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Editorial: Facelifts give new life to Cambridge apartments

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THERE have been a number of beneficiaries from the sale of Cambridge Square Apartments to Housing Partnerships Inc. by Senior Center Services in 2011.

The $1.35 million price tag gave the seller the needed final push for the establishment of Mill Race Center.

The acquisition of the 70-unit apartment complex (aided by an $8 million federal rental housing tax credit) made it easier for the buyer to transition into owning and managing affordable rental properties rather than the previous model of focusing on home-ownership programs. Moreover, the remainder of that $8 million credit financed an extensive remodeling project that is expected to be completed later this year.

The residents of the complex who must meet income and federal affordable housing rules will have completely refurbished units upon the project’s completion — new hardwood floors, improved insulation, modern appliances, energy-efficient designs and the addition of balconies on upstairs units.

The community in general will be the better for all of these developments and more. The rehabilitation of the complex enhances one of the key elements in the city’s efforts to provide affordable housing to low-income residents.

At the center of all this has been Housing Partnerships Inc., which has built an impressive track record in improving local housing standards. While the organization started as a fix-up, clean-up endeavor, it has since matured into a significant property management operation that has elevated the quality of life for hundreds of local residents.

Its efforts in rehabilitating properties have not only improved living standards in the affected neighborhoods but even raised property values in those areas.

Unlike nationally known groups like Habitat for Humanity, Housing Partnerships Inc. is a grass-roots, home-grown organization that has enjoyed tremendous support from throughout the community.

In turn, the community has certainly benefited from its involvement.

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