With MassDevelopment Loan, Lowell Community Groups Build Affordable Housing for Individuals in Recovery

August 7, 2018


Kelsey Schiller, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 617-694-9695 (cell)

Diane N. Tradd, City of Lowell, 978-674-1401

Robert Gignac, Megan House Foundation, Inc., 978-654-9419

Yun-Ju Choi, Coalition for a Better Acre, 978-452-7523 x812

MassDevelopment has provided an $895,000 loan to 138 Cross Street LLC, which will use loan proceeds to purchase a fire-damaged building in Lowell and convert it into a nine-unit affordable rental housing facility. 138 Cross Street LLC is an affiliate of The Megan House Foundation, Inc., a long-term residential substance abuse treatment and recovery home for women ages 18 to 26, and Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA), a community development corporation in Lowell. Once completed, the new apartment building will serve as a sober housing facility where graduates of Megan’s House and other addiction treatment facilities can live while receiving continued counseling and support.

"Health officials, human service providers, and community organizations alike are coming together to combat the opioid epidemic devastating our Commonwealth and country," said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. "MassDevelopment is pleased to support Coalition for a Better Acre and The Megan House Foundation, Inc. in their efforts to transform a damaged, unused building into affordable housing for individuals in recovery. This apartment complex will offer graduates of Megan’s House and other addiction treatment facilities in the Merrimack Valley a safe and supportive place to call home as they get back on their feet and re-enter society."

The City of Lowell contributed $250,000 towards the project using funds from the HOME Program, a federal program that provides grants to state and local governments to implement local housing strategies that increase homeownership and affordable housing opportunities for low- and very low-income Americans.

"The City of Lowell is proud to provide support from its HOME Program funds for this incredibly collaborative project involving strong community partners," said Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue. "Redeveloping this once blighted property into affordable housing for individuals recovering from addiction is filling a major need and providing a tremendous benefit to our community. Thank you to MassDevelopment for providing the much needed financing to make this important project a reality."

The Megan House Foundation, Inc. is a public charity created to help the Merrimack Valley community and surrounding areas establish a comprehensive plan to provide and facilitate substance abuse treatment services for people in need. Founder Tim Grover named the organization after his daughter, Megan, who passed away in 2014 after she was unable to find a bed in a nearby treatment facility. Since then, Grover has made it his life’s mission to assist young women facing similar circumstances. In 2015, the foundation opened its first residential treatment facility, called Megan’s House, for young women suffering from opioid addiction. Megan’s House has a sister facility in Dracut, called Erin’s House, where successful graduates of the Megan’s House program reside while they work during the day. Both locations have onsite counseling staff to assist residents.

"The Cross Street project will fill a tremendous void in our community and aligns directly with the mission of The Megan House Foundation," said Robert Gignac, Chairman & Acting CEO of The Megan House Foundation, Inc. "Many of our residents are mothers to young children and upon graduation from our programs, struggle to find safe and affordable sober housing which will allow them to regain custody of their children. The Megan House Foundation is truly proud of this project and grateful for our partners allowing us to turn this dream into a reality."

Founded in 1982, CBA is a professional, membership-based nonprofit community development corporation dedicated to resident empowerment and sustainable community revitalization for current and future residents of Lowell and the Merrimack Valley. CBA promotes healthy, vibrant neighborhoods and communities by developing resident leaders, affordable housing, and economic opportunities, and by responding to community needs through collective action. For most of CBA’s 35 years, the organization has concentrated on the Acre neighborhood; today, CBA serves the entire city of Lowell and surrounding region, focusing on lower-income residents and struggling neighborhoods.

"CBA identifies the housing and service needs of our community to maximize our positive impact on our stakeholders and residents," said Coalition for a Better Acre Executive Director Yun-Ju Choi. "It is clear that stable, supportive housing dramatically increases the sustained sobriety rate for individuals in substance abuse recovery. We are proud to leverage our housing development expertise to create a positive place for individuals to reunite and thrive with their families during sustained, successful recovery."

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2017, MassDevelopment financed or managed 377 projects generating investment of more than $4.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 9,488 jobs and build or rehabilitate 1,863 residential units.