Summer 2023 Update!
East Gables, Amherst International Language Institute Small Business Class, Northampton
Raw Beauty Brand products, Springfield Rendering of Amherst Affordable Homes
Valley helps make our community livable and vibrant for everyone. Read on to learn more!
We love Small Businesses!
Over the past year, we worked with more than 300 business owners, almost half of whom are women. We provided support for everything from business planning and marketing to moving and securing long-term leases. We helped local small business clients secure $820,000+ in grant funding and financing over the past 12 months. Keep your eye out for community-minded small businesses we’ve worked with, like Assemble, Meriyem’s, Raw Beauty Brand, and Pause & Pivot Farm!
We are especially proud of our partnership with the International Language Institute in Northampton. We worked with ILI to tailor our well-established small business fundamentals workshop to support English Language Learners who want to own (or already have) a small business. In the past few months, we’ve run two cohorts, with a third planned in August, and worked with people from Brazil, China, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Ukraine, Tibet, and Iran! We can’t wait to see all the new businesses that unfold from these creative entrepreneurs!
Creating Homes for Everyone
Thanks to incredible support from the community, our funders, and the skilled contractors from Western Builders — East Gables in Amherst is almost finished and ready for people to move in! We received over 500 applicants for the 28 studio apartments, more than 250 of whom are currently unhoused. It would be hard to find a more striking illustration of the massive shortage of affordable housing. We need your advocacy in public meetings and with your legislators to continue to address this challenge.
As we await zoning permit resolution in Hadley regarding the former Econo Lodge property purchased by Valley earlier this year, we’re thrilled to welcome Craig’s Doors into the building. Craig’s Doors is a trauma-informed low-threshold shelter provider for unhoused folks based in Amherst. Their 24/7 model is unique in the area, as is their approach, and we are so pleased that this empty former hotel is being put to such good use in this interim time period.
In May, Governor Healy announced full State funding for 23 Laurel Street in Northampton. We are eager to begin construction of these affordable rental townhomes for 20 families near Village Hill! Sanderson Place, an affordable senior housing development in Sunderland, is fully leased up as of March 2023, and tenants have settled into their new homes.
Buying and Owning Homes
While current interest rates and lack of local inventory make the housing market not exactly friendly towards first-time homebuyers, we continue to support homeownership dreams. One recent success was in Northampton, where we were able to use a CPA-funded mortgage subsidy to help a single mom and her two children move into their first home!
Emily says, “Having grown up in a home in Florence, I always had the expectation that I too would own a home. I was fortunate to begin my independent living in subsidized housing in Northampton, but it also made transitioning to being a homeowner very challenging. I was not only giving up the security that subsidized housing provides, but I was also making the leap to placing all the financial responsibilities on myself. This is a huge, calculated risk for a single parent. The homebuying process was very complicated yet straightforward, and with the help of MassHousing, Valley’s Donna Cabana, my family, and my realtor I was able to purchase my home. Four months later I am still adjusting and a bit nervous, but at least I’m adjusting and nervous in my OWN home!”
We also help people stay in homes they already own. At the start of 2023, we became the provider for most of Hampshire and Hampden counties for the Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP). Through this program, we provide loans of up to $50K to help people aging in place and to help accommodate disabled people of any age. The 0% interest loan can pay for modifications like ramps, accessible bathrooms, and kitchens. Learn more at: valleycdc.org/hmlp
Valley Launches a New Strategic Plan
Staff and Board worked together to create a three-year strategic plan for the organization and a revised mission statement that more accurately reflects our work.
We are a small (but mighty) community-based organization.
Our mission statement: We build social equity by expanding housing and small business opportunities.
We pursue our mission with these values in mind: economic equity, racial justice, collaboration, accountability, challenging systemic oppression, and bringing joy to our work.
We developed our three-year strategic plan under the thoughtful guidance of Joan Tabachnick and Jane Fleishman. Our process was informed by over twenty stakeholder interviews, and the combined decades of experience on the part of staff and Board members. Your support of our mission and work over the past 35 years has made a truly dramatic difference in the lives of people in our community — and we still have so much more to do! With your help, we will continue to seize opportunities to create affordable housing, find ways to help folks attain and maintain home ownership, and take advantage of funding and programs to support small businesses. With your ongoing support, we can help even more people live and thrive in this remarkable place.
Rendering of 23 Laurel St, Northampton