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Stories from two organizations that have had a major impact on affordable housing in the Greater Newburyport area are the focus of a roundtable discussion presented by Pennies for Poverty as part of its Invisible Neighbors Series. On Wednesday, October 16, at 7 pm at Central Congregational Church, 14 Titcomb Street, Newburyport, the speakers will highlight the life-changing impact of new affordable housing on the lives of new residents, the work required to create those homes and the impact of the new housing on the neighborhoods and communities which welcome them.

The session is important because the need for affordable homes for seniors, young people starting out, city and hospital workers, single mothers and many others far exceeds the availability in our area. Moreover, the ways to create new affordable housing depend on leadership, land, political will, zoning and money. These are all scarce resources that local residents can affect. This session explores, through stories and local experience, why helping build more affordable housing matters and what we can do to support the process.

Using a roundtable discussion format, the session features speakers who have developed the new low-income/affordable housing in Salisbury. They know the time frame, site issues, funding and a myriad of other concerns critical to a successful project. More important they know how decent affordable housing that people can change the trajectory of a family’s or individual’s future. These stories are important because they bring to light the lives of people who are too often invisible in our day-to-day lives.


  • Vicki Carr, YWCA Newburyport
  • Jacques Du Preez, Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity
  • John Feehan, Executive Director, YWCA Newburyport
  • Reverend Joan MacPherson, Main Street Congregational United Church of Christ, and member, Habitat Family Selection Committee

“Do we want to be a welcoming community? Do we want to remain the home for the people who have built our towns and cities into what they are today? If so we can’t stand still and let market forces be the only driver of the housing prices. We need to address the lack of affordable housing before lack of housing turns businesses away and we become “has been” communities. The organizations speaking have stepped up to the challenge. We need to learn from them.” said Susan McKittrick, Pennies’ Board President.

This is the fourth community meeting in the Pennies for Poverty Invisible Neighbor Series. Other sessions have addressed food insecurity, deep poverty, and ways communities create more affordable housing.

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