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The Waltham Channel

THE EDISON: MORE AFFORDABLE UNITS THAN ELIGIBLE LOTTERY APPLICANTS

At a time of growing coronavirus housing hardship in Waltham, you might expect a lot of local interest in an affordable housing lottery at The Edison.

Not really. For 26 affordable units, there were only 15 eligible applicants.

Of those, only 4 had Waltham connections, despite special preference given to people who live or work in the Watch City.

Wednesday’s lottery, to be held online, involves 17 one bedrooms (renting for roughly $1,600) and 9 two bedrooms ($1,800) at the new 264-unit complex at 20 Cooper Street.

For less than $2,000 a month, affordable tenants will live in similar units as market-rate renters, who spend as much as $3,300 a month for two-bedroom apartments.

Affordable tenants will also enjoy all the same perks: covered parking, pet spa, a pool and DCR trails and Moody steps away.

So-called Local Preference for 70% of the affordable units was extended to those with Waltham connections, such as residence or workplace.

But few Waltham people or others qualified for the lottery, partly because of the process involved.

“This is actually not a bad turnout for a lottery given that applicants had to undergo a complete screening to be entered into the lottery, putting aside the current issues presented by coronavirus,” said David Cashman of SEB Housing.

SEB handles affordable lotteries across the area, typically for upscale new developments marketed to urban professionals and others.

The Cooper Street affordable units, which are not subsidized housing, will be rented to households that earn less than 80% of the federally calculated Area Median Income (AMI) for this area.

For The Edison, the maximum household income for one person is $62,450; for a two-person household, it’s $71,400.

But there are also income minimums that make for what appears to be a narrow range of potential affordable tenants. For a one bedroom, you must make $57,492 and to lease a two bedroom, you must make $63,405.

Add in the lottery process paperwork (pay stubs, W2s, tax returns) and eligibility requirements and it goes far beyond your typical rental application.

“Oftentimes, units are still available after we run lotteries, but households tend to fill them up fairly quickly once the lottery piece is out of the way,” Cashman said.

Just keep in mind that local preference for Waltham people no longer applies after the lottery.

Contact The Edison leasing office for more information.

Bottom photo of a sample two-bedroom unit: Lincoln Properties / The Edison

THE EDISON: MORE AFFORDABLE UNITS THAN ELIGIBLE LOTTERY APPLICANTS At a time of growing coronavirus housing hardship in Waltham, you might expect a lot…