Each week, the Abington News is asking the five candidates for the board of selectmen a question to help voters better understand them as candidates. Election Day is Tuesday, June 23.
This week’s question was: There appears to be a need for additional senior housing in Abington. How would you propose to add additional units?
(Responses are provided in the order they were received)
The need for senior housing in Abington has been a problem for many years. Currently there is up to a 5 year wait to get into senior housing. The largest percentage of our population is 45-60 years old at 29.5% and 65 and older make up an additional 11.9%. We have a need for more housing now and that need will grow over the next decade. I have been advocating for several years to make Center and North School into senior housing. I have reached out to Senator John Keenan, Congressman Stephen Lynch as well as the Director of the Brockton Housing Authority, Tom Thibeault to see if converting both schools is feasible. (Brockton Housing Authority currently manages the Abington Housing Authority). This is an issue that I will continue to work on as a Selectman.
A shortage of senior housing has come up several times during conversations I’ve had with residents. It is my understanding that the town has been earmarking some of the money from CPA funds to set aside for more senior housing, however one year of CPA funds is not enough to cover the costs. It is also my understanding that a committee was formed to establish a housing trust where CPA funds, as well as any state and federal funds that may become available, can be deposited. If elected, I would like to see this process continue and also work closely with our state delegation in seeing that we get our fair share of state/fed funds as they become available.
I think just needing Senior housing isn’t the problem, it is affordable housing. I would be inclined to reach out to our HUD department and the Rural Senior Housing Initiative. I believe this would need to involve other departments, like Coucil on Aging and Planning Board to name just 2. Many other boards would need to weigh in as well. This would be a lengthy project, but worthwhile.