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Opinion Piece in Berkshire Eagle Calls Windflower “Unique Prototype”

Our Opinion: A workforce housing project in Great Barrington is a unique prototype to keep our eyes on

It’s a problem we hear from so many Berkshire business-owners: In communities that are heavy on service-sector jobs but light on housing that workers can afford, attracting a sustainable workforce is a tall order. Sticky problems like this one often require thinking outside the box to find workable solutions, which is why a unique housing project in Great Barrington has caught our eye.

The 20 rooms at the Windflower Inn will become workforce housing for those with “moderate income levels,” with some reserved for low-income tenants. It’s a new way to think about housing.

The plan to convert the Windflower Inn into workforce-targeted residential units was certainly an exercise in outside-the-box thinking for its proponents…

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Construct Helps Family Buy First Home

First Home Buyers, Berkshires

Through the Attorney General’s Abandoned Housing Initiative Receivership Fund (AHIR), which incentivizes the conversion of blighted properties into affordable housing units, Construct was designated a court appointed receiver. With this appointment, Construct created the first affordable housing unit in Becket by rehabilitating a long-abandoned 3-bedroom property in town. Situated on 2.9 acres, the property has easy access to many ideal amenities for a first time home buyer. With help from a $100,000 loan from the AHIR, Construct rehabilitated the blighted property and then offered it for sale by lottery to individuals whose income is 80% or less of the area’s median. A deed restriction ensures the home will always remain affordable.

Shasta Bona, a Great Barrington social worker, was the lucky lottery winner. “This has saved my family from homelessness. Our future looked very grim when we were evicted from our apartment. All apartment opportunities were uninhabitable, too expensive, or out of our daughter’s school district. We had begun looking into long-term stays at local motels when I learned about this opportunity. I still cannot believe we made it to the finish line, but we did! Thank you, Construct!”

Construct continues to identify other abandoned properties throughout the southern Berkshires, with two more projects already underway.

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For 52 years, Construct’s mission has been simple: to provide affordable housing to strengthen and diversify communities, stabilize lives, and empower individuals to build a better future. Our newsletters help us build bonds by letting our community know about our latest endeavors, undertakings, and all the good people who participate.

FALL 2022

In this issue:

  • The Brick Campaign 
  • Becket House Lottery 
  • Center for Affordable Housing Update
  • Windflower Inn Acquisition

FALL 2021

In this issue:

  • Steps Towards Steward Solutions
  • Meet Your Neighbor: Karen Lewis
  • Client Spotlight: Kevin
  • Supporter Spotlight: Wanda Houston

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A Housing Vision for the Berkshires

1Berkshire and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Launch A Housing Vision for the Berkshires

1Berkshire, in partnership with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) and with support of a broad working group comprising housing practitioners from throughout Berkshire County, is excited to announce the launch of A Housing Vision for the Berkshires, a regional strategy intended to lead more intentional efforts to address the current housing crisis.


Housing was identified as a key cross-cutting theme in 2019’s Berkshire Blueprint 2.0, with large supply gaps identified for quality, affordable, and proximal housing for those seeking to live and work in the region. The impacts of the pandemic have accelerated the demand for housing and significantly driven up housing costs for both renters and homebuyers. In 2020, the working group began convening, including dozens of additional regional partners and housing practitioners aspiring to capture data, identify challenges and opportunities, and provide outreach to additional groups of community stakeholders throughout Berkshire County.

A Housing Vision for the Berkshires is the first product to come out of this work, and is intended to act as a phase one to begin addressing systemic challenges in housing development. The report itself features over 60 recommended strategies to help catalyze more development, while expanding representation in the process to include more diverse communities and populations that have lived experiences but who have not historically been properly engaged in the process of identifying solutions to housing challenges. “Through the implementation of these strategies, we hope housing options will become more readily available and affordable for all, including populations under the greatest current pressure”, stated Tom Matuszko, Executive Director of BRPC.

Recognizing that a report itself is not enough to compel sustained action, the coalition will continue to collaborate and work towards a more permanent model, the group has also secured $150,000 in ARPA funding from the Berkshire Legislative Delegation to support continued work and follow through in the coming years. Jonathan Butler, 1Berkshire President & CEO notes “This has been an important initial process to work through, but it’s critical that there is a system in place for continued advocacy and implementation of action steps. Thanks to our leaders in the Berkshire Delegation, organizations like BRPC and Berkshire Housing Development Corporation will be able to provide much of that needed capacity.”

To view or download the report, please visit:

About 1Berkshire

1Berkshire is a county-wide organization focused on economic development and promotion of the region as a preferred place to visit, to live, and to grow a business. It provides programs that connect businesses with each other and with potential customers and works to develop future leaders and support entrepreneurs. For more information, visit 1Berkshire.com.

About Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is the regional planning agency for Berkshire County, Massachusetts. BRPC assists the thirty-two Berkshire cities and towns in a diverse set of topics including community and economic development, community planning, data and information services, emergency preparedness planning, environmental and energy planning, regional services, public health and transportation planning. BRPC promotes regional collaboration among communities and works to increase coordination between all levels of government.

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