Monday May 14, 2012

A shortage of affordable housing is a problem throughout Berkshire County, and the flooding disaster at the Spruces highlighted the problem in Williamstown. The town wants to address this situation through creation of an Affordable Housing Trust, with an initial allocation of $200,000 in Community Preservation Act funds. Appointed by and answerable to the Selectmen, the trust can collect land and money for housing projects and enter housing partnerships, and has the flexibility to act quickly that the Williamstown Housing Authority does not have. Lenox is one of 88 towns in the state that have created Affordable Housing Trusts to address the genuine needs of low-income residents. We urge Williamstown residents to make their town the 89th by voting in favor of creation of an Affordable Housing Trust at Tuesday’s town meeting.

NBN should benefit county

The importance of nonprofits to the Berkshire economy has long been established, but the numbers to back this reality revealed by Williams College economics professor Stephen C. Sheppard at last week’s announcement of the formation of the Nonprofit Business Network (NBN) are eye-opening. According to the report released along with the NBN announcement, the median revenue of county nonprofits (among them Berkshire Health Systems, the county’s largest employer) is higher than that of the state and per capita arts expenditures in the county are second in the country, behind only the Washington D.


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C. area. The creation of the NBN, which links the 349 Berkshire nonprofits from a variety of fields, should help them perform better in a difficult and competitive economy, which will benefit the Berkshires and its residents as well.