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Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity Offers Home in Great Barrington

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity announced an Open House at 40 Grove Street in Great Barrington on Aug. 7 from 2:30 to 4:30 pm for the renovated 40 Grove St. home.
The home is a 1,462 SF, 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath energy-efficient home located in a residential neighborhood within walking distance to downtown Great Barrington. 
Originally built circa 1910, this home has been completely renovated with all new design elements, a brand-new kitchen and downstairs bath/utility room, and all new flooring and paint throughout. New siding and paint have been applied to the exterior as well.
The selling price of this restored home has been set at $250,00 but it is valued at approximately $440,000. Habitat has been working closely with the Town of Great Barrington and the Great Barrington Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop pricing and programs to make this home affordable for Berkshire County residents who make up to 100 percent of the 2023 Area Median Income Limit.
Habitat has worked with the local historical commission to preserve the exterior look and many of the historic features of the original design while bringing the home up to code and adding energy-
efficient amenities such as new insulation, new windows, and energy-rated appliances. 
The yard borders the recently upgraded town's Grove Street Park. 
This home is deed-restricted to income-eligible buyers in perpetuity.
Aug. 7 will also mark the first day that applications for the Fair Market Housing Lottery are available online and at locations in Pittsfield and Great Barrington. Following the Open House, the first of three lottery information sessions will be presented from 5 to 7 pm in person at the 40 Grove St home and via Zoom.
Anyone interested in applying for homeownership through the Fair Market Housing Lottery is encouraged to attend one of these information sessions. Potential applicants will learn about Habitat's selection criteria, examine a sample affordability analysis, and review how to prepare a complete application. Habitat will have bilingual Community Navigators available throughout the lottery period to assist anyone who may need help understanding the forms, the requirements, resources for legal help/lender assistance/down payment assistance/closing cost grants, etc.
The application deadline is Sept. 15, 2023.
Full information on the lottery is posted on the website. 
All initial inquiries are being directed to Habitat's Equity Centered Project Manager, Veronica Warren at or 413442.3181, extension 7.
The project was completed with the help of Habitat's Build & Repair Corps, hundreds of volunteers including potential homebuyers, neighbors, local church groups, local contractors/vendors, and Taconic High School's CTE Carpentry classes.
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Bard Queer Leadership Project to Host Next Queer Leaders Vision Forum

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Bard Queer Leadership Project (BQLP) will host its next Queer Leaders Vision Forum with Paula M. Neira, a nurse, lawyer, and trans rights and healthcare advocate. 
Provost and Vice President John B. Weinstein and Director of the Bard Queer Leadership Project, Dr. Carla Stephens, will join Neira in conversation.
The event will be held on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Clark Auditorium on the Simon's Rock campus. The event is free and open to the public. It can also be accessed via livestream following this link:
Paula M. Neira holds both a law degree and a nursing degree, but she didn't grow up thinking she'd be interested in either field. Neira graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 1985 and served primarily as a surface warfare officer until 1991, when she came to terms with her gender identity. At that point in time, serving as an openly transgender woman in the military "was not an option," leading her to leave the Navy and begin a career in nursing. "Nursing allowed me to have a career path where I could continue to serve," said Neira. Sticking to a "high-stress, life and death stakes career," Neira served as an ER nurse for five years before attending law school.
Neira decided to attend law school so as a nurse she would "have a voice at the table" during a time when nurses were not seen as "an interdependent, co-equal profession." After completing an accelerated program at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Neira relocated to Washington to pursue an opportunity with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), now known as the Modern Military Association of America. She served as a Staff Attorney and subsequently on SLDN's Board of Directors and as the Co-Chair of its Military Advisory Committee. In her time at SLDN, Neira helped lead the efforts to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. As a leading expert on transgender military service, she helped lead the efforts to change the regulations that allowed for open transgender service in 2016, before President Trump reversed that new policy in early 2017.
Neira began working for Johns Hopkins Medicine as the Nurse Educator in the Department of Emergency Medicine in 2008. With the founding of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health in 2017, she serves as its inaugural Clinical Program Director. In that role, Neira works with senior leadership to oversee an interdisciplinary service line that is aimed at providing comprehensive care for transgender people. Paula strives to match patients with the services they need and improve the health system's ability to provide culturally and clinically competent care for the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, Neira currently serves as the Secretary on the Board of Directors for GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality. 
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