Photo Gallery | Flood House sold to Louison House
NORTH ADAMS — The long-vacant Flood House on Church Street is close to becoming long-term supportive and affordable housing for local residents who have experienced homelessness or a documented disability.
The board of the North Adams Housing Authority, which owns the majestic brown house that has remained vacant for nearly a half decade, has unanimously voted to transfer the deed over to the Louison House. The nonprofit provides multiple levels of support for those struggling to find shelter, but is best-known for its 22-bed transitional housing shelter in Adams.
The Housing Authority has sought for several years to transfer ownership of the building to a nonprofit entity that would meet its goals of long-term affordable housing, but was legally unable to do so until a change in state legislation.
Of the two respondents to a Housing Authority's Request for Proposals — the other being Dorothy and Charles Ransford — the Louison House was chosen last week to purchase the building at a cost of $1.
"The building is just so large, it has tremendous potential, so we have been receiving a lot of support from a lot of different key stakeholders," said Louison House Executive Director Lindsay Errichetto. "I can see people in that building, getting back on their feet."
Before the sale is finalized it must be approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development, which recommended the board accept the Louison House's proposal. The Louison House had been working on acquiring the property, which was last occupied by nonprofit Berkshire Family and Individual Resources, for about two years, according to Errichetto.
The DHCD will look to add deed restrictions to ensure long-term use of the building for affordable housing purposes, according to Jennifer Hohn, executive director of the North Adams Housing Authority.
"I'm looking forward to seeing that house being occupied," Hohn said.
Formerly known as Family Life Support Center, Inc., the Louison House already has 21 beds in six apartments across the city of North Adams dedicated to permanent supportive housing. The program currently assists some 10 chronically homeless families a year, according to its website.
The addition of the Flood House will not only add three more apartments to its permanent supportive housing programs, but it also will provide ample office space for the Louison House to have an expanded presence in North Adams.
The administrative presence will provide support to current residents of Louison House programs and also to those who have exited the programs or are at risk of becoming homeless, Errichetto said. The Flood House will be divided into three housing units and office space, which Errichetto said the Louison House desperately needs.
"It's a very exciting opportunity for our organization," she said.
Hohn said the agency was looking for a registered nonprofit with a stable source of funding to ensure years of service at the Flood House.
"There's going to be several stipulations in it, though, that obviously they maintain supportive services and they maintain their funding source, and they have to disclose that funding source to DHCD," Hohn said. "DHCD will ultimately be the watchdog of this program."