January Newsletter

Pancakes & Planning with the Wenham Affordable Housing Trust

On January 20, the team at JM Goldson traveled to Wenham, MA for a special Saturday morning workshop and pancake breakfast. Residents of Wenham came to have their voice heard as a part of the lively discussions these workshops promote, and the Trust was eager to hear what they had to say.

Jennifer began the workshop with a presentation on what affordable housing means and what the purpose of an Affordable Housing Trust is. The presentation was followed by a discussion exercise, where each table discussed a different topic, facilitated by a Trust member.


About 40 residents were involved in this process, and the diversity of age and background in the attendees contributed to the passion and liveliness of conversation. It was this liveliness that brought about new ideas and allowed participants to both have their thoughts heard and leave with new perspectives. A community meeting that allows and encourages everyone to listen and to be heard will often be both the most useful for planners and Trust members and also the most satisfying for community members who want to be a sincere part of the process.

Much of the success in Wenham can be attributed to a well-organized and passionate town. Volunteers including members of the First Church cooked the breakfast and high school student volunteers offered their Saturday morning to provide babysitting, help in the kitchen, and scribe at each discussion table. The Trust members played a major part in the planning process of the meeting and fostered thoughtful discussions in their groups. Lastly, the residents who attended came with open minds, great questions, and a desire to engage with fellow community members.

Here’s what else JM Goldson has been up to this month:

Bedford: Starting in February, JM Goldson will be assisting the Regional Housing Services Office and the Town of Bedford with preparation of a Strategic Housing Study.

Middleborough: In Middleborough, JM Goldson continues to support the work of the Community Preservation Committee including grant writing for historic preservation and recreation.

Wareham: In the beginning of January, we began survey properties in Wareham Village and Onset Village to enable access to federal Community Development Block Grant funds. Despite a few cold days, JM Goldson's team has been out multiple times to continue surveying properties throughout the month.

Hudson: JM Goldson is beginning work in Hudson, MA to complete a Historic Resource Survey.

Wellesley: We had a kick-off meeting in Wellesley on January 22 with the town's working group, and will be assisting Barrett Planning, LLC. to create a Housing Production Plan over the next few months.

Volunteering: This month, Jennifer began serving on CHAPA’s Chapter 40B Municipal Training Planning Committee. Look out for an announcement of the training date for 2018!

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