Center for Human Development receives financing for group homes in Chicopee and Springfield, outpatient center in Easthampton

February 21, 2023 : MassLive, Jim Kinney

EASTHAMPTON — MassDevelopment announced Tuesday that it issued $3 million in bond financing so that the Center for Human Development can purchase of four group homes and redevelop the former Manchester Hardware store in Easthampton.

The former hardware store at 55-69 Union St. in Easthampton’s downtown will be used by CHD a center for behavioral health outpatient services including urgent care.

The group homes in Chicopee and Springfield will house 24 people with developmental disabilities and behavioral health care needs, MassDevelopment said.

Social services agency CHD has more than 80 programs that provide everything from juvenile justice programs, substance abuse recovery and shelter for homless families. Started in 1972, it is western Massachusetts’ largest social service organization, according to MassDevelopment.

CHD bought Manchester Hardware in June 2021 for $1.4 million. The 125-year-old Manchester Hardware had been vacant since December 2020, when it closed because the family who owned it was retiring and no buyer could be found.

Portions of the building have already been demolished and CHD says it will renovate and occupy the remaining 6,950 square feet and create a new 65-space parking lot on the 1-acre site, according to CHD’s application to the Planning Board.

MassDevelopment said the projects will help CHD meet increased demand and better serve the needs of clients. Within the next three years, CHD expects to create 250 full-time jobs and 100 part-time jobs.

PeoplesBank purchased the bond, which helped CHD achieve a lower cost of capital because of MassDevelopment’s involvement.

MassDevelopment is the state’s development finance agency and land bank.

In a statement, MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera said: “MassDevelopment is proud of our longstanding relationship with CHD, and pleased that this tax-exempt financing will help the nonprofit move forward with the purchase of four new group homes and an outpatient center, and the creation of hundreds of human services jobs.”

MassDevelopment issued tax-exempt bonds in 2008, 2017 and 2019 to help the nonprofit purchase and renovate several buildings.

“This financing empowers our work and enables us to develop services to fulfill our mission and meet community needs,” Center for Human Development President and CEO Jim Goodwin said in a statement. “Delivering essential care in the communities where people live is a core aspect of our 50-year existence as a not-for-profit provider, and we thank PeoplesBank and MassDevelopment for their outstanding support.”

In January, CHD opened 24-hour-day-seven-day-a-week community behavioral health centers in Chicopee and Springfield as part of a statewide effort to address what’s seen as a growing mental health crisis.