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Downtown Lynn could soon offer supportive housing for low-income young adults

A floor plan of the proposed studio apartments. (Courtesy photo)

LYNN — A new partnership spearheaded by the Haven Project could result in 24 units of supportive housing for low-income young adults in downtown Lynn. 

The $6 million proposal from Catalyst Housing, a new housing initiative of the non-profit organization, which was created to fill a gap in services for homeless young adults in the city of Lynn and surrounding areas, was approved by the City Council on Tuesday night. 

“There isn’t enough affordable housing in Lynn and especially for single individuals in this age population, and so we work with a lot of young adults that are trying to get ahead,” said Gini Mazman, executive director of the Haven Project. “There are great opportunities for them in this community with the colleges and schools, and things like that, but they can’t afford a base from which to grow.” 

The Haven Project has partnered with East Coast International Church and Harborlight Community Partners to build the 250 square-foot studio apartments at 57 Munroe St., in the top two vacant floors of the building. The ground floor of the building is home to a cafe run by Haven, Land of a Thousand Hills, space that has been provided by the church. The nonprofit itself is located on the second floor. 

Kurt Lange, the pastor of East Coast International Church and board president of the Haven Project, said the units are meant to serve extremely low-income adults from 18 to 24 years, who make 30 to 50 percent of the area median income.

“The project will be staffed by a full-time caseworker, and will dovetail with the existing supportive services offered by the Haven Project,” said Lange. “The goal is to create secure, sustainable, affordable housing, where residents can be supported by wrap-around services.”

Those services will include everything the individuals need to learn to become independent, such as job training, financial coaching, and food, clothing and transportation vouchers, according to Mazman.  

“A lot of our (Haven Project) kids are aging out of DCF,” said Lange. “They’re North Shore Community College students that are housing unstable, are homeless technically and this is an opportunity for us to provide stable housing while they move through college, or whatever their path is. That’s what the support component is about, case managing them, helping them get to where they need to go.” 

To qualify, the maximum an individual can make is $22,000. Rent varies based on income, with each tenant paying a third of their annual salary. The rest would be covered by a housing voucher, according to Kristin Carlson, director of real estate development for Harborlight Community Partners.

The targeted project completion is October 2021, which will include two phases of construction. Carlson said Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development has committed to provide financing, but Catalyst Housing is also seeking state funding. 

Each unit will have its own bathroom and small kitchen. Common areas will include a study lounge, laundry room, and offices for a property manager and a caseworker. The building will include a new elevator, and two of the 24 units will be fully handicapped accessible.

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