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Houses at 8 Hynes and 10 Hynes St. in Lenox will be sold via lottery.

Lenox Housing Trust Holding Lottery for Two 'Affordable' Homes

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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LENOX, Mass. — A housing lottery will be held for two affordable homes on Hynes Street.

This is an opportunity for first-time homebuyers at 80 percent or less of the area median income, which amounts to $60,600 for a family of three, to own a house in the town that is known for Tanglewood and various other destinations.

Construct Inc., a nonprofit provider of affordable housing and supportive services in the Southern Berkshires, will be administering the lottery for the Lenox Affordable Housing Trust.

The sale price for each home is $254,000 with a tax rate of $10.84 per $1,000.  With all other associated costs and paying five percent down or $12,700, it amounts to a little over $1,400 a month, which is less than a person would pay for rent in Lenox.

The houses are located in a cul de sac off of Housatonic Street. The home at 8 Hynes Street is a two-story, 1,168 square feet structure on a 10th  of an acre with three bedrooms, one bath, and a brand-new kitchen. The 10 Hynes St. home is a 1,550 square foot, three-bedroom, one-bath home with a new kitchen and is also on a 10th of an acre.

Applications were available beginning on Thursday are due on April 25, with the lottery drawn on May 2.

The early 1900s-era homes were bought by a realty company, completely renovated, and sold to the trust.

"We looked at this and we said, 'If we want to make it affordable to a family at $63,000 a year, then the asking price, including the taxes and those other expenses has to be x,'" Housing Director June Wolfe explained.

"And then the trust looked at what they could afford to sell it for and keep it at that."

Construct became involved in the process to ensure that the houses will be counted towards Lenox's affordable housing inventory. To do so, it has to go through a local initiatives procedure with the state Department of Housing and Community Development and the organization provided its expertise in that area.

Wolfe said the lottery is being held because the state identifies it as the fairest way to do it.

Applicants can qualify based on a maximum allowable household income that is adjusted for household size ranging from one to six household members. Families of three or more are preferred.

There will also be a local preference on one of the units and the lottery will be racially balanced to ensure equity in the process.  Minority outreach will be conducted through Multicultural Bridge and the Berkshire Immigrant Center.

Applicants must be first-time homebuyers that are defined as not owning a residential property for three years and must be pre-approved for the home's mortgage.  

Every town in the state is required to have 10 percent affordable housing according to a rule that was put into place in the late 1970s and as of December 2020, Lenox is at about 7 percent affordable housing.

According to, the median house price for Lenox is over half a million dollars. Rental units currently on the market range from about $1,800 for a one-bedroom apartment to $3,500 for a three-bedroom home.

In 2021, the average household income in the town was about $90,000 yet the median income was about $49,000. For those in the median range, a rent of $2,000 is half their monthly earnings.

U.S. Census data from 2015 to 2019 also revealed that a majority of Lenox residents are aged 60 to 64 years old, taking up about 11 percent of the population. In contrast, under 3 percent of residents are ages 25 to 29.

Wolfe highlighted the importance of having enough producers in the town or people under the retirement age who are contributing to the local economy with work.

"If a community has all of its housing taken up by nonproducers, people who are not contributing to the economy, then it's going to affect your economy," She explained.

"Restaurants can't stay open if they don't have enough waitstaff. etc., we got a really good example of that during COVID, that lesson was driven home, suddenly we started calling our workers essential, they've always been essential but we just started calling them that recently and so we started to see what would happen if we didn't have enough."

During the COVID-19 market boom in the Berkshires, many locals fund themselves missing out on houses to out-of-towners paying above the asking price.

Wolfe recognizes that Lenox and the county as a whole are not alone in this struggle. She explained that any community that is a vacation or second home destination is being affected.

Public information sessions will be held over zoom on Feb. 25 and Feb. 28.  This is a time for interested parties to receive a summary of the lottery with time for questions.

Complete information and applications can be found on Construct's website.

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BCC, Sonoco Partner in Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College (BCC) and Sonoco Plastics have entered into a partnership to encourage those interested in a career in mechatronics to apply for an apprenticeship at Sonoco. 
Apprentices will receive full tuition at BCC for its associate degree in mechatronics program, provided they complete the apprenticeship. 
Mechatronics is a growing field that combines technologies of mechanics and electronics. An interdisciplinary field of study, it encompasses sought-after skills in electro-mechanical systems, machine operation, computing, automation, robotics and advanced manufacturing. Mechatronics bridges traditional machine operation and 21st-century smart devices, positioning graduates for rewarding careers in fields such as automation and manufacturing. 
 "We are excited to launch this earn-while-you-learn opportunity. Students are paid employees, tuition is covered, college and hands-on industry training complement each other, and employment after graduation is secured," said Frank Schickor, BCC Dean of STEM and Allied Health. "We are grateful to Sonoco for joining this educational partnership." 
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