Affordable Housing Trust

Affordable Housing Trust Board Members:

  • Margaret Driscoll - 2024
  • Chris Olney (Planning Board) - 2024
  • Gretchen Wood (Housing Authority) - 2024
  • Joan McDonald (CPC) - 2024
  • John Feuerbach, At Large Chair - 2024
  • Peggy Hegarty-Steck, At Large - 2024
  • Sarah Mellish (Finance Committee) - 2024

The Manchester-by-the-Sea Affordable Housing Trust was established by Town Meeting vote in 2016 with the mission to increase diversity of housing options to meet the needs of Manchester’s low and moderate income households. The Trust is comprised of a seven-member board of resident volunteers with experience and expertise in housing policy, finance, development, programs, and advocacy. The Town Planner, through funding from the Community Preservation Act, provides staff support to the Trust. THE MAHT IS A 501(C)(3) AND WELCOMES AND ENCOURAGES CONTRIBUTIONS TO FURTHER ITS MISSION.


The AHT will support affordable housing choice, diversity and opportunity in Manchester-by-the Sea; its actions will benefit those who cannot afford to rent or own a home in town, including seniors and local workers who provide valuable services to the town and are the backbone of the local economy.

The AHT is grounded in the principle that a diverse economic and demographic mix of residents is beneficial to the long-term well-being of the town, and a range of housing opportunities, enhanced by affordable community housing, is a means to support the broadest segment of the community.  It is the AHT’s Mission to:

  • Communicate - Engage town residents in an inclusive manner to discuss the benefits of community housing, so that the AHT reflects a broad, community- supported mission.
  • Collaborate - Work with town officials and boards to outline the mission, principles and goals of the AHT, and to foster community housing efforts.
  • Target Housing Need - Promote additional community housing that is affordable and accessible to those with low and moderate incomes. 
  • Provide Support - Encourage, deliver and sustain housing opportunities, choice and financial support for town residents burdened by high rents and home prices.
  • Promote Community Housing  -   Increase the inventory of community affordable housing units that count on the state’s Subsidized Housing Inventory with a goal of at least 10% of the total Manchester-by-the Sea housing stock.
  • Be Timely - When pursuing development plans, be responsive to demographic and housing trends, such as the increasing aging population, growing number of households in town, and the loss of rental housing as homeownership units have increased.
  • Encourage Design for Excellence - Promote aspirational design principles to guide the development of community housing- with style and a sense of place that is appropriate, energy efficient and contextual.


To further its mission and promote affordable community housing options, choice and diversity, the AHT will follow these operating principles:

  • Use Resources Wisely - Use available financial and in-kind resources, including an allocation of local Community Preservation Funds, to promote the planning and development of community housing.
  • Seek Proposals for Community Housing - Prepare Request for Proposals to solicit community housing applications, using AHT funds and publicly owned land to leverage private development and secure additional funding.
  • Address Policy and Zoning -  Advocate for housing and zoning policies that facilitate community housing
  • Pursue Community Housing Opportunities - Identify specific opportunities to create community housing, such as utilizing unused town-owned land, or partnering with the Housing Authority to consider creative use of existing properties. 
  • Be A Partner in Development for the Good of the Town - Engage with and encourage developers to pursue well-designed proposals that include community housing.  
  • Encourage Development of a Variety of Purpose-Built Projects– Promote housing unit types and sizes with reasonable rents or prices to match the diversity of community needs.  
  • Undertake Small Actions, With Meaningful Results - Provide creative financial assistance to make rental or homeownership housing affordable to the greatest number of income eligible households.

The Trust welcomes the public to its monthly meetings, which will be posted in advance on the Town’s website and at Town Hall.  

MAHT and Action, Inc. Expand Rental and Mortgage Support Program

The Manchester Affordable Housing Trust (MAHT) and Gloucester-based Action, Inc. have expanded the residential mortgage and rental relief program started in 2020 to assist income eligible Manchester residents who have been financially hit hard by COVID. Those who have been strained by job and income loss due to COVID can still apply, but the expanded program now allows for assistance with security deposits, moving costs, fleeing domestic violence, family health crisis and non-COVID job loss. The program has been a welcome help for many renters and mortgage holders; with the program expansion, MAHT and Action, Inc. look to assist more Manchester residents. As of December 2022, Action, Inc. has committed $125,000 to program clients, including 23 households. Action, Inc. also has referred clients to other social services for public benefits and to provide budget counseling. MAHT and Action, Inc. thank an anonymous donor for a recent generous donation to help fund the program. For program information and assistance, contact Action, Inc. at 978-282-1000 or at

Related Documents