Worcester gets ‘aggressive’ on affordable housing

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WORCESTER — The affordable housing crisis plaguing many areas of the country as incomes fail to keep up with the cost of housing has not bypassed New England’s second largest city.

Though Worcester has long exceeded the state’s 10 percent benchmark, the city and local housing advocates are continuously working to fulfill the housing needs of workers and the city’s growing diverse population, local officials say.

“Affordable housing is a nationwide issue and it’s a concern for the city,” Andrew Taylor, Worcester’s assistant chief development officer, said in a recent interview in City Hall. “What you’re going to notice is Worcester is aggressively tackling the affordable housing issue. We’re pretty proud of where we see ourselves now and where we see ourselves going. We understand successful cities are diverse cities and that housing stock has to be as diverse as anything else.”

Over the last five years, the city has invested $13.3 million to create and preserve 1,328 units of affordable housing. More are in the pipeline, including in new housing projects at the old Worcester County Courthouse and the Central Building, at 332 Main St. Local community development corporations have also added affordable units to the city’s housing stock.

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