Another Habitat for Humanity home is coming to town after selectmen voted to allow the nonprofit to build at 76 Central Ave.

The project will be the second affordable home that Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts has built in Ayer.

"The selectmen in Ayer were very willing to work with us and very excited to have Habitat in and working with Habitat in Ayer," said Carolyn Read, president of the HFHNCM board of directors.

Read said the group is hoping to be approved to build a duplex that will serve two families.

Now, HFHNCM will begin to pull together a local partnership committee made up of people who want to help find volunteers and potential family applicants, she said.

"We had some great interest and a ton of people that were involved when we built in Ayer many years ago," she said.

The group is hoping to finish the project by February 2015. A family selection committee will run information sessions to inform people of the selection process, she said.

To qualify, families must have incomes between 30 and 60 percent of the median household income for the Fitchburg and Leominster area. These income levels are set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Homeowners also have to put in "sweat equity," which is a set amount of hours spent working on their home and other Habitat projects.

Families receive a zero-interest loan and take out a mortgage through Habitat, Read said.


Statewide, towns are encouraged to have 10 percent of their housing listed as affordable. In towns that do not meet this threshold, affordable-housing developers have the power to pass over local zoning regulations if their application is denied. Right now, Ayer has 286 total affordable units, about 8 percent of its housing.

"We're actually in good shape compared to many towns, but we are trying to make that 10 percent," Hersey said.

The state Department of Housing and Community Development still has to determine that the house is affordable, and Habitat still needs some further approvals, Read said.

"They will start looking for people to partner with in Habitat, and they will start getting their building permits, and we will finish our paperwork with DHCHD," Read said.

When selectmen approved the project last Tuesday, Selectman Pauline Conley said she knows at least one family who has already filed their application.

"This is a really great thing and I'm just so happy to see it finally happening," Conley said.

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