Do You Qualify for This Affordable Housing? Maybe

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By The Salem News

BEVERLY — If you think you make too much money to qualify for the new affordable housing complex going up on Sohier Road, think again.

That’s the message officials are trying to get across as the deadline to apply for an apartment in the soon-to-open Anchor Point development approaches.

Harborlight Community Partners, the Beverly-based affordable housing nonprofit that is building the project, said Anchor Point is open to people with a mix of incomes, some higher than people might normally associate with affordable housing.

A family of six, for example, can earn up to $93,420 and qualify for a three-bedroom apartment.

“I think people will be surprised,” said Bethany Blake, director of philanthropy and marketing at Harborlight.

“There’s a spectrum of folks who would qualify.”

Anchor Point is a development of two- and three-bedroom apartments for families being built in two three-story buildings on 5 acres at the corner of Sohier and Tozer roads, up the hill from Beverly High School. Construction on the first building is underway, with a scheduled opening in July.

Harborlight Community Partners is now accepting applications for the first building, and the deadline to apply is March 1. Residents will be selected via a lottery that will be held on Zoom and in-person at the Beverly Public Library on March 15.

Andrew DeFranza, the executive director of Harborlight, said the income range is wider for Anchor Point because it is a larger project, as opposed to a smaller development for people with extremely low incomes like the elderly or homeless.

Anchor Point, he said, is designed to also help out people making in the $50,000 to $90,000 range, depending on the size of their families.

“If you’re working in this economy and you have two kids and you’re making $55,000 a year, you’re going to be eligible,” he said.

Anchor Point is the largest new construction project in the agency’s history. The two apartment buildings will have a total of 77 units. The apartments will be spacious, with large windows and private patios. The three-bedroom apartments will have two bathrooms.

There will be community rooms and on-site staff in the buildings. Outside there will be a playing field, two playgrounds, a half-court basketball court, raised garden beds, a splash pad, seating areas, and a walking path linking different parts of the site. There will also be a new covered bus stop to access existing public transportation.

Harborlight is also planning to build a separate community center on the site where there will be services for the residents, including child care.

“When people hear affordable housing they might have a certain image in mind,” said Kristin Carlson, Harborlight’s director of real estate development. “We’re trying to top that.”

To qualify for an Anchor Point apartment, the income range is $50,366 to $80,520 for a household of two to four people, and $58,149 to $93,420 for a household of three to six people.

Rents range from $1,469 to $1,812 per month for a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment, and $1,696 to $2,094 for a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment.

Five of the two-bedroom apartments will be set aside at lower rents for households of two to four people earning below $40,250.

Five three-bedroom apartments will be set aside for households of three to six people earning below $46,700.

Applications are available here. They can be requested via email at aponelottery@harborlightcp.org or by calling 978-922-1305. Applications are also available for pick-up at Harborlight Community Partners, 283 Elliott St. in Beverly, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. An informational meeting regarding Anchor Point will be shown on BevCam Channel 8 on Feb. 16 from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

DeFranza said Harborlight is hoping to do more projects like Anchor Point that redefine the image of affordable housing and remove the stigma regarding who lives there. He said Anchor Point is designed to provide affordable housing for people with a range of jobs, including “essential workers.” 

“A lot of times people say ‘affordable housing’ and people are thinking about a certain kind of housing from 50 years ago,” he said.

“That’s not what gets made anymore. Housing for the workforce now is very attractive, it’s energy efficient, it’s very well constructed and it’s designed to match the income of a bunch of jobs that we all depend on. We need to think and talk differently about it so we’re more accurately representing both what it is and who is a participant.”

Staff Writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.