by: Jessica Harrington

For Immediate Release:  Dec. 20, 2021

For More Information, Contact:  John Feehan, Executive Director, 978/465-9922

YWCA Greater Newburyport will be celebrating the opening of its newest affordable housing project, YWCA at Hillside, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 30, 2021 at 10:00 AM.  The ceremony will be held in front of the project located at 18 Cottage Court in Newburyport.  After the outdoor ceremony, refreshments and tours will be provided. Masks will be required inside the building.

YWCA at Hillside will provide 10 units of affordable housing to individuals with the lowest incomes in our community.    Rent will be 30% of income for those earning wages below $28,200 per year, while those with incomes above $28,000 but below $47,000 will pay a fixed rental amount.  “The project has a preference to two homeless individuals, one person with a mobility impairment and one with a sensory impairment,” says Margaret McCarthy, YWCA Board President.

YWCA at Hillside was originally proposed by David Hall of Hall and Moskow to give low-income individuals the opportunity to live in an environmentally-sustainable home.  “The building is designed to produce more energy than it consumes,” explains Hall.  “Heating and cooling will be provided by extremely efficient electric heat pumps.  The heating and cooling loads, however, will be minimal as the building is designed to meet Passive House Institute US standards — possibly a first in the national application of passive house design to single-room occupancy dwellings.”  Additionally, the building has been designed to meet LEED Platinum standards.  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards help ensure buildings have a minimal environmental impact both in their construction and operation.  Hall has donated both the land on which the building sits as well as $300,000 towards its construction.

The building is located close to many employment opportunities in downtown Newburyport and the surrounding area.  It is hoped that tenants will be able to walk to work, further reducing the environmental footprint of the housing.  “It also helps that the project is located less than 1/10th of a mile from the bus route, with access to both the hospital and Market Basket,” says John Feehan, Executive Director of the YWCA.

To bring this project to fruition YWCA Greater Newburyport was fortunate to have the support of the City of Newburyport.  “We were able to access Community Preservation Act funds as well as city HOME funds to help the YWCA acquire the building,” says Mayor Donna Holaday, an outspoken supporter of this project.   “Access to affordable housing in our city is a very high need and this project not only adds 10 additional units but provides a new development model integrating innovative sustainable and environmental design helping Newburyport to move forward on our climate and resiliency goals.”

The YWCA also received funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development and Mass Housings Community Scale Housing Initiative programs.  YWCA will also receive on-going operating subsidies from the state to ensure rents remain extremely affordable.

The Federal Home Loan Bank provided a grant to support the project, combined with a loan from the Institution for Savings.

“We are grateful to Charlesbank Homes, because without their initial investment, we would have never been able to leverage state and local funding,” says Feehan.

McCarthy noted that “it was the donations of many private donors who made this project come to fruition.  These combined donations allowed us to move forward and take ownership of the property.”

YWCA Greater Newburyport continues to accept applications for this affordable housing program.  For additional information and an application, please see our website

YWCA Greater Newburyport is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.  We see the creation of affordable housing as central to our mission.  Women and especially women of color are disproportionately impacted by the lack of affordable housing.  For more information about the YWCA, please visit

The public is invited to join us on Dec. 30th at 10 a.m.; please RSVP by 12/27/2021 to Ilene Harnch-Grady at or 978-465 YWCA x13.

Jessica Harrington

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