, assures and provides access to services and supports to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages, enabling them to live, work and participate in their communities. The Department establishes standards to ensure effective and culturally competent care to promote recovery and sets policy, promotes self-determination, protects human rights and supports mental health training and research. This critical mission is accomplished by working in partnership with other state agencies, individuals, families, providers and communities.
If you are a member of any of these protected classes, it is generally illegal for someone to:
The following behaviors MAY involve housing discrimination:
The Massachusetts lead law, in conjunction with Fair Housing laws, makes it illegal for a property owner or real estate agent to refuse to rent or sell a dwelling unit to a family with children because of the presence of lead-based paint.
What should I do if I think I've been a victim of housing discrimination?
You can file a complaint if you think that you have been discriminated against and receive the following benefits:
Contact any of the following organizations if you think that you have experienced housing discrimination:
Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston is a private advocacy organization that can assist victims of discrimination with filing a complaint in court with MCAD or HUD and may act as an advocate on your behalf.
59 Temple Place
Boston, MA 02111
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) handles all discrimination complaints that fall under state law and can also assist with complaints under the federal Fair Housing Act.
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the federal agency which receives and investigates housing discrimination complaints that violate federal law.
10 Causeway Street, Room 321
Boston, MA 02222
617-565-5308 or 800-827-5005